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The Best Arm-Strengthening Exercises After Age 40

Keep your "pythons" lean and mean.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

Maintaining strength as you age is a vital part of retaining your mobility and independence. Starting in your late 30s and early 40s, non-exercising adults begin seeing a rapid decline in strength, endurance, and general physical capacity. Some see this as an inevitable part of aging. While they are right to an extent, the fact remains that lifting weights and performing resistance training in general severely delay the aging process, and in some cases can reverse the age-related decline in muscular strength and physical capacity. In this article, we're breaking down the best arm-strengthening exercises after 40 you can possibly do.

Gear up to keep your "pythons" lean and mean. Perform three sets of 10 repetitions on all of these arm-strengthening exercises. Rest for 60 seconds between sets, and perform the workout at least once per week.

1. Bicep Curls

woman performing dumbbell bicep curls
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Standard bicep curls are a staple of any great arm workout. They keep your biceps and forearms strong. Be sure to use a full range of motion to avoid developing any mobility restrictions.

To perform bicep curls, begin with a barbell held in both hands or a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing up and elbows locked out with the weights at your waist. Curl the dumbbells up to your chest until they make contact with your pecs. Your thumbs should be pointed outward throughout the range of motion. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat for target repetitions.

2. Triceps Rope Pushdowns

Strong triceps are a key part of having strong arms. The triceps are responsible for the extension of the elbow, such as during pushing, throwing, and overhead reaching. Tricep rope pushdowns are a great way to easily and safely build stronger triceps.

To perform tricep rope pushdowns, begin with a cable machine and rope attachment. Grip the rope handles with a neutral grip, thumbs pointing upward. Extend the rope downward by straightening the elbows and focusing on a deep tricep squeeze. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat for target repetitions.

RELATED: The 10-Minute Arms Workout for a Slim & Toned Look

3. Bicep Hammer Curls

illustration of bicep hammer curls
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Hammer curls hit your biceps at a different angle than standard bicep curls. You will need dumbbells held in a neutral position for this exercise, thumbs pointing upward.

To perform hammer curls, begin with the dumbbells held at your sides, palms facing your sides. Curl the dumbbells upward until the top side of the dumbbells hit your chest. Slowly return to the starting position, and repeat for target repetitions.

4. Tricep Skull Crushers

illustration of barbell skull crusher
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Tricep skull crushers work your triceps while your shoulders are in flexion, unlike the tricep rope pushdown. This helps make sure your arm workout hits all aspects of the triceps muscle. You can use an EZ-curl bar for these; a dumbbell or standard barbell works as well.

To perform triceps skull crushers, begin lying on your back on a bench with a weight (barbell, dumbbell) held above your face, and your arms extended upward. If using a barbell, take a narrow grip. Slowly flex your elbows, bringing the weight toward your forehead/top of your head. As the weight approaches your head, extend your arms to return to the starting position. Repeat for the target repetitions.

RELATED: A Trainer's 30-Day Countdown to Firm, Sculpted Arms

5. Wrist Curls

The last of these arm-strengthening exercises is the wrist curl. Wrist curls hit your forearms, which are often neglected during arm workouts. You can perform reverse wrist curls or standard wrist curls. I recommend doing both. Reverse wrist curls are done with a dumbbell held palm down. Standard wrist curls have your hand palm up.

To perform wrist curls, begin seated or standing with a dumbbell in your hand. Slowly curl your wrist up, lifting the weight one to two inches. Eliminate any movement above the forearm to isolate the wrist. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat for target repetitions.

Tyler Read
Tyler Read is a personal trainer and has been involved in health and fitness for the past 15 years. Read more about Tyler
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