How To Build Arm Muscle

how to build arm muscle

One of the first things that people see and judge other people on is their arms. If you have a pair of well-developed muscular arms, people will judge you as being more attractive, healthy and strong. Women and men are drawn to people with muscular arms. Because of this, people are looking for how to build arm muscle.

What are the main muscles of the arm?

The arm is made up of numerous muscles, and we are not going to talk about all of them. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on the major muscles of the arm. The ones that aesthetically make your arms look big, or what most people would consider being the vanity muscles of the arm.

Biceps Brachii

Biceps brachii is the muscle that makes up the bicep, which is the primary muscle that forms the anterior aspect of the upper arm. The bicep consists of two muscles, the long and short heads. 

  • The long head of the biceps originates from the supraglenoid tubercle of the scapula
  • The short head originates from the coracoid process of the scapula.
  • Both heads of the biceps inserts into the radial tuberosity of the radius bone and the fascia of the forearm.

The biceps muscle is responsible for flexing your arm at the elbow joint and rotating it inward, called medial rotation. It also helps with lifting objects at shoulder height or higher.

Biceps brachii Muscle
Biceps brachii Muscle

triceps brachii

The triceps is the most significant muscle of the arm. It makes up about two-thirds of your upper arm. It has three heads, referred to as long, lateral and medial heads. The long head is the most powerful of the three heads.

  • The long head of the triceps originates from the infraglenoid tubercle of the scapula.
  • The medial head of the triceps originates from the posterior surface of the humerus.
  • The lateral head of the triceps originates from the posterior surface of the humerus.
  • All heads of the triceps muscle insert into the Olecranon process of the ulna.

The triceps muscle is mainly responsible for extending the arm at the elbow joint. Secondary action is adduction and extension of the arm at the shoulder joint.

Triceps brachii muscle
Triceps Muscle


The brachialis is a muscle located between the biceps and triceps in the upper arm. It lies underneath the biceps muscle and above the humerus bone.

  • Brachialis muscle originates from the anterior distal half of the humerus.
  • Brachialis muscle inserts into the coronoid process of the ulna.

The brachialis muscle is responsible for flexing the arm at the elbow joint. The brachialis muscle is the primary flexor of the arm when the arm is pronated.

Brachialis Muscle
Brachialis Muscle

What are the best exercises to build the arm muscles?

There are so many different exercises that you can do to target the main muscles of the arm, and each person will find that different exercises are better than others for them. It is a personal choice and preference, but we will provide one exercise for each of the three main arm muscles we listed above that we think are the best.

Incline dumbbell curls for Biceps

Incline Dumbbell Curls are a variation of the traditional Dumbbell Curl. In this exercise, you sit on an incline bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand in a neutral position. As you curl the weights, you rotate your hands into a supinated position as you curl the weights towards your shoulders. The incline places more strain and tension on the biceps and increases the difficulty.

Incline bicep curls
Incline bicep curls

Lying Triceps extensions

Lying triceps extensions is an extension exercise that targets the triceps muscle. To perform this exercise, you lie in a supine position on an exercise bench and hold a weight in each hand. While keeping your elbows close together, bend your upper arms so that they are perpendicular to the ground, and then extend them straight up towards the ceiling. As you return to your starting position, bend your elbows slowly, keeping your elbows as close together as possible.

lying triceps extensions
lying triceps extensions

Reverse Curls for Brachialis

Reverse curls are an exercise to strengthen the arm muscles, specifically the brachialis. The reason reverse curls are so beneficial is that they target the brachialis muscle without recruiting biceps brachii so that you can target the brachialis. To perform this exercise, you grip either dumbells or a barbell with a pronated grip, which is palms facing down. Then with the hands still pronated, you flex the arm or curl the weight, keeping the hands pronated or facing down throughout the entire movement.

Reverse curls
Reverse curls

How to build arm muscle?

The best way to build arm muscle is to start working out routinely. If you are not working out consistently, then you are not providing your body with the stimulus or reason to grow. So the first step to growing bigger arm muscles is to start working out.

Once you are working out consistently, you need to focus on proper nutrition. This means you have to consume lots of protein to stimulate and support the muscle-building process. Research indicates that to build muscle, you should consume between 1.6 grams to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.[2]

Once you are working out and have your diet and protein on point, you need to focus on rest and sleep. This is an area that is different for everyone, as some people require more sleep than others to function properly and recover and heal from their training or workouts. You will have to experiment with how much sleep and rest you need to achieve optimal muscle recovery and growth.

How can I build arm muscle at home?

The best way to build your arm muscles at home is to buy some dumbells or exercise bands. These two pieces of exercise equipment allow you to do specific exercises that can help you build up your arm muscles. With bands or dumbbells, you can do biceps curls to target your biceps. To build your triceps, focus on close grip pushups. And for brachialis, do reverse curls. By doing these three exercises, you can build big arms at home. Try to do three sets for each exercise and go to failure on each set, regardless of rep range; go to failure in each set.

How long does it take to build muscle in arms?

If you are consistent and diligent with working out, you can build arm muscle that you and others will notice in as little as 3 to 6 months. This also depends on other factors such as your nutrition and sleep. The key to any muscle growth, not just arm muscles but any muscle in the body, is consistency. You have to work out consistently; you have to eat healthy food and lots of protein consistently; you have to get enough rest and sleep consistently. If you are not consistent, then your results will not be consistent and will be mediocre and sporadic.


  1. Plate Fixation – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics
  2. How much protein can the body use in a single meal for muscle-building? Implications for daily protein distribution (