Choosing the Best Exercises: Core & Arms

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Last updated on February 12, 2023

In this article, we complete our exercise selections series by identifying the best exercises for the biceps, triceps, forearms and core muscles.

Best Exercise for the Biceps

The biceps are the human body’s “show muscle,” which explains why they are trained more than any other muscle group. Unfortunately, most of them are not exercising their biceps in the most effective ways to promote growth.

Let’s address a widespread myth about working your upper arms before we examine the specific biceps moves. The short head and the long head of the biceps cannot be exercised independently. The two heads share an insertion position at the radius of the forearm, right below the elbow, although having distinct origin points at the shoulder.

As a result, when you bend your elbow, which is the biceps’ only use, you simultaneously engage both the short and long heads. You cannot work on one without the other. You may have heard that certain workouts, like preacher bench curls or spider curls, will help you lose weight. They will not.

You are only able to exercise the biceps by flexing the elbow, which moves the muscle’s insertion point closer to its origin. The optimal body position is to have your arms at your side, which is the most anatomically correct position. According to certain studies, training a muscle group unilaterally rather than bilaterally has a better muscle-building advantage. Dumbbells are therefore prefered to a barbell when working the biceps.

Alternate Cable Curls

The perfect resistance curve to fully engage the biceps through their whole anatomical range of motion is provided by performing curls with a pair of cables. The exercise can also be done alternately to overcome bilateral deficit. With a barbell, the stronger arm tends to take over forcing the bar to come up on an angle.

Your forearm is parallel to the cable when the pulleys are at their lowest setting. As a result, there isn’t any resistance when the movement first begins. But the resistance begins as soon as you begin the curl. Because the cable is pushing in the direction of the pulley rather than straight down, it accomplishes this more quickly than if you were using a free weight. This offers much improved early phase loading.

Alternate Dumbbell Curls

If you don’t have access to cables, you can use dumbbells for your curls. Doing the exercise with dumbbells isn’t as good because the resistance is straight down rather than angled. You also don’t get constant tension on the muscle with dumbbells. Apart from that, alternating dumbbell curls are an effective biceps exercise.

Best Exercises for Triceps

The triceps muscle makes the arm straight. Despite having three heads, the triceps is a single muscle with a single place of insertion. Each head, however, originates from a different place. None of those three heads, however, can be separated.

The elbow is a hinge joint, therefore movement is all or nothing. This has nothing to do with the potential for growth or strength, as the long head will even extend more than the other two heads during an overhead triceps extension.

Contrary to popular belief, altering your hand posture will not cause your triceps to contract differently. It makes no difference how your hands are held.

The best triceps exercise is the decline dumbbell triceps extension.

The decline dumbbell triceps extension is also called the skull crusher. Your upper arm will be closer to its natural position alongside your body if you perform the exercise on a bench with a 30 degree decline. As a result, you’ll be able to flex your triceps more forcefully when they are fully extended.

This exercise performs a terrific job of working the triceps over their whole range of motion while mimicking their natural movement. Additionally, it supplies early phase loading because the movement’s commencement is its most difficult element.

Best Exercise for Forearms

The forearms have a sophisticated network of muscles despite being a small part of the body. The forearms are made up of four muscles:

  • Flexors\Extensors
  • Rotators
  • Finger muscles

On the side of the hand’s palm are the flexor muscles. On the underside of the arm are the extensor muscles. The extensors bend the wrist backwards and the flexors bend the hand downward. The hands are supinated and pronated by the rotators.

The muscles that comprise the fingers are incredibly tiny. Others are found in the forearm, while still others are found in the hand.

The forearm’s primary function is to move the wrist forwards and backwards.

Best Forearm Flexor Exercise: Barbell Wrist Curls

The forearm flexor muscles are the focus of the barbell wrist curl. These are the muscles on the side of your body that your palm is on. This exercise works the forearm flexors effectively because it causes your wrist to move over the full range of its anatomical motion. Additionally, it is a beneficial forearm exercise. When performing the exercise, it is crucial that your forearms are parallel to one another.

Best Forearm Extensor Exercise: Reverse Wrist Curl

The forearm extensor muscles are the focus of the barbell reverse wrist curl. These are the muscles on the knuckle side of the forearm. This is a good workout for the forearm extensors since it allows you to move over the entire range of your natural anatomical extensor action.

I advise performing your reverse wrist curls with dumbbells one arm at a time for the same reason as stated above. In the event that you decide to employ a barbell, you’ll discover that an EZ Curl bar will give you a more comfortable hand position while you rise and fall.

Best Core Exercises

The belt of muscles that surrounds your midsection is known as the core. They are responsible for providing rotation, extension, and flexion of the upper body in addition to supporting your back, spine, hips, pelvis, and glutes. These are the main core muscles:

  • Rectus abdominis
  • Obliques
  • Erector spinae
  • Intercostals

Torso Rotation

  1. A cable pulley should be positioned at shoulder level.
  2. Holding the cable handle in a double-handed grip with your arms extended in front of your body, stand side on to the pulley while it is about four feet away from you.
  3. Turning your torso away from the cable machine, pivot at the hips (do not bend your elbows) as you bring your arms across your body.
  4. Return to the starting position.

Cable Side Bends

  1. A cable pulley should be set to hip height.
  2. Holding the cable handle in the hand that is closest to the machine, stand side on to the pulley at a distance of about four feet. Widen the distance between your feet.
  3. Bend your torso away from the machine, pivoting at the hip.
  4. Return to the start position.

The Best Abdominal Exercise

You must first comprehend how the abdominal muscles move biomechanically before you can choose the ideal abdominal exercises. The only function of the abdominals is spinal flexion.

The upper and lower body are drawn together when the abs are contracted. You cannot isolate a certain part of the ab; all of its components must contract together. As a result, there are no exercises for the upper or lower abs – every exercise works the entire abdominal wall.

The best abdominal exercise is the seated cable crunch. Here is how to do it …

  1. Place a bench with a back support a few feet in front of a cable pulley device.
  2. Position the cable so that it is parallel to your shoulders when seated. Attach a rope handle at the cable’s end.
  3. Hold the cable just above your head as you now sit on the seat.
  4. Crunch down after that to bring your elbows up to your knees.

Wrap Up

This completes our analysis of the best exercises for every muscle group of the body. In our next article in this series we will focus on workout recovery.

Steve Theunissen has qualified from the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) and is a certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist. He has over 30 years experience in fitness and nutrition and currently working with famous fitness professionals. He is currently living in New Zealand with is wife and daughter.

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