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The Best Functional Arm Exercises for CrossFit Athletes

Functional arm exercises will build muscle and test and improve your biceps, triceps, forearm and grip strength, as well as strengthen your shoulders for CrossFit.

Functional arm exercises will help you to develop better upper body strength and improve your Oly lifting, gymnastics and general physical ability.

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Firstly, it is important to understanding the anatomy of the upper arms.

Anterior Compartment

There are three muscles located in the anterior compartment of the upper arm – biceps brachii, coracobrachialis and brachialis. They are all innervated by the musculocutaneous nerve. A good memory aid for this is BBC – biceps, brachialis, coracobrachialis.

Arterial supply to the anterior compartment of the upper arm is via muscular branches of the brachial artery.

Posterior Compartment

The posterior compartment of the upper arm contains the triceps brachii muscle, which has three heads. The medial head lies deeper than the other two, which cover it.

Arterial supply to the posterior compartment of the upper arm is via the profunda brachii artery.

Stronger arms are essential for CrossFit athletes. The following functional arm exercises will also improve your grip and forearm strength.

1 Single Arm Kettlebell Clean

The KB Clean is not a move unique to FBB by any means. However, we value it greatly for it is an essential set up move for many of the FBB complexes we prescribe. Additionally, when performed at moderate to high reps with other KB movements, the clean can and will tax the arm flexors. While it is NOT the main mover of this exercise, the biceps and forearm flexors will get a great pump out of doing repeated cleans.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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2 Kettlebell Curl and Press

🧠RETHINK tools to be used for traditional bodybuilding moves.

⚡️One of the ways we can stimulate our muscles to GROW is to create a new STIMULUS using a variety of different tools and unique loading methods. The Kettlebell is a wonderfully awkward and unique tool for this cause. Muscles in our forearms and bicep will turn on 💡that were maybe less active while using a Dumbbell.

💪So, if you have hit a plateau in your arm development or simply looking to mix up your training for a fun deviation from the old methods, give this one a try!

 

 
 
 
 
 
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3 Single Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curl

📝To isolate or not? Why not get the best of both worlds.

🔥The DB Preacher Curl is a terrific way to really isolate the bicep and work on eccentric strength with slow tempos.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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4 Functional Arm Exercises – Dual Dumbbell Bicep Curl

This is NOT a new ground-breaking movement. Dumbbell curls have been happening for ages.

But this is a reminder that isolation movements like these belong next to bigger compound lifts too. The balance of both isolation and compound is an art that can remain functional and honor the body aesthetics people love!

 

 
 
 
 
 
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5 Functional Arm Exercises – DB Reverse Curls

Got Elbow Pain? 🤕

The Brachioradialis is a muscle in your forearm that has a significant role in stabilizing the elbow joint. We can often see an imbalance of the flexors/extensors in terms of their use and this can create a strain on the elbow leading to tendonitis and other overuse injuries.

The Reverse DB Curl is a great tool to strengthen the biceps and these stabilizing muscles for elbow health, while getting a MASSIVE arm pump. You should probably go sleeveless for these. 💪

 

 
 
 
 
 
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6 Incline Bench Bicep Curl

📝 Old school isolation isn’t wrong and serves a purpose in a functional program. These incline bench bicep curls take the long head of the biceps through a large range of motion and are a great complement to pulling exercises like chin ups for bicep development.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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