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4 Arm Exercises to Replace Bicep Curls

Try This Trained Dancer's Arm Workout When You're Tired of Bicep Curls

alternatives to bicep curls

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Although tried-and-true moves like lunges, crunches, dips, and presses aren't going anywhere, if you're like us, sometimes the same old fitness flow seems, well, the same. With workouts now primarily confined to the comfort of your own home and whatever you have on hand, you might just find yourself looking to spice up your at-home workout.

But, just because you're working out at home doesn't mean you have to stick to tedious workouts or uncomfortable workout clothes. To help boost your next arm workout when bicep curls seem so last week, we tapped trained dancer Michele Bastos. Not only does she hold a BFA in dance, but she's also an ACE- and AFAA-certified group fitness instructor and serves as corporate group fitness regional director for Northeast US, Europe, and Latin America for Crunch, so she's an expert at keeping traditional exercise anything but boring.

According to Bastos, all you need are some weights in the form of dumbbells, water bottles, or even cans of soup to complete her four-move arm sequence that combines compound movements to target multiple areas, thus allowing for maximum gains. Of course, if you're looking for added motivation to get you going, one of my best tips is to dress the part. A must have for anyone strength training at home is a comfortable top like the UA Rush Seamless Tank ($60), which allows for a rub-free range of motion that can also double as a lounge or "work" top if you're like me and squeezing in a workout between video calls.

Ready to get moving? Check out Bastos's workout below.

Overhead Press to Shoulder Tap

Complete three sets of 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds.

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, abs engaged, and shoulders back.
  • Holding one weight of choice vertically with both hands at shoulder level, press weight overhead maintaining engaged abs.
  • Bend elbows, bringing weight to right shoulder.
  • Press overhead and switch to the left shoulder.
  • With long arms, swing the weight downward to one side like a wood chop, pivoting through the opposite leg to drive the body rotation.
  • Press back up, facing the body forward and pressing both feet to the floor.
  • Switch sides.

Lat Pulldown Bicep Curl Variation

Complete three to five sets of 15 reps. Rest for 45 seconds.

  • Stand with feet together, knees soft.
  • Keep arms out to the side at shoulder level with a weight in each hand, palms facing up.
  • Drive elbows to the rib cage, keeping palms up, engaging and squeezing under the armpits and toward the body.
  • Squeeze the shoulder blades together while maintaining tight abs.
  • Extend arms out to the side.
  • Bend elbows to perform a bicep curl motion, maintaining arms at shoulders height and keeping the upper arms stationary.
  • Extend arms back out to the side to start position.

Dumbbell Halo to Forward Circles

Complete three sets of 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds.

  • Stand with legs open, hips-width apart.
  • Hold one weight horizontally at shoulder level using both hands. (Tip: grip the weight on its ends with your palm.)
  • Complete a halo circle around the head, starting on the right and continuing to the back of the head, left side, and then front of the head. Maintain a consistent grip on the weight throughout the circular movement so that the weight is vertical on the right and left side but horizontal behind and in front of the head.
  • Maintain tight abs and hold the weight as close to the head as possible to ensure proper form and safety.
  • After completing the halo movement, once the weight is directly in front, press the weight overhead.
  • Take the weight forward and down with extended arms. Reverse it by raising extended arms long overhead.
  • Bend the elbows and lower the weight down to chest level.
  • Repeat set starting with dumbbell halo circle to the left.

Landmine-Inspired Single Arm Press

Compete three to five sets of varying reps. Increase the amount of reps with each round starting with three, then four, then five, etc. Rest for 45 seconds.

  • Stand with the right foot back in a staggered stance. (Tip: bring legs shoulder-width apart for more stability.)
  • Hold weight at shoulder level with the right arm.
  • Reach the left arm out to the side (or rest left hand at hip without a weight for an easier workout).
  • Exhale to press arm up diagonally and forward.
  • Bend elbow with control to return to starting position.
  • Switch the weight to the other hand as you switch legs and repeat.
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