Having strong arms is very beneficial for any combat sport, especially forms of grappling. Football players will often laugh at wrestlers in the weight room for doing so much bicep curls and skull crushers. What they don’t realize is that wrestlers need those muscles much more than they do.
Grapplers arguably use their arm muscles more than any other athletes, because they need to securely grip another person resisting them for an entire match. Whether you’re a mixed martial artist or a grappler, it’s important to condition your arms for both strength and stamina.
Let’s take a look at the lifts in the weight room that will get your arms at the level they need to be.
EZ-bar curls are a standard bicep exercise that everyone should do. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing forward. Grip the bar on the outer curves to where your palms are slightly tilted inward. Keep your elbows close to your torso and lift up by contracting your biceps while keeping your forearms stationary. Once the bar reaches shoulder level, pause for a brief moment and squeeze your biceps. Then go down slowly while inhaling. You should be exhaling when lifting up. Try three sets of twelve to fifteen.
EZ-Bar Skull Crushers
Skull crushers are essential to any arm workout because they stimulate all three parts of your tricep. Start by lying down on a flat bench and use a close grip to hold the bar. Keep your elbows in and your upper arms stationary. Inhale as you bring the bar down by allowing your elbows to bend while keeping them in. Pause briefly when the bar reaches just above your forehead, and then exhale as you push the bar up by extending your elbows. It’s important to keep your elbows in the entire time while doing this exercise. Try three sets of twelve to fifteen.
Dumbbell Hammer Curls
Hammer curls are great for stimulating your brachialis in the upper arm and the brachioradialis of the forearm. Begin in a standing position with a dumbbell held in each hand. Keep your elbows close to your torso with your palms facing inward. Keep your upper arms stationary while exhaling and contracting your biceps. Lift the weight until your bicep is fully contracted, and then pause for a brief moment and squeeze the bicep. Afterwards, inhale as you slowly lower the dumbbells while keeping your elbows stationary. Be sure to keep your back as straight as possible during this exercise. Try three sets of twelve to fifteen.
Dips are one of the best bodyweight exercises you can do. Grip the handles of the dip press evenly and elevate your body with your arms fully extended. Bend your knees at ninety degrees and cross one foot over the other while sticking your chest out. This will be your starting position. Inhale while slowly going down. Be sure to keep your elbows in. Go down to where your elbows bend slightly below ninety degrees and then explode upwards by fully extending your arms and exhaling. If this is your first time doing dips, it can be incredibly difficult. Try three sets until failure.
Isolation Dumbbell Curls
The Concentration dumbbell curl exercise is one of the best ways to stimulate the bicep area and make it stronger. Sit on a flat bench with your arm out in front of you. Grab the dumbbell and place the back of your arm against your inner thigh. Keep your arm extended; this will be your starting position. Exhale while contracting your bicep as much as you can. Pause for a brief moment and squeeze your bicep before you inhale and slowly lower your arm. Try three sets of ten to twelve on each arm.
Cable Tricep Extension with Rope
You’re almost done and it’s time to burn out. Stand with your knees shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed forward. Your back should be as straight as possible. Grip both ends of the rope and hold your forearms at ninety degrees. Exhale and keep your elbows stationary while fully extending your triceps and pulling your hands apart from each other as far as you can once you’ve hit the bottom. Pause for a brief moment and flex your triceps before contracting slowly. Stop contracting when your forearms reach ninety degrees. Try three sets until failure.