You Need Compound Arm Exercises to Work Biceps and Triceps at the Same Time
If you're starting to feel the time crunch that often comes with the end of summer, your workouts may be falling by the wayside in an effort to spend as much time outdoors as possible or to get ready to go back to school. But you don't have to skimp on strength training to fit it all in, you just have to train smart. That's why compound exercises are so effective — each move hits multiple muscles at the same time, which helps you both burn more calories and tone simultaneously.
Get started with these compound arm exercises from Alissa Tucker, NASM-certified personal trainer and master trainer at AKT. Each move really focuses on working your biceps, triceps, back, and shoulders and will spike your heart rate higher and quicker in less time than longer endurance training sessions.
- Begin in a high plank position with hands on 5 lb. weights, shoulders over wrists, feet hip width apart.
- Row one arm back, keeping the elbow in by your side, pulling the weight toward your hip and engaging the middle of your back. Try to keep your hips and shoulders square and avoid twisting.
- Repeat 12 to 16 times on each side for one circuit. Complete the circuit twice.
- Modification: You can do this exercise on your knees in a modified plank position.
Warrior 3 Tricep Kickbacks
- Begin with two 5 lb. weights, one in each hand. Stand on one leg in a warrior 3 pose, slightly bending the knee with the other leg extended straight behind you and your upper body leaning forward so you look like a letter T. Try to keep your hips level so your back toe is parallel, pointing down to the floor.
- Pull both elbows back by your sides in a 90-degree angle. From there, straighten your elbows contracting your triceps into a kickback, then return back to a 90-degree angle. Make sure you keep your chest open, shoulders rolling down and back. This works the triceps, and the standing leg and your core has to work hard to help keep you stabilized.
- Repeat 16 to 24 times on each side for one circuit. Complete the circuit twice.
- Modification: Place the back foot on the floor and do this from a staggered stance, keeping the hinge in the torso.
Side Plank Rotator Press
- Begin in a side plank, hips stacked and one 5 lb. weight in your top arm. Bend the top arm in a 90-degree angle in front of your stomach.
- Keeping your top elbow glued to your side, rotate open the top arm using your back. Then press the top arm straight up to the ceiling, keeping your shoulders away from your ears.
- Come out the way you went in. So bend the elbow back to your side, then rotate the arm back in front of your stomach.
- Repeat 12 to 16 times each side for one circuit. Complete the circuit twice.
- Modification: Do this move in a modified plank position on your knees.
Deep Squat Bicep Presses
- Begin in a standard squat or wide externally rotated squat (also called a grande plie squat), holding two 5 lb. weights, one in each hand.
- With your palms up, perform a bicep curl four times, followed by a lateral arm raise four times. Stay in the squat for both arm segments, making sure you extend your elbows all the way straight each time.
- Repeat for four sets or 32 bicep presses total.
- Modification: Come out of the squat as you do each bicep curl and lateral arm raise.