How to Do an Efficient Arm Workout: Biceps and Triceps

In order to have strong and muscular arms, try the following three arm exercises. Learn about the muscle groups in the arms and how to train them efficiently.
How to Do an Efficient Arm Workout: Biceps and Triceps

Last update: 14 February, 2019

The muscle group that makes up the arms are some of the most used in our everyday life. Usually, the body part of an athlete that stands out at a first glance is the arm muscles. And so, in this article, we’ll talk about how to do an efficient arm workout to develop strong and muscular arms.

Arm structure

The bicep is the main muscle used in an arm workout where you pull. In any type of curl you do at the gym there are five muscles that allow you to do it. Thus, these five muscles are:

  • Coracobrachialis: 23 percent of this muscle’s fibers are slow twitch fibers while 77 percent are fast twitch fibers.
  • Long supinator: this muscle has mostly slow twitch fibers and it helps support the arm when the elbow bends.
  • Anterior brachial: has 50 percent slow twitch fibers and 50 percent fast twitch fibers. It flexes the forearm upward.
  • Bicep brachii: this one includes both the short-head and long-head muscle. These two muscles have 40 percent slow twitch fibers and 60 percent fast twitch fibers. It acts mainly by flexing the forearm over the arm.

The fundamental group of muscles in the triceps

The triceps give the arm about 70 percent of its volume, and thus it’s important to understand how this group works. And so, understanding how it works will help us train it correctly.

The triceps, different from the biceps, are the main elbow extensors. In other words, it’s most active in the arm workout where you push. Additionally, this muscle group has 50 percent slow twitch fibers and 50 percent fast twitch fibers and has three heads.

  • Lateral head: helps extend the forearm over the arm.
  • Medial head: works the same way as the lateral head.
  • Long head: mainly works to extend the forearm, the shoulder, and overlap.
The tricep makes up 70% of the arm's volume.

Arm workout

To work the biceps, you can choose an arm workout with synergy exercises that pull. You can also look for an arm workout that works on the bicep exclusively, with isolation arm exercises.

  • Synergist exercises: wide-arm pull-ups activate at least 43 percent of the biceps. This specific activation increases depending on the type of exercise. You can also activate 107 percent with a curl bar.

The main advantage of working with multiarticular arm exercises that work on biceps is that they are the ones that activate the most muscle mass.

  • Isolation exercises: to do these arm exercises correctly, you need to keep the shoulder blades in their natural position. Additionally, make sure you tighten your glutes to protect you from bad posture during this exercise.

Biceps and triceps training characteristics

We highly recommend working out the triceps on the bars, since you’ll be able to support larger weights than with just dumbbells. However, dumbbell arm exercises are very efficient as well, due to the liberty of movement. Body weight exercises are the way to go to keep your body limber and strong while avoiding injuries.

When working the triceps out, you should look to do exercises that work each of the three heads. Here are three arm exercises that work each of the triceps heads:

  • Overhand EZ bar French press
  • Tricep extension with high pulley
  • Overhead triceps extension with dumbbells
Overhead dumbbell tricep extensions

On the other hand, if you want to increase the size of your biceps, you must stimulate both of its parts. We recommend to always do the following arm exercises.

  • Straight bar curl
  • Incline curl
  • Hammer curl

As you can see in this article, you must plan your arm workout carefully depending on your objectives. Talk to your trainer to include certain exercises safely and make a concise plan to meet your fitness goals.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.