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Hand weights provide enough load to build muscles.
Hand weights, which are also commonly referred to as dumbbells, are effective for building muscle size as long as your workouts consist of enough sets and repetitions. In fact, using the hand weights instead of a barbell makes each of your arms work independently, which helps prevent your dominant arm from taking on a greater percentage of the load. The major muscles in your arms include your biceps, which are responsible for bending your elbows, and your triceps, which straighten your elbows. However, you'll also want to develop your shoulders.1.
Do your arm workout two days per week with two to three days off in between each one. For example, work out on Tuesdays and Fridays. Because your arm muscles are going to be exhausted after your workouts, they'll need 72 hours to fully recover and heal.2.
Organize your workout into a supersetting structure. Complete a set of a shoulder exercise, then do a set of a biceps exercise and then do a set of a triceps exercise. Continue in this manner until all sets are completed and then move onto the next battery of three exercises.3.
Pick and do three exercises that effectively target your shoulders. Effective choices include the dumbbell shoulder press, dumbbell upright rows, the dumbbell lateral raise and dumbbell front raises.4.
Choose and do three exercises to develop your biceps. With a dumbbell, you can complete biceps curls, hammer curls, incline curls and isolation curls.5.
Select three triceps dumbbell exercises to incorporate into your workout. Effective triceps exercises include kickbacks, the lying triceps extension and the overhead triceps extension.6.
Complete three to five sets of each exercise. This means that because you're picking three exercises for each arm muscle group, your workout will end up consisting of a total of 27 to 45 sets. Begin with three sets when you're just starting out. After a few weeks, bump up to four and then eventually do five sets of each exercise. Each set should consist of about eight to 20 repetitions.
- Pick the right hand weight for each exercise. It's likely you won't be able to use the same pair of hand weights for every exercise. Your arms have got to be close to exhausted at the end of each set in order to stimulate muscle growth.
- Get clearance from your medical professional before starting a new exercise program. Take caution when lifting the hand weights over your head. If possible, have a friend act as spotter during overhead exercises such as the lying triceps extension and the shoulder press.