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Mike Thurston’s Must-Do Arm Exercises

Mike Thurston’s Must-Do Arm Exercises
Emily Wilcock
Writer and expert3 months ago
View Emily Wilcock's profile

Mike Thurston, with his 1.4 million YouTube subscribers and 1 million Instagram followers, is known for having an incredible physique.

But he’s not got it by luck or chance. It takes hard work to stay in shape. Mike pays constant attention to the areas of his body that need it and adjusts his training accordingly.

Over the years he’s honed his training, working out the best combination of exercises for every body part. Today, we’re focusing on arms.



Single-arm dumbbell preacher curl

  1. Set up an incline bench and stand behind it.
  2. Grab a dumbbell in one hand.
  3. Rest the back of your upper arm against the bench, with your armpit resting on the top of the bench.
  4. Ensure you’re holding the dumbbell in a preacher grip, with your palm facing your other arm.
  5. Start with your arm straight against the bench and slowly bend your arm at the elbow.
  6. Make sure your upper arm maintains contact with the bench throughout.
  7. When you can no longer lift the dumbbell any higher, release the movement.

Biceps-focused chin-up

  1. Grab a pull-up bar with your hands shoulder-width apart, palms facing your body.
  2. Engage your biceps and pull yourself up until your chin is higher than the bar (focus on curling the bar towards you as you complete the movement).
  3. Slowly release the movement until your arms are straight.


Single-arm cable biceps curl

  1. Grab the handle attachment on the cable machine, ensuring that the cable is on the lowest setting.
  2. Turn your back to the machine and begin with your arms by your side with your palm facing forward.
  3. Bend your arm at your elbow and curl the handle upwards until your palm is facing your biceps.
  4. Slowly release the movement until your arm returns to your side.



Close grip press-up

  1. Place both hands on the floor in front of your body, roughly chest-width apart.
  2. Keep your weight in your arms and rest your body flat on your toes for support.
  3. Bend your arms at the elbow until your chest is as close to the floor as possible.
  4. Make sure your elbows stay tucked into the side of your body during this part of the exercise.
  5. Drive your body weight through your hands to straighten your arms and lift your chest up from the floor.


Cable crossover

  1. Stand between the two sides of a cable machine.
  2. Grab the opposite cable with each hand (no attachment needed).
  3. Stand a couple of steps back from the machine with your elbows tucked into your sides and your hands in front of you holding the cables.
  4. Extend your arms out to your sides until they are straight.
  5. Slowly bend your arms at the elbow until you return to the starting position.


Overhead cable triceps extension

  1. Set up an incline bench in front of a cable machine.
  2. Attach the robe to the cable.
  3. Sit on the bench with your back facing the cable machine.
  4. Start with your arms bent at the elbows, with the rope behind your head.
  5. Extend your arms over your head until they are straight.
  6. Slowly release the movement until your elbows are bent and the rope is resting behind your head.


While these might be Mike’s go-to exercises, they’re not the be all and end for building muscle on your arms. As Mike says, “variety is the spice of life”, so if you stick to just these exercises, your workouts might become a bit repetitive.

An easy way to mix up these exercises and activate different muscle fibres is to switch up your grip. Additionally, focus on tempo. Your body can get used to working at certain speeds, so keep mixing it up to make it challenging.


Wondering what Mike's full week of workouts looks like? Lucky for you, it's right here...


Take Home Message

Mike’s been around the fitness block a few times, so we’d say he’s pretty reliable when it comes to how to put on muscle. Plus, his physique speaks for itself. Try out these six exercises and see how you get on.

Emily Wilcock
Writer and expert
View Emily Wilcock's profile