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Everybody wants to know how to improve the look of their arms. Guys want them to be bigger. Women want them to be slender and toned. Arms, like abs, are at the forefront of most people’s minds because they look impressive. They’re not something that people are just born with – it’s obvious that you had to put in the work to get them. Unlike calves (the size of which are largely determined by genetics), arms are most often the result of serious time under the iron. Gym-owners know this, and thus most gyms are packed wall-to-wall with equipment specifically designed to work your arms. While not all of it is useful, getting results is simply a question of putting in the work and following a smart plan. But if you’re travelling, working out at home or elsewhere, it’s a bit trickier. You still need to do the work, but you also need a way of training your arms without weights.

The Anatomy of the Arms

arm muscles
Forgetting about the forearms for the time being, the main muscles of the arm are the triceps and biceps. These are the muscles that we need to focus on training if you want to improve the look and strength of your arms. It’s worth restating here that using light weights and doing countless reps (15+) isn’t going to cut it; this goes for men and women. To force the muscles to grow (which is what gives them shape and definition/makes them look ‘toned’), you need to overload them with exercises that you can ideally perform for sets of 6-12 reps. It’s not uncommon for people to prioritize training one of these muscles over the other based on a particular goal, but it’s crucial that both are trained equally to achieve a balanced look and avoid injuries.


The triceps are found on the back of the arm, and are often neglected by men in particular who would rather train the muscle that they can see – their biceps But it’s worth paying particular attention to the triceps because they are a bigger muscle group than the biceps. If you want bigger arms it follows that you need to place added emphasis on training them. Training the triceps isn’t just important for men, though. Women are genetically predisposed to storing more fat than men, and in different places. Whereas a man typically stores fat on the upper body (resulting in beer bellies), women tend to store it on their thighs and arms. The most effective way of losing fat, and thus getting rid of ‘turkey/bingo’ wings is through diet. But it is also crucial to strengthen the muscle underneath – the triceps – to give the arms shape and definition.


Although the biceps are relatively small muscles, that doesn’t mean that they should be paid any less attention (not that anybody is guilty of that!) Located at the front of the arm, biceps are perhaps the muscle most commonly associated with strength – just ask any child to make a muscle and he or she will strike a biceps pose. Not only are they good for looking at, but they have practical uses too. A strong set of biceps will help you with any pulling exercises that strengthen your back. In turn, this will help to improve posture and reduce the chances of any pain or injuries that may otherwise occur. In the video above, Bella runs through the correct positioning and technique for a set of exercises aimed at strengthening your arms. As with all exercise, ensure that you are aware of your level of fitness and take into consideration any medical conditions you may have before engaging in physical activity. Check with your doctor before starting any exercise routine.   For programs, training and nutrition tips follow Bella on Instagram @iambfit1 or contact

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This article was first published on 7th August 2018


Bella is a UK certified fitness junkie with over 15 years experience, who’s passionate about being an inspiration to others by helping people lead stronger, more active lives. She is a Lifestyle & Weight Management specialist with emphasis on weight programs, HIIT and Bootcamp training at BFIT FITNESS ACADEMY. Bella is also a practicing lawyer.

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