10 Best Arm Exercises to Build Muscles for CrossFit


APRIL, 2022

CrossFit enthusiasts must build arm muscle and strength to perform. Upper body strength is necessary to work on as it makes up a large component of Crossfit movements.

Specific arm workouts can build muscle and strength that will further prepare you for CrossFit training. It is essential to focus on specific workouts to build arm muscle with maximum functional strength. The arm workout will improve overall strength, which then helps in other upper body workouts.

Following are some essential workouts with tips to develop muscle mass and functional strength of arms, which will benefit CrossFit training.

best arm exercises

Tips to Improve Strength in CrossFit training

The most important tip to improve your muscle strength in CrossFit training is lifting as much heavyweight as possible. Starting the workout with your current rep max and then adding weight to your workouts should be your goal to build strength in your arms and gain muscle mass.

You can start a workout plan or decide on a day to do these specific arm exercises. Make sure to use weights in your routine to increase your gains. As you start adding weight to your exercises, ensure to provide the proper nutrients to your body for better functioning.

Add healthy protein to your diet so that your muscle building can occur at an optimal rate. With that, it is also essential that you pay enough attention to adding all essential macronutrients to your diet. Eat in moderation and do not cut down on calories.

Focus on your workout form and clear your mind before exercising. It will help you stick to your plan and make the most out of it. You should also train the lower body and core with an upper-body workout.

The final tip to help you go forward with your workout plan is to rest. Nobody can have a muscular and athletic body by exercising all days of the week. The rest days will recover your muscles which then help you to do other workouts with complete focus.

Do not forget to warm up your muscles before exercises. Start your exercise routine slowly and make gradual changes to it. The workout can be a real challenge as it prepares you for CrossFit training, so do it the right way.

how to get big arms

Best Exercises to Build Arm Strength and Mass

Ideally, you should be performing multiple movements on all of your arm joints. Change the number of reps and sets accordingly. Experiment with a load that works well for you. Focus on doing each set of exercises until your muscle fatigue.

You can also make any change to the exercise as per your preference. Some best arm exercises that help to develop strength and mass for CrossFit training are below:

1.   Barbell Curl

The primary muscles that barbell curls target are your biceps brachii. It improves your muscular strength effectively. The exercise is a real challenge to your wrist strength, so make sure you hold the barbell correctly. You can also use an arm blaster for this exercise, as it will help you keep the correct form and isolate your muscles effectively.

1. Stand tall with your chest up and core engaged. Hold the barbell with your hands using an underhand grip.

2. Keeping your chest up and your elbows by your sides, start the move by pulling your hands slightly up, so you feel your biceps become engaged.

3. While maintaining tension in your biceps, bring the bar up to shoulder height.

4. Give your biceps a bit of squeeze.

5. Lower the bar again slowly and in a controlled fashion.

2. Chin-Up

Chin-up is an essential bodyweight exercise that builds your upper body strength. It is also an integral exercise in all strength training programs. You will need a pull-up bar to do the exercise. Chin-ups also target your elbow flexors and improve your overall grip strength.


1. Grab the bar with an underhand grip with your palms facing towards you.

2. Your grip should be shoulder-width apart.

3. Lift your body by bending your elbows. Your legs should be straight.

4. Engage your core, squeeze your glutes, and rotate your shoulder outwards, engaging the lats.

5. Make sure that your chin is tucked throughout the exercise.

6. Your shoulder blades upward, away from your spine.

7. Now pull your shoulder blades down and elbows close to the body to initiate the upward movement.

8. Continue to squeeze your shoulder blades towards your spine until your clavicle bone touches the bar.

9. Pause here for a second. Lower yourself by straightening your arms and moving shoulder blades away from the spine.

pull up street workout st kilda

3. EZ-Bar Preacher Curl

The EZ-bar preacher curls help with strength in your arms and target your biceps. The bar used in this exercise is of a particular type which is curved. The primary purpose of this curved barbell is to eliminate the stress from your wrist, focusing more on your biceps. 

1. With a comfortable grip, hold the EZ curl bar.

2. Stand straight with neutral shoulders and a comfortable stance.

3. Curl the bar to your chest by squeezing your biceps momentarily.

4. Lower the bar under controlled movement and keep bending your elbows. Your elbows should be feeling the pressure.

5. Repeat the movement until failure.

4. Hammer Curl

The hammer curl is an effective exercise that helps in developing strength. It targets the muscles of your upper arm and lower arm. You can do hammer curls with a pair of dumbbells. You can increase your weight gradually to gain the most benefits. An arm blaster will be helpful here as it focuses on your form and technique.

