Well-defined arms are a surefire way to tell the world that you work out. But having visibly toned and defined arms isn’t just about appearances—it symbolizes strength and confidence. Whether you want to rock short sleeves with pride or feel more confident in your skin, adding the following daily strength exercises into your fitness regimen is necessary for men of all ages. To help you develop sleeve-busting arms, we chatted with TJ Mentus, CPT, a certified personal trainer at Garage Gym Reviews, who has curated a list of seven stellar exercises that target your biceps, triceps, and shoulders, giving you the perfect foundation for sculpted arms. Strengthening your arms can improve your upper body strength, enhancing functional movements and boosting your metabolism. So gear up to learn all about the seven best daily strength exercises for men to achieve defined arms. You can thank us later!
If you’re ready to take your arms to a Schwarzenneger-level of definition and strength, read on for Mentus’s top seven strength exercises for men to include in their daily routine. And, when you’re done, don’t miss these 5 Regular Strength Exercises All Men Should Do in Their 30s.
Chin-ups target your biceps and back muscles as you pull yourself upward using an underhand grip. The controlled motion and bodyweight resistance make it an effective and challenging exercise for building strong, defined arms.
“Chin-ups are one of the best exercises for building muscle in the arms, specifically the biceps,” states Mentus. “The biceps work with your back muscles to assist the body through the range of motion necessary to execute the exercise. Focusing on a controlled lowering promotes muscle breakdown in the biceps to allow for better hypertrophy (growth) of the muscle.”
To get started, grab a pull-up bar with palms facing you, and start in a dead hang. Pull your elbows toward your sides until your chin is over the bar. Lower yourself until your arms are straight again. To make it more challenging, go slow on the way down.
Typically considered a chest-strengthening exercise, the pushup is a classic exercise that engages multiple muscle groups, including your chest, triceps, and shoulders. Mentus tells us, “Pushups are another excellent bodyweight exercise for the arms. What’s great about this exercise is that a pushup can be performed anywhere.”
Start in a pushup position on the ground with your palms flat on the floor just outside your shoulders and your body aligned from the back down through the legs. Lower your chest to the ground by bending your elbows toward your sides, keeping your legs off the ground. Once you lightly touch the ground, push through the floor to extend your arms straight again.
This twist on the traditional bicep curls will target the brachialis muscle at the side of your arms to help build full and bulging biceps. This variation adds width and thickness to your arms for a well-rounded, defined appearance. “Hammer curls isolate the biceps; typically, you can use heavier weights than other curl variations, making it more demanding,” says Mentus.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing toward your sides. Curl the dumbbells straight up, pulling the head of the dumbbell to the front of the shoulder, then lower back down. Keep the elbows pinned at your sides.
Don’t let the name of this exercise intimidate you. The skull crusher involves extending your arms with a dumbbell or barbell while lying on a bench, isolating and strengthening the triceps to add some serious size to the back of your arms. “Skull crushers are an exercise that significantly challenges the triceps. When done correctly, no other muscles can help to move the weight,” says Mentus.
To set up, lie down on a bench holding a bar in your hands shoulder-width apart and your arms straight. Keep your upper arms fixed, and lower the bar toward your face by bending your elbows. Once you get within an inch of your face, extend your arms straight again, keeping your upper arms still.
Next up on Mentus’s list of the best daily strength exercises for men to sculpt defined arms is the reverse curl. This bicep curl variation will engage the brachioradialis muscle, which runs along the forearm. “Reverse curls are fantastic for directly targeting your forearm muscles,” explains Mentus. “If you’re building defined arms, focusing on forearm exercises is essential. Be sure to perform these with a barbell in a standing position.”
Start by gripping the bar with hands shoulder-width apart and palms facing you. Pull the bar straight up, keeping the elbows pinned at your sides, and then lower it back down.
This dynamic movement involves a bicep curl followed by an overhead press, engaging both the biceps and the shoulders for an overall more muscular upper body. “The curl-to-press movement is excellent for hitting the entire arm. The curl works the biceps, and the overhead press works the triceps and shoulders. I love using this movement for arm development in the gym, especially when on a tight schedule or as a finisher,” says Mentus.
Hold a pair of dumbbells with your palms facing away from you. Curl the dumbbells up to your shoulders, then press the dumbbells over your head and rotate the dumbbells and thumbs toward each other. Lower the dumbbells back in the reverse motion.
The last of these strength exercises for men to achieve defined arms is the cable tricep pushdown. Using a cable machine and an appropriate attachment, this exercise targets the medial and lateral heads of your triceps for strong upper arms. Mentus says, “The cable tricep pushdown is one of the best isolation exercises for building defined triceps. The cables keep constant tension on the triceps, allowing you to load them more safely than other movements. Varying your grip position will also allow you to target different heads of your tricep.”
Set your cable so the handle is around head height. Grab it with palms facing away from you, and pull your elbows to your sides. Keep your elbows fixed and extend your arms, pressing the cable down.