When most people think about the upper arms, they think of the biceps and triceps, and that's where all the focus goes in the gym. But there is another, smaller muscle that you need to pay attention to if you want to maximize your muscular potential: the brachialis.
The brachialis is of vital importance because of what it does. The primary function of the brachialis is elbow flexion, which is kind of a big deal for arm training, right? If hammer curls are all you think it takes to keep this little guy happy, then you're missing out on some serious upper-arm gains.
Add these two moves to your arm day for the next eight weeks. It's a short workout, but you'll notice huge improvement in both size and strength.
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Concentration Hammer Curl
You already know the traditional version of this curl, where you curl the weight up with one arm and twist the wrist to maximize that peak. The big difference here is that you don't turn the dumbbell as you curl.
When you curl the weight up, take a moment to squeeze the muscle before controlling the weight back down to the starting position. Once the dumbbell is at the bottom, feel that stretch in your biceps before you perform the next rep.
There are times to keep constant motion, but this exercise isn't one of them. You need to feel this working at the top as well as stretching at the bottom to know you're doing it right. Keep the weight moderate—not too heavy, but not so light that you breeze through these. A good test is if you can hold the weight throughout the entire set. If you have to use straps, then the weight is too heavy.
Close-Grip Reverse EZ-Bar Curl
You can go with a straight bar here, but I recommend going with the EZ-bar because the angle is easier on your wrists and elbows. Whichever bar you choose, use a close grip. Placing your hands a few inches apart keeps the focus on the outside of the upper arm.
As with the previous exercise, momentum only reduces the effectiveness of this move. If you have a tendency to swing when curling a bar, try standing against a wall or use an arm blaster.
If you want to really finish off this workout with a bang, perform a dropset after you finish your final set. Reduce the weight by one-quarter and go for a few more reps. If you can do more than 6 reps after the drop, you went too light. Shoot for around 4-6 reps on your dropset.