This arm exercise sneakily targets other muscles that are hard to hit—here’s how to do it


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It’s always fun when exercises include added bonuses. You think you’re focusing on one area of your body, but then you wake up the next day sore in areas you never even realized would feel the burn. Well, friends, dumbbell high pulls certainly give you a little something extra.

Dumbbell high pulls look like any basic arm workout, but the move essentially works your entire body—even muscles that are hard to hit. The explosivity of the movement means muscles throughout your body are involved in the exercise—I’m talking abs, glutes, quads, shoulders, calves, and more. You just don’t realize that as you’re busting out those reps with nothing but toned biceps on your mind.

Aside from building muscle, dumbbell high pulls also prep you for more advanced lifts, says Joseph Arangio, a strength and conditioning coach. Follow the step-by-step instructions to give yourself the tools you need to master harder exercises in the future.

How to perform dumbbell high pulls

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells with an overhand grip and get into a quarter squat position. Your feet should be shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent.
  2. Hold the dumbbells at arms’ length slightly below knee height, making sure to keep your lower back straight and chest up.
  3. In one explosive movement, stand up and bring the dumbbells to your shoulders with bent elbows, keeping the dumbbells close to your body during the entire upward motion. Your knees should be straightened, your core should be engaged, your hips should be pressed forward.
  4. Return to your starting position. Repeat.

Want to really test your strength? Try out L-sits, which work your entire body without moving a muscle. Or, go for dragon flags, the martial arts-inspired abs exercise that sets your core on fire.

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