At 500 Calorie Fitness we take a holistic view of diet and exercise, to create an all-round healthy lifestyle.
Cardio is a really effective way of burning calories, but for a great physique you should also include resistance training as part of an all over body workout.
In this article we’ll look at some of the best arm workouts for women, including:
- Body weight exercises
- Arm workouts with weights
- Gym arm workouts for women
Continue reading through, or use the links below to jump to the relevant section:
Arm workouts are more important than most women perceive them to be. Many women have the misconception that if they work out their arms too much, they’ll start to look like a body builder.
The reality is, if you want to tone up and get a really great looking upper body, then you have to work out your arms.
If you don’t want to have muscle packed arms then keep one simple thing in mind; focus on using lower weights with higher repetitions. High weight with low reps builds muscle mass, low weight with high reps tones the muscle.
That being said, building muscle takes a long time, and even with heavier weights, it won’t happen overnight. Building muscle depends on your diet, and unless you are eating a high protein diet and taking on sufficient calories, gaining muscle will take even longer. If you are following our simple low calorie meals, it’ll be difficult for you to build up muscle.
What are the Best Arm Workouts for Women?
Truth is, the actual exercises that are suitable are no different to men. The difference is in the way you go about doing them.
Body weight exercises
There are lots of body weight exercises that you can do, either in the gym or at home, that will work your arms.
You could get started with the following:
- Punching forwards – Sometimes known as Pilates boxing, this is a great way of warming up as part of your arm workout. This video provides a great example.
- Pressups – While the focus of pressups is on your chest, they also help to tone your triceps. For even better results, you can change the positioning of the arms to focus the pressure on your triceps. Watch the video here.
- Dips – If you are looking for a simple way of working out your triceps more directly, dips are an excellent option.
Each of these exercises can be make more difficult by performing them on a balance board. This also comes with a host of other benefits like building core strength and improving balance.
- Pull ups – Pull ups will work your biceps and your back
The Best Arