While I’m not a proponent of the Second Amendment, I am a big supporter of one’s right to bare arms. If there was ever a cause to get behind, stand up for, and rally around, it’s arms. And really, is there anything more American than showing off one’s guns in public, especially if they’re toned, strong, and defined?
With that said, I’ve chosen a few arm exercises that are simple, effective, and easy to do at the gym; all you need are some dumbbells and a cable machine.
This arm workout targets the biceps, triceps, and shoulders, and if done regularly, along with some hard cardio, you might just get the kind of arms that gym stud Rep. Paul Ryan would envy.
Everyone loves biceps, and there are plenty of exercises designed just for them.
For me though, I love the Concentration Curl because it isolates the bicep without the use of momentum or the help of other surrounding muscles. It’s slow, targeted and safe. Here’s how to perform it:
Grab a heavy dumbbell, and sit on the end of a flat weight bench. While seated, lean forward and place your upper arm against your inner thigh, making sure there’s plenty of clearance for your arm to have full range of motion.
Starting with your elbow extended, then curl the dumbbell up toward you until your elbow is fully flexed at shoulder level. Hold the contracted position as you squeeze your bicep. Then slowly lower the weight back to starting position.
Perform three sets of 15 repetitions on each arm.
There are tons of triceps exercises out there that use different attachments and have varying levels of difficulty, but this triceps exercise is my go-to favorite for myself and for my clients. All you need is a cable machine and a double-ball rope, which are available at most gyms.
Stand facing the machine, gripping the rope with a neural hand position (palms facing each other). Pin your elbows to your sides. Keep your head and chest up, with your shoulders back by retracting your scapula. Knees should be slightly bent, abdominals pulled in.
As you slowly press down the rope to full extension, exhale, and pull the rope apart at the bottom of the movement, briefly holding the position while squeezing your triceps. Allow the rope to return to the starting position in a slow and controlled manner. Make sure you don’t recruit your back and shoulder muscles by bending too far forward.
Perform three sets of 15 repetitions.
This shoulder exercise targets the muscles that people always notice first: the front and middle deltoids. You know, the ones that Michelle Obama made famous. With her arms, I’m pretty sure she could box Paul Ryan’s head in if they ever got into the ring together.
Anyway, I love the leaning dumbbell lateral raise because it isolates and strengthens the entire shoulder. The leaning position creates leverage while maximizing the focus on the shoulders throughout the movement. Another plus is that it doesn’t strain your neck like some other shoulder exercises.
Start by holding a dumbbell in your left hand at arm’s length next to your side. Stand with your right leg next to a sturdy object, such as a power rack or strong railing.
Place your feet together, and grab the railing with your right hand, and allow your right arm to straighten so that you’re leaning to your left. Your body, arms, and legs will form a triangle with the rack or railing. Your palm holding the dumbbell should face forward.
Take a deep breath and exhale as you lift your left arm to shoulder height. Pause for a second at the top of the movement, and slowly return to starting position.
I believe everyone should exercise their right to bare arms – just not in the state of Georgia though, where every Second Amendment nut job feels the need to show off their guns everywhere they go.
Treva Brandon Scharf