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You’ve probably cranked out a bunch of bicep curls and triceps kickbacks throughout your days at the gym. And while these moves work great for building muscles in your upper body, a few creative takes on your typical arm workout will help you carve even better results. That’s especially true if the exercises mix a few movements into one, so you work more muscles simultaneously (that means you’ll burn more calories, too). Enter: These eight creative arm exercises you probably haven’t tried before.
When you say you want sculpted bis, tris, shoulders and back muscles — we say master these moves. Flex it out with this ultimate upper body workout.
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8 Arm Exercises for a Better Upper Body Workout
Perform each exercise below, in order, for 30 seconds each. Try to eliminate rest time between each move. After the eighth exercise, take a 60-second breather, then repeat two more times. To really intensify the strengthening power, pick up a pair of dumbbells. Soon you’ll want to bare those arms all the time.
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1. Bicep Curl in Stationary Bear Crawl
Show off your guns by working your biceps (the front of your arm) from a different angle than the standard palm-forward posture. While you do it, you’ll be chiseling your core thanks to the stability-testing stance.
How to: Start on your hands and knees, wrists under shoulders and knees under hips (a). Lift your knees an inch or two off the ground and hold them there, back flat and abs tight (b). Turning your palm up and elbow out to the side, bend your right elbow, curling your hand up to your chest. Your right arm should be perpendicular to your left (c). Place your right hand back down and repeat on the left side (d). Continue alternating.
2. Tricep Chop
You’ll strengthen the back of your arms, aka your triceps, as you perfect this rotational chop. Consider your obliques toned, too.
How to: Start standing with feet hip-width apart, slight bend in your knees (a). Clasp your hands together (or hold a dumbbell on both sides) and bring them to your left side, turning your shoulders and head to the left. Your hips should stay facing forward (b). Then, swiftly move your hands overhead, straightening your arms (c). Bend at the elbows to bring your hands behind your head. Keep your elbows squeezing in close to your ears (d). Straighten your arms back overhead (e). Next, bring your hands down to your right side, twisting your upper body to the right (f). Return to the tricep extension and repeat, as you continue alternating sides for the chop.
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3. Hinged Front Raise to Reverse Fly
Welcome a chiseled back and shoulders with this two-for-one move. Switching between the duo of exercises fires up multiples muscles, so your entire upper body benefits.
How to: Start standing with feet hip-width apart, slight bend in your knees (a). With palms facing your sides and elbows straight, lift your hands straight up so they’re in line with your ears (b). Return them back down in front of you (c). Then, with palms facing each other, lift your hands out to the sides with a slight bend in your elbows — it should feel like you’re holding a big beach ball (d) Return them down in front of you (e). Continue alternating between raises and flyes.
4. Bicep Curl to Throw
Combining an upper body and lower body move in this exercise, you’ll work your biceps, legs, butt and even your abs. Don’t forget to put some power behind your over-the-shoulder throw and pick up those weights to enhance the arm challenge.
How to: Start standing with feet hip-width apart (a). Squat down and simultaneously bring your hands up to your shoulders to perform a bicep curl (b). As you stand back up, bring your hands back down (c). Then, step back with your right foot to perform a reverse lunge. At the same time, bend your elbows and bring your arms to your left shoulder, like you’re throwing something behind you (d). Return to start and repeat the squat and curl (e). Then perform the lunge and throw on the other side (f). Continue alternating with the squat and curl between each lunge and throw.
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5. Arnold Press
Your shoulders never looked so good — or felt so strong. This targets all sides of your deltoids, as well as your triceps.
How to: Start standing with feet hip-width apart, slight bend in the knees. Bend your elbows 90 degrees, and bring them up in line with your shoulders, elbows and fists touching (a). Open your arms so palms face forward and elbows come out to the sides (b). Then, press your arms up overhead as your straighten your elbows (c). Bring your arms back down to shoulder height, then close them back in front of your face the same way you started (c). Repeat.