How to Build Up the Biceps & Triceps Muscles

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Developing the biceps and triceps gives the arms definition and strength. The bicep, the muscle at the top and front of the arm, is more noticeable in most people because many tend to focus on this muscle during a workout. The tricep, the muscle group at the back of the arm, tends to be neglected.


Remember to start slowly and don't use more weight than you can safely handle or do too many repetitions. Increase weight as you grow stronger. Muscles should be slightly overworked to increase in size; however, doing too much too fast can cause injury.

Things You'll Need

  • Chin-up bar
  • Barbell
  • Dumbbells
  • Resistance band

Biceps

  • Do chin-ups, grasping the chin-up bar with your palms facing you. You can do repetitions of these until you tire, or follow the advice of Body Building (ref. 2) and pull yourself up and hold this position as long as you can --- they this call the flexed arm hang.

  • Use a barbell to do barbell curls while standing. Grasp the barbell with both hands; your fingers should be wrapped around it from beneath with palms facing up. Slowly curl the barbell up toward you until you reach your chest. Then, just as slowly, curl it down. Repeat this up to 10 times and then rest for a few minutes. Do another set after resting.

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand while standing. Curl up the dumbbell in your right hand in a single, fluid motion. As you return this arm to the relaxed position, flex the left arm and curl that dumbbell toward you. Do a set of 10 to 15 at a time (each arm will lift 10 to 15 times).

  • Use a resistance band to do curls. Place your foot on one end of the band and hold the other in your hand. Curl up and toward your body, just as you would if you were holding a weight. Repeat with both hands.

Triceps

  • Stand with your knees shoulder-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in one hand. Bend your knees a little and bring your fists up to just below your waist. Keeping your back straight, gently extend the arm holding the dumbbell back and up until the arm is straightened behind you. This movement should be controlled and gentle or you may overextend and hurt your elbow. You should feel your triceps working. Repeat this eight to 10 times, as suggested by Body Building Resource (ref. 3) and do three sets of these for both arms.

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Lift your hands over your head, holding your arms straight up. Pivot your hands so your palms face you and the dumbbell is parallel with your body and perpendicular to the floor. Bend the arms at the elbows, lowering the dumbbells backward behind your head. Your elbows should be pointing nearly straight up. Raise the dumbbells straight up again. Repeat this eight to 10 times and do up to three sets.

  • Assume the standard push-up position. Your back should be straight and your hands approximately shoulder-width apart on the floor. Now place your hands far enough so the index finger and thumb of each hand can touch. Gently lower yourself to the floor. If you are doing this correctly, you will feel the strain in your triceps. Adjust your position, if necessary, until you do. Do as many repetitions as you can. Body Building Resources (ref. 3) calls this push-up method diamond push-ups.

  • Stand comfortably with your knees apart at shoulder-width. Bend over slightly, but keep your spine aligned in a straight line. Hold one end of a resistance band with your left hand against your left knee. Grab hold of the other end with your right hand. Pull back and up in a straight line. Repeat until you can't do another and then switch sides.

Tips & Warnings

  • Take a day off every three to four days to work different muscle groups or to do different types of exercises entirely. Muscles need time to rest and repair.

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References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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