1. Stand with your legs and back straight, and your knees should be straight.

2. Keep your arms at your side by holding a dumbbell in each of your hands.

3. The weights should be resting on your outer thigh.

4. Bend your elbows to lift the lower arms and pull the weight towards the shoulders.

5. Make sure not to move your upper arms.

6. Hold this position for some seconds at the top.

7. Your thumbs should be close to your shoulders, and your palms should be facing you.

8. Return to the starting position by lowering the weight.

hammer curl

5. Incline Dumbbell Curl

The incline dumbbell curl targets your biceps and forearms. It improves your strength and helps in building muscle mass. The inclination in this exercise helps in improving your range of motion and builds more considerable biceps muscle for you. The exercise also improves your grip strength, improving your performance in other compound exercises.

1. First, set your incline bench at 55 degrees to 65 degrees angle.

2. Now sit straight and hold dumbbells in your hands with a supinated grip.

3. Keep tension in your biceps and curl the dumbbells as far up as you can.

4. Squeeze your biceps at this point and then return to the starting position.

5. Repeat until failure.

6.   Close Grip Bench Press

The close grip bench press is an exclusive exercise that targets your triceps, entire arm, shoulder and chest. The closer grip on the barbell changes the entire dynamics of the exercise and trains your triceps effectively. It is crucial to start with light weights for this exercise as it helps in stabilizing your arms.

1. Lie on the bench with your feet flat on the ground.

2. Grab the barbell with your hands placed a little closer than a regular bench press.

3. Engage your core and squeeze your shoulder blades together. This will be your starting position.

4. Lower the barbell in a controlled manner.

5. Press the barbell upwards with power by keeping your elbows close to your sides.

close grip bench press

7. Triceps Overhead Extension

The overhead triceps extension is an effective exercise that targets the long head of your triceps. The exercise will also increase the muscle mass of your upper arm. It is essential to choose the right weight for this exercise to work. You can do this exercise either standing, lying or sitting.

1. Choose the appropriate weight and hold the dumbbell in your hand.

2. Hold it with both of your hands, and by taking a deep breath, place it overhead.

3. Now in a controlled manner, lower it behind your head. Unlock your elbows and maintain an overlapping grip.

4. As soon as your forearms reach parallel, bring them to starting position and flex the triceps.

5. Repeat the exercise for desired reps.

8. Triceps Dips

The triceps dip is a bodyweight exercise that targets your triceps, shoulders and chest. It focuses on your triceps and strengthens them effectively. The exercise is also effective in building your entire upper body strength. You can make exercise more challenging by adding weight to your legs.

1. Hold the dip bars with an inward grip. You can also adjust the bars to your shoulder height.

2. Jump off the ground and shift your body weight on the bars.

3. Make sure that your body is straight and your legs are hanging down.

4. Lower yourself until your elbows are parallel to your shoulders.

5. Come to the starting position and avoid locking your elbows.

tricep dips with coach on parallel bars

9. Cable Triceps Extension

The cable triceps extension is an isolation exercise that targets your triceps. It is one of the best exercises to build stronger, bulkier and charming arms. It solely involves your triceps, and you will need a cable machine to do the exercise. Keep your elbows static for this exercise for major burn in your triceps.

1. Attach a straight bar to the cable stack.

2. Grip the straight bar with your palms facing down.

3. Bend slightly forward, and start the exercise by extending your elbows and flexing your triceps.

4. Pull the handle down until your elbows are locked out.

5. Come to the starting position in a controlled fashion.

10. Cable Concentration Curl

The cable concentration curl targets your biceps and is a strengthening exercise. It is also an isolation exercise that solely works on your biceps and helps in developing muscle mass. Maintaining a correct posture throughout the exercise is essential for better results.

1. Grab a flat bench and position it in front of a low pulley cable machine.

2. Attach the straight bar to your low pulley cable. Select the desired weight on the stack.

3. Sit on the bench with your feet shoulder-width apart.

4. With an underhand grip in which your palms are facing up, grasp the bar.

5. Now rest your elbows on the inner part of your knee. Hold the elbows in one place and push out with your elbows and in with your knees. This will lock them throughout the exercise.

6. Take the slack off the cable so there is tension in your biceps. This makes your starting position.

7. Slowly curl the bar up as far as you can.

8. Pause here, squeeze the biceps, and lower the weight to the starting position.

Written by Vic

Melbourne-based Personal Trainer, Calisthenics Athlete and the Founder of Street Workout St Kilda. Super passionate about bodyweight training and the art of movement.
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