If your arms are more limp noodles than Thunder and Lightning right now, don’t worry. You’re not alone. And hey, some ladies (ahem) prefer the softer look. But if you’re looking to beef up, we’re here to help. If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to building and toning muscle, we’ve got the best intro to arms you could ask for.
The Manual has teamed up with Kisar Dhillon, a personal trainer based in Portland, Oregon, and his team at The Art Of Personal Training to bring you the third in a series of videos to help you ease into a strength training routine. You can do these exercises at the gym, at home, or even at work.
In this video, Peter Fuller, a trainer with over 15 years of experience, shows us how to properly do overhead presses. Though simple, these are the best arm exercises for men who are just starting out with a fitness routine. Fuller shows proper form, breathing technique and how to mix things up if you’re looking for an added challenge.
Related: The best core exercises for men
A quick note before you get started
Just as we reminded you with our leg and core exercises: though these are introductory core exercises, proper technique is important in order to prevent injury and make sure you get the most out of your workout. Dhillon, who has been in the fitness industry for over twenty years, expanded on Fuller’s explanation of proper breathing technique:
- Inhale on the eccentric and exhale on the concentric. For example, when you are doing a leg squat: when you are squatting down toward the floor (eccentric contraction) you will want to inhale, and when you are rising and going into a straight position (concentric contraction) you will want to exhale.
- Do not hold your breath. This will cause intra-abdominal pressure, or a Valsalva maneuver. This can result in seeing stars, passing out and even vomiting. In addition, you do not want to reverse your breathing because you will lose integrity in your core and surrounding muscles, which are usually activated when you are breathing correctly while moving a resistance load.
- If you’re still having trouble, try counting under your breath.When you are completing a repetition, count underneath your breath. This is an involuntary way to move air or exhale. For example, when you are doing a chest press and you are pushing the bar away from your chest, say the number “one” softly and when you are doing your second rep, say “two,” etc.
Ready? Let’s get sweating.
Related: The best leg exercises for men
Overhead presses*: 2 sets of 8-10 reps
Arm presses with band: 2 sets of 10-15 reps
Curls*: 2 sets of 8-10 reps
Twisted curls*: 2 sets of 8-10 reps
* Fuller is using 15 lb. dumbbells in the video, but remember that he is in top shape. The Manual suggests starting out with 10 lb. weights and moving up from there. It’s easy to add weight if something is too easy, but if you start with too much weight, your risk of injury increases greatly.