Question

Arm Exercises

What exercises target the arms and shoulders?

A Answers (6)

  • AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered

    To target your arms and shoulders, try the shoulder matrix and empty can exercises.
    Shoulder Matrix: Holding dumbbells in each hand (or other household objects like jugs of water), hold the weights at your shoulders. Press them straight over your head. Bring them back down to your shoulders. On your next repetition, press them up and slightly to the left. Next time press to the right, then forward, then slightly backward. Repeat through all the moves.
    Empty Can: Hold dumbbells down and by your sides. Keeping your arm straight, raise one arm forward (thumbs stay up to the ceiling) so that your arm becomes parallel to the ground. As you lower your arm, rotate your wrist (as if you're emptying a can). Repeat with the other arm and alternate repetitions. This emphasizes different parts of the shoulders.

  • AVonda Wright, MD, Orthopedic Surgery, answered
    Here are some exercises for your arm and shoulder muscles:

    Scaption/Shrug: Shoulders
    1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and engage your core.
    2. Roll your shoulders back by squeezing your back muscles together and stand up straight.
    3. Raise your arms in the front of your body so they form a Y.
    4. Shrug your shoulders and pause in that position, then return slowly to the starting position.
    5. Perform two sets of 10.
    Rotator Cuff /Shoulder in Four Planes: Forward Flexion, Cross Arm Abduction, Internal and External Rotation
    Forward Flexion
    1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Engage your core.
    2. Place one end of an exercise band under your right foot and hold the opposite end with your right hand. (This can also be performed with a hand weight.)
    3. With shoulder blades squeezed together, slowly raise your arm forward in the plane of your shoulder and pause at the top before returning to the starting position.
    4. One set of 10 for each arm.
    Cross Arm Abduction
    1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Engage your core.
    2. Place the end of the band under your left foot, and keep the other end in your right hand.
    3. With shoulder blades squeezed together, raise your arm across your body in a V motion until it is level with your shoulder.
    4. Pause at the top before returning to the starting position.
    5. One set of 10 for each arm.
    External Rotation
    1. Place one end of the band around a sturdy object and stand with your left side toward the object.
    2. Place the other end of the band in your right hand.
    3. Keep your elbow next to your body and pull the band away from your body.
    4. Pause at maximal external rotation before returning to starting position.
    5. One set of 10 on each side.
    Internal rotation
    1. Place one end of the band around a sturdy object and stand with your right side toward the object.
    2. Place the other end of the band in your right hand.
    3. With your elbow next to your body, pull the band across your body.
    4. Pause at maximal internal rotation before returning to the starting position.
    5. One set of 10 on each side.
    Chair Dip: Triceps, Upper Back
    1. Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair and place your hands beside your hips on the chair.
    2. Slide forward until your weight is on your hands and your elbows are facing back.
    3. Continue lowering your body in a dip, slowly counting 1-2-3 down and 1-2-3 up.
    4. Perform for 45 seconds.
  • AJonathan Penney, Fitness, answered on behalf of National Academy of Sports Medicine

    Any exercise that is a pushing exercise will help engage your arms and shoulders.  By pushing, I am referring to taking a weight and pushing it away from your body.  The resistance that will result from this will include strengthening your arms and shoulders.  To be more specific, you can complete and overhead shoulder press, a biceps curl, and a triceps extension.  Many exercises will help these muscle groups and I would be glad to assist you with more, just contact me and we can discuss further. 

  • ABrian Guidry, NASM Elite Trainer, Fitness, answered

    Some exercises to target your shoulders:

    • seated barbell military press
    • Arnold dumbell press
    • seated lateral raise, with dumbells or tubes
    • seated dumbell military press

    For your triceps:

    • close grip bench press
    • reverse grip triceps push down (cables and bar)
    • triceps push downs (cable with rope)
    • triceps dumbell extensions
    Biceps:
    • Hammer curl (dumbells)
    • seated dumbell curl
    • barbell curl with EZ bar
    • dumbell prone incline curl 

    Forearms:

    • wrist curls (cable or barbell)
    • barbell behind the back wrist curl
    • wrist roller (regular and inverted)
    • most back exercises require a pulling motion and work the forearms too
  • Here are some exercises that target the arms and shoulders:


    -Single-leg dumbbell scaption (shoulders) - Standing on one-leg, with dumbbells in both hands with thumbs up, slowly raise arms at a 45-degree angle. Stop at about shoulder level, lower and repeat.

    -Single-leg dumbbell curl (biceps) - Standing on one-leg, with dumbbells in both hands, palms facing forward and arms down at sides. Slowly bring weights up by bending just at the elbow, lower and repeat.

    -Seated stability ball Military press (shoulders) - Sitting on stability ball, keeping palms facing forward, and press dumbbells overhead until both arms are fully extended. Lower to chest level and repeat.

    -Stability ball dumbbell triceps extensions (triceps) - Sitting on stability ball, arms straight up with palms facing in and keeping elbows in line with the shoulders. Bend at the elbow, slowly lowering the weight. Slowly return to the starting position.

    This method also challenges your core and balance. However, these exercises can also be performed either standing with feet shoulder width apart or on a stable surface, such as a bench.
  • AJulie DuBois, NASM Elite Trainer, RD, Administrator, answered
    A good exercise to target the shoulders and arms is the dumbbell scaption.  You can use dumbbells in both hands or perform the exercise without weight.  Stand with your feet hip width apart and raise both arms at a 45 degree angle to a Y shape.  Hold at the top and then return the arms to the side of the body.  You will be targeting the deltoids primarily.  You can advance the exercise by performing it on a single leg to decrease stability. 
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