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These Exercises Are Better Than Bicep Curls for Toned Arms

May 24, 2023

These Exercises Are Better Than Bicep Curls for Toned Arms

We all want tone, powerful arms that look great no matter what we’re wearing. Bicep curls are the go-to exercises commonly used to develop arm strength and appearance. But do bicep curls really help you get the cut and shape you want for your arms? The answer is “maybe,” but there are better ways to achieve your end goal. Here are five exercises that are even better for your arms than bicep curls.

Straight-Bar Seated Underhand Cable Rows

If you like row variations, you’ll love this exercise. It can help you develop more toned biceps in minimal time. To get started, attach a straight bar to a cable row machine. Then, sit down on the bench facing the straight bar with your back tall and your shoulders pressed down and back. Grab the bar with an underhand grip and pull it to your chest with your elbows pulled tightly against your ribcage the entire time. Pause while you squeeze your biceps, then slowly return the bar to the starting position. You’ve just completed one rep. The number of reps you choose to complete depends on your goals and the amount of weight you’re rowing.

For bigger muscles, it’s recommended that you use a heavier weight and fewer repetitions. For more defined muscles that aren’t necessarily bulky, try using less weight and doing more repetitions. You can follow this rule for the remaining workouts in this guide, as well.

Tree Huggers

This exercise works your biceps from a unique angle to help give you great shape. It also helps sculpt the shoulders and the sides of the chest (the area by your armpits). To complete this workout, hold a set of dumbbells in your hands. Raise them to shoulder height out to your sides, parallel to the floor. Pull your shoulders down and back, then circle your arms around in front of you until your weights nearly touch. It should look as if you’re hugging an invisible tree.

Throughout the hugging motion, don’t allow your arms or shoulders to dip downward. Keep your arms parallel to the floor at shoulder height. After you hug your invisible tree, slowly return your arms to their starting position. Repeat the process for your desired number of reps.

V-Up Arms

Another great exercise for your biceps and the front of your shoulder is the V-Up Arms exercise. Begin this exercise by grabbing a set of dumbbells, then standing with your hands facing each other and your dumbbells resting on the front of your hips. Take a deep breath, pull your shoulders down and back, then raise your straight arms upward and outward to create a “V” shape. Don’t raise your arms higher than your shoulders. Release your arms slowly back down toward your hips. Repeat the process for your desired number of sets.


This upper-body exercise requires much more bicep strength than typical curls. To begin, face a chin-up bar and grab it with an underhand grip. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart. Breathe in deep, pull your shoulder blades back and down, then use your biceps to pull your body off the ground and toward the bar. You have completed one chin-up when you successfully pull your body up until your chin comes just above the bar. Don’t use momentum or jerking motions to complete this exercise. That’s cheating.

Pause at the top of the motion for a couple of seconds while squeezing your biceps, then lower yourself slowly back to your original position. It may take time to be able to do chin-ups with the correct form. When you’re first getting started, consider using a chair for balance and support.

These exercises are all very effective at building great biceps, shoulders and arms. Give them a try starting today and get ready to impress your friends this summer.

Category: Exercise