Here Are The
Best Arm Exercises For Women

These arm toning exercises can prevent you from getting 'tuck-shop lady' arms!

The best arm exercises for women involve working the biceps and triceps muscles. In order to get the best results, it is imperative that you use exercises that involve all the different actions of the muscles.

The biceps muscle has 3 actions: flexion at the elbow, flexion at the shoulder and supination at the wrist (going from a palm-down to a palm-up position). The triceps muscle has 2 actions: extension at the elbow and extension at the shoulder.

The following exercises are the best arm exercise for women because they involve all the actions of the targeted muscles (biceps and triceps).

The Best Arm Exercises For Women

The best arm exercises for women are:


  • Barbell curls

  • Alternate dumbbell curls

  • Preacher curls

  • Cable curls (overhead)
  • Triceps

  • Triceps pushdown

  • Triceps extension

  • Close-grip presses

  • Triceps kickbacks

  • Biceps

    An interesting point with the barbell curl is that the best way to perform it isn't the standard way of locking the elbows in by your sides and curling your arms in a rotary movement. The problem with this movement is that your combined centre of gravity moves outside your base of support (feet), which upsets your balance and increases your risk of injury.

    Furthermore, this performance only works one action of the biceps muscle, flexion at the elbow. A far better way to perform the biceps curl is to perform a 'drag curl'. This is a well-known bodybuilding variation of the standard barbell curl.

    It involves curling the barbell upwards whilst keeping it close to the body and allowing the elbows to move rather than staying in a fixed position. The first phase of the movement involves the elbows moving backwards until the forearms are parallel to the floor. This is then followed by the elbows moving forward as the bar is lifted towards the chin (flexion at the shoulder). The reverse of this movement is performed when the bar is lowered to the starting position.

    This is a superior technique because it involves more than one action of biceps.

    The other biceps exercises involve different positions of the arm in space (i.e. preacher curl), which therefore stresses the muscle slightly differently and targets different muscle fibres within the biceps muscle.

    Other exercises include additional actions / functions of the muscles, i.e. alternate dumbbell curls include supination as well as flexion at the elbow. By invloving more actions of a targeted muscle, a greater number of muscle fibres can be stiumlated. This is what makes an exercise one of the best arm exercises for women to perform.


    For the triceps muscles similar principles apply. During the triceps pushdown the elbows should be allowed to move so during the lifting phase both actions of the triceps come into play (extension at the elbow and shoulder). This means more muscle fibres in the triceps will be stimulated.

    When performing the triceps extension perform it on a bench so it is possible to stretch the muscles against resistance. This means the dumbbell or bar being used needs to be lowered close to the floor rather than having it above the forehead (as is it when performing 'skull-crushers').

    The kickbacks and close-grip presses also allow the triceps to be worked whilst the arm is in a different position in space. Again, this puts a different stress on the muscle and targets different fibres.

    These are definitely the best arm exercises for women to perform. You may like to add additional exercises to the workout as well for the forearms and brachialis muscle. This will ensure a more complete arm workout.

    For more detailed information on how to perform these arm exercises and more, then get a copy of Strength Training Anatomy, 3rd Edition. It will provide you with an in-depth explanation of how to perform the exercises correctly so you get the best possible results from your training.

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