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Shape your arms with this great combo

Personal Trainer Julien Bertherat.

To achieve a balanced and impressive physical aesthetic, having sculpted and toned arms is crucial. I get asked regularly how to get shapely arms (particularly upper arms, which many people tend to reduce to the biceps and triceps) and how to get them fast.

One of the keys to building great arms is to master the correct techniques when exercising and to select the most effective exercises that can be grouped into a combo routine for a regular workout.

Below is such a combo of these exercises which together (and in association with other arm exercises) can deliver the shapely and contoured arms so crucial to creating an impressive physical aesthetic.

And now, on with those exercises!

Reverse dumbbell curl

Personal Trainer Julien Bertherat.

The primary muscles targeted during the reverse curl are the biceps brachii and brachialis.

Adding this exercise to your workout can also increase your ability to lift heavier weights during standard biceps curls and correct muscle imbalance between flexor and extensor muscles.

Step by step:

  1. Stand up with your back straight, shoulders back, and chest lifted.

  2. Grip a set of dumbbells with your palms facing down (pronated grip) and rest the weights on the front of your thighs.

  3. Exhale and bend your elbows to lift the weights toward your shoulders.

  4. Lift the weights until you feel a complete biceps contraction.

  5. Lower the dumbbells to the starting position slowly and with control, inhaling as you go.

  6. Aim to deliver four sets of 8 to 10 repetitions.

Hammer dumbbell curl

Personal Trainer Julien Bertherat.

The hammer curl works the biceps brachii, which are easily visible on the front of the body. Within the body, the biceps brachii is an elbow flexor, meaning it is responsible for the bending movement at the elbow. It also helps to rotate (supinate) the forearm.

The hammer curl is a great way to build stronger biceps muscles and provide greater definition and increased strength. Including it in your exercise programme may also help increase wrist stability and improve grip strength.

Step by step:

  1. Stand with your legs straight (but not stiff or locked) and with your knees aligned under the hips.

  2. Your arms should be at your side with a dumbbell in each hand, the weights resting next to the outer thigh.

  3. Your palms should be facing the thighs, your thumbs facing forward, and your shoulders relaxed.

  4. Bend at the elbow, lifting the lower arms to pull the weights toward the shoulders. Your upper arms should be stationary and your wrists in line with the forearms at the end of the motion.

  5. Hold for one second at the top of the movement. Your thumbs will be close to the shoulders with your palms facing in, toward the midline of the body.

  6. Lower the weights to return to the starting position.

  7. Aim to deliver four sets of 8 to 10 repetitions.

Barbell curl

Personal Trainer Julien Bertherat.

The barbell curl is a free weights exercise that primarily targets the biceps.

It is generally considered an exercise for those with a beginner level of physical fitness and exercise experience, though it can also be undertaken by anyone exercising their arms.

The first principle of this exercise is in choosing a barbell weight that can be lifted effectively to master the technique and learn the exercise.

Step by step:

  1. Stand up straight while holding a barbell in a shoulder-width grip.

  2. Contract your biceps to curl the weight forward.

  3. Your upper arms should remain stationary during this process.

  4. Continue moving the barbell until the biceps are fully contracted and the bar is at shoulder height.

  5. Hold this position for a second and then squeeze your biceps.

  6. Bring the barbell back to the starting position.

  7. Aim to deliver 4 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions.

Narrow grip push up

Personal Trainer Julien Bertherat.

If you are looking for a way to tone your arms and strengthen your upper body, then close grip push-ups can be a great exercise for you. Not only do they target your chest muscles, but they also work out your arms, shoulders, and back as well.

Similar to wide grip push-ups, close grip push-ups are performed by assuming a plank position with your wrists underneath your shoulders and your fingers pointing forward. This close grip push-up puts more pressure on the biceps, triceps, and chest.

While both variations use the same muscles, they activate different muscle responses.

Because of this, the close-grip push-up is commonly considered the more strenuous push-up variation. When undertaken correctly with good form, close grip push-ups can help sculpt your arms in good time!

Step by step:

  1. Come into the plank position with your wrists underneath your shoulders and your fingertips pointing forward. Check that your neck and back are both in a neutral position so that your core is engaged.

  2. Place both hands approximately two inches apart and bring in your elbows so that they are close to your ribs on both sides. Make sure your spine is not too low or too high but is in a perfectly neutral position.

  3. Lower yourself down toward the ground slowly by bending your elbows and allowing them to move outwards slightly.

  4. Slowly lift yourself back up into starting form while keeping your spine in a neutral position.

  5. After your first repetition, depending on your experience you can undertake two or three sets of 8 to 10 repetitions to complete a set.

  6. If you are a beginner, it's more important to perfect your form first before increasing your repetitions so as not to get injured or develop the incorrect form.

  7. Aim to deliver 4 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions as above.

As always with such combos, if you have any queries about these exercises (or indeed, other related combos) feel free to contact me directly.


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