For those of you who are hardcore followers of the blog, you’re aware that normally on Fridays I take two exercises and compare them and tell you which is better. I’m not going to do that today. I’m just simply going to tell you the best exercise to make your arms better, not just bigger. You can use this exercise to tone OR to build. But I’m not going to tell you until I’ve ranted for a bit.
When many people see someone with nice arms, be it large and muscular or a woman who has nice toned arms, they thing to point out is that the definition or size generally comes from the tricep. Think about it this way: The bicep makes up 1/3 of the upper arm, and the tricep makes up 2/3 of the upper arm. So if you want to affect how your arms look, the larger muscle is generally the way to go.
So what is the best exercise you can do? There are a number of movements that all incorporate the same idea. You should do an exercise that extends the tricep above your head and elongates it. This is the same movement you do in either a french press or a lying triceps press or skull crusher. This movement mostly effects the long head of the tricep which is the one that gives you that nice horseshoe shape. Keep in mind that either of these exercises is better when performed on an incline bench.
Note that I said that the exercise will get you tone arms OR bigger arms. If you simply want to tone and not put on size, lift lower weight and more repetitions. If you want to put on size, lift heavy.