Why Arm Strength Is Important for Overall Fitness
If the pandemic has done one good thing for us, it’s that more people are exercising. However, it’s still not enough. While exercise is up in the US, only 23% of Americans get the weekly recommended amount of exercise.
One of the most common fitness goals that help motivate people on their fitness journeys is building their upper body, particularly the arms. Let’s talk about the importance of arm strength in your fitness routine and how to train your arms for the best results!
Factors of Arm Strength
For your upper arms, there are two primary muscles that you likely know well; the biceps and the triceps. The biceps help with elbow flexion, and the triceps help with elbow extension. For the majority of upper-body movements, your biceps help you pull, and your triceps help you push.
There are a few exceptions to these, but that’s the case with more compound exercises with the upper body. Your triceps help you extend at the top for any pressing movements, and your biceps help you finish on pull-ups, rows, and similar movements.
Other than that, there’s one often overlooked feature of our arms, even though it makes up for about half of them; our forearms. These are often neglected in the gym, but we use them in nearly every functional movement you can name. Our forearms are responsible for our grip strength and stability on hundreds of important movements.
Training your forearms regularly is very important for promoting functional strength, but well-rounded arm strength and upper-body strength are even more important.
Why Arm Strength Is So Important
We use our arms for the vast majority of functional movements both in and out of the gym. Try thinking of an exercise you do without your arms other than the leg press. If you thought of a couple, do you sometimes hold onto weights during those exercises?
Outside of the gym, we use our arms for everything. While your shoulders, back, chest, core, and legs do a lot of the heavy lifting, daily tasks would be a lot more challenging without strong arms.
Also, arm strength is a fairly good measure of overall upper-body strength, which is essential for overall health. A strong upper body promotes better posture, greater functional strength, and an overall better physique.
Our arms are some of the most visible muscles on our bodies, which means they’re very important for boosting self-confidence and a well-rounded aesthetic. Fortunately, training for strong and healthy arms is easier than you may think.
How to Train Arms
In almost every case, you should primarily focus on compound movements for strength training, and your arms are no exception. Here are some excellent strategies for arm day to develop more upper body strength.
Switch It Up
Most bodybuilders and fitness fanatics will do “back and bicep day” and “chest and tricep day” because they work these movements together. Well, prepare to have your world turned upside down. What if you were to do chest and biceps on one day and back and triceps on another each week?
This way, you’ll train each arm muscle twice a week without adding any volume to your exercises. You can always work with a personal trainer for personally tailored workouts, but here’s an example:
- 3×8 Pull-ups
- 3×8 Cable rows
- 4×10 Lat pull-downs
- 5×5 T-bar rows
- 3×8 Tricep push-downs
- 3×10 skull crushers
See, you’re already working your biceps as a secondary driver in the first four exercises targeting your back. Then, you finish with isolation movements for your triceps. If you normally target your biceps at the end of these workouts, then this is a great way to double your arm training during the week without increasing work at all.
Just remember to space out these two days throughout the week, so you have ample rest for these muscles. If you do that, then try it for yourself and see how it works!
If you’re serious about strengthening your arms, then try giving up the same rep schemes your body is used to and try some arm exercises with more weight. Even if you can only get 2 or 3 reps in at a time, you can increase the volume by doing more sets. You’ll still see muscle gains, but you will also see faster strength gains!
Always Use Full Ranges of Motion
On every movement, train for the full range of motion for the best results. Push-ups, pull-ups, and dips are some of the most commonly cheated exercises out there, so always go as deep as you can and reach full extension if you want to strengthen your arms!
Train Forearms Regularly
Like your core, you already work your forearms throughout the week, most likely on every training day. However, it doesn’t hurt to target them specifically once a week. Deadlifting, shrugging, and pull-ups will go a long way, but there’s a lot more you can do.
Do you ever do push-ups in your training? Try doing them on your fists or fingers for a greater challenge. Then, try adding in wrist curls, hammer curls, grip training, and reverse curls for some serious forearm gains!
Now that you know the importance of arm strength and how to build strong arms, why wait? True strength takes time to build, so get started today to see results as soon as possible.
Keep hitting the gym regularly, stay up to date with our latest fitness tips, and feel free to contact us with any questions!