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Preacher curls are one of many lifts for building thicker arms.
Strength training workouts are the most efficient way to get thick arms. To enlarge the muscles, you must break down the tissue in your arms through exercise, then allow for a recovery period during which time the tissue regrows a little thicker and larger. You will then break the muscle tissue down again and allow it to grow even more. While there are numerous exercises that will help you develop thicker arm muscles, those exercises belong in two broad categories: body-weight exercises and weight-training exercises.
The arms are made up of numerous muscles grouped for training purposes into three main categories: the biceps, triceps and forearms. Each of these muscle groups works together to facilitate movement and manipulate objects. While there are a variety of exercises that engage the forearms, most of those routines also work either the triceps or the biceps. The biceps and triceps are on the top and bottom of your upper arms, respectively, and you can activate the former with a curling motion and the latter with an extending motion.
Many common body-weight exercises work all three muscle groups in the arms simultaneously. For example, the pullup works the biceps, the triceps and segments of the forearm through both an upward and downward phase. The main benefit of body-weight exercise is that you need little in the way of equipment, and you can perform most exercises anywhere. Other body-weight exercises that incorporate the arms include pushups and dips. The one major drawback to body-weight exercises is that, eventually, you'll be limited to your own weight for resistance - over time, pushups, pullups and dips will become easier, and you're only option to increase difficulty will be to increase the number of repetitions per set. This may ultimately limit how thick you can make your arms, since mass-building relies on heavy weight and low repetitions.
Weight Training Routines
Training the arms with free weights, stacked weight or lever weight machines offers more options. Weight training lets you adjust the level of resistance for each exercise at will. Weight training also offers a wider variety of exercises that incorporate the target muscles more directly. To work the biceps, you have multiple variations of the arm curl, including the hammer curl, the preacher curl, standing or seated curls performed either in unison or in an alternating pattern. To target the triceps, there are a number of exercises that utilize a mirror form to the curl - the extension. The most effective variations include the behind-the-head triceps extension and the overhead extension.
Sets and Reps
To focus on the arms, especially with weight training, use an advanced type of set to thoroughly tear down your existing muscle tissue. Since the biceps and triceps oppose each other, this is a good opportunity to take advantage of supersets. A superset combines an exercise for one muscle group with an exercise for an opposing muscle group. For example, pair a set of hammer curls with a set of behind-the-head extensions to form one superset. Each set of each exercise should be between 12 and 15 reps. Limit each exercise to one set per workout.