The Best Machines for Arm Exercises

By Jonathan Bales , last updated January 19, 2012

Everyone wants to have toned arms, and there are a variety of great exercise machines which can help you reach your goals. When looking for an exercise machine, the key trait to seek is versatility. You want your machine to allow you to perform as many exercises as possible. On top of that, you always want to find a machine that forces you to use stabilizer muscles to balance the weight. That can be difficult, as machines usually force a fixed range of motion. There are some machines out there which force you to stabilize the weight you lift, however, and this can allow for great arm growth. Read below to learn more about the best machines for arm exercises.

Smith Machine
The Smith machine is a staple of every bodybuilder's routine, and it can be of use to you as well. A Smith machine forces you to use some stabilizer muscles, and it is very versatile. A Smith machine consists of a barbell that is hooked up to a pulley system. Some Smith machines force the barbell to move in a single plane, but newer versions allow the bar to move in different planes. The latter type is the one you want for your arm exercises, as it will allow for the best exercises.
In theory, you could perform your entire arm workout on a Smith machine. From tricep extensions to closed-grip bench press to bicep curls, the list of arm exercises which can be completed on a Smith machine is seemingly endless. For a great workout, try performing one set of a tricep exercise, such as an extension, followed immediately by a bicep exercise, such as a curl. Performing back-to-back sets, known as a superset, has been proven to stimulate arm development and strength. Due to the ease with which you can use a Smith machine and change the weight on it, supersets are very simple to perform with the machine. Overall, there is may not be a piece of equipment better for arms than a Smith machine.
Cable Machine
Another piece of workout equipment which possesses both a variable range of motion and versatility is a cable machine. Cable machines, like Smith machines, use pulley systems to move weight. Unlike a Smith machine, the point at which you start an exercise can be altered with a cable machine. While a Smith machine really only allows you to move the weight up and down, a cable machine allows you to move weight in just about any direction you want. In turn, this forces your muscles to work harder to balance the weight.
Some people perform their entire arm workout on cable machines. In fact, due to the nature of the machine, just about any exercise you can perform with free weights, you can also do with a cable machine. Bring an incline bench over to the pulley system to do seated cable curls, for example. Then, move the handles of the cable machine to the highest setting to perform a tricep pushdown. The cable machine is one of the only pieces of exercise equipment which allows you to alter the center of gravity of an exercise in just a couple seconds.
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