Common responses include: building muscle, preventing injury, losing a few pounds or getting stronger. Although not as common, another popular reason is simply a desire to look good. People may be hesitant to share this, but they shouldn't be.
There's nothing wrong with wanting to look good. From a mental standpoint, looking better often means feeling better, which leads to a more confident outlook on life and improved self-esteem. And who doesn't want to feel good about themselves the next time they hit the beach?
If you want your arms to look better, try adding a 10- to 15-minute "gun-show" routine to the end of your workout a couple days per week. You'll have them ready for beach season in no time.
Note: While there's nothing wrong with training specific body parts, it's traditionally more effective to go with a full-body approach. Don't forget about your glutes, core, chest, back and other important muscle groups. Once you have a solid full-body program in place, then you can target specific areas of the body.
Neutral Grip Pull-Ups6 to 10 reps 1 of 7
This is considered a back exercise, but it does a great job of targeting the biceps, too.
As you begin, think of pulling the bar (or handle) down to you. Drive your elbows down and back as you bring your chest toward the handle. Resist the urge to kick your legs.
At the bottom of the movement, fully extend your arms (if your shoulder joints allow it). Always remember: quality over quantity.
Note: If you're unable to perform 6 to 10 reps, try lat pull-downs with a neutral-grip handle.
Dips10 to 15 reps 2 of 7
Don't forget the "horseshoe" on the backside.
As long as you have healthy joints (especially shoulders), dips are a great exercise for the triceps. It's recommended to use parallel bars or even rings—use caution with a chair or bench, as they're not ideal for shoulder joints.
To perform the exercise, slowly lower your body—getting the upper arm parallel with the floor is a good goal. Push your body back to the start by extending your arms from the elbow joint. Keep your head and chest up throughout the movement.
Note: If you're unable to perform 10 to 15 reps, try using an assisted dip machine, or a tricep machine that mimics the downward push movement.
Barbell Curls10 to 15 repetitions 3 of 7
There's a reason curls are one of the most well known strength training exercises—they work.
Grab a barbell and begin with your palms facing away from the body. Curl the bar up to shoulder-height. Lower the weight under control and repeat for the desired reps.
Note: As you curl up, try to minimize excessive swinging or "cheating" with your body.
Cable/Band Tricep Extensions10 to 15 reps 4 of 7
Hold the handle or band at chest height with your elbows bent. Bring it down toward your thighs by fully extending your arms. Focus on squeezing your triceps at the end of every rep.
Maintain tension on the cable or band and return it to the starting position. Repeat for the desired reps.
Note: Don't forget to squeeze at the end of every rep. If you're using a band, try pulling it apart and getting your hands to the side of your thighs at the bottom of each rep for an extra challenge.
Workout5 of 7
The routine includes two pushing movements that focus on the triceps and two pulling movements that target the biceps.
Perform these four exercises in a circuit-style fashion (one exercise after the other). Complete 2 to 4 rounds, resting one minute in between.
Doug BalzariniAuthor Bio 6 of 7
Doug Balzarini is a personal trainer, fitness writer and creator of DB Strength. He's currently offering his services in Beverly, Mass., at Iron Village Strength & Conditioning.
Doug has several certifications, ranging from MMA to CrossFit. You can find out more on his website, DBstrength.com.