There are several advantages to having strong arms. A strong pair of hands are useful in everyday life and men with overly strong arms give the impression that their body is much stronger than it actually is. In a pushing contest between two men, the one with a weaker body (weaker legs, back and core) can manage to push back the stronger one if he has stronger arms. By using his superior arm strength to push the opponent’s arms back he would ruin his balance and render his superior body strength futile, because one simply can’t push with all of his might if his arms are being held back.
There are 4 specific exercises which one must do in order to get very strong arms. The most common one is the bicep curl exercise which increases your arm pulling power and gives you an edge in competitions like arm wrestling. Such an exercise is indeed great for building arm strength but it does not strengthen your whole arm. It does not work the muscles of the back of your arm such as the triceps and it doesn’t strengthen all of the muscles in your front arm either because the deltoids are left out. Also the grip is worked out but can be strengthened much more with different exercises, so as you can see, while the traditional and popular method (bicep curl) of working your arms is good, it is not enough to strengthen your whole arms. Let us go through the 4 best ways to strengthen your arm entirely. The trick to gain strength quickly with all of these exercises is to do heavy weight low rep training.
Like I said earlier, bicep curls do increase your wrist strength but the wrist curl is a much better exercise because it works the wrist directly. Simply grab the dumbbell as if you’re doing the usual bicep curl, put the forearm on your thigh and lift the weight up and down with (and only with) your wrist:
The man in this picture is using a barbell and resting his arms on the bench instead of his thighs but you get the idea. The important thing is that you use your wrist only to lift the weight, otherwise it won’t be a wrist curl.
Note: This exercise will help you out a lot in arm wrestling for obvious reasons. John Brzenk (considered to be the no.1 arm wrestler in America and one of the best in the world) was reported to do this exercise as well, and I bet other arm wrestlers do the same. With a strong wrist you might be able to beat a stronger armed individual because by bending his wrist you will render his superior bicep strength futile.
Closing a strong gripper repeatedly is another great exercise to increase grip strength and it works extra muscles which are not used (or not used as much) while doing the wrist curl. So if you want to have a strong wrist, I recommend doing both of these exercises.
Use a heavy gripper like Captains of Crush Grippers or Heavy Grips Handgrippers, not the weak ones commonly used by children. Only a beast with enormous grip strength can close the toughest grippers of those brands.
Lateral Dumbbell Raise
One of my favorite exercise which doesn’t get nearly as much praise as it should. Listen to me closely because this is very important. While I don’t recommend it, the gripper and wrist curl exercises can be dismissed because you can still increase your wrist strength with this exercise and the bicep curl, but this exercise is absolutely necessary for strong arms, because it targets the shoulder (such as the deltoid) and back muscles of your arm (like the triceps), areas which are not targeted by the bicep curl.
While the bicep curl strengthens your pull, the lateral dumbbell raise strengthens your push, so the two are like two sides of the same coin, one not complete without the other. To perform the exercise just stand up with two dumbbells in your hands and lift them up laterally until your arms are parallel to the floor, as shown in the picture above. It is important that you do not give a bump when lifting the weights; lift them slowly and naturally instead, and as usual, do low rep, heavy weight training. Aim for 3-5 reps for this exercise and when it becomes easy simply add 1kg to each dumbbell.
Last but not least, the famous bicep curl. Easy to perform and very effective, the bicep curl will always be the best exercise for building arm strength.
Make sure you go all the way down with the dumbbell and do not give a bump before pulling it, otherwise you will reduce the load on your bicep and defeat the purpose of the exercise. Read this post for more detail on bicep curls and bicep workouts.
There are several other arm strengthening exercises like the hammer curl, inverted wrist curl, barbell curl etc… but these exercises are really unnecessary if you perform the four above because they target pretty much every muscle in your arm. Always focus on quality rather than quantity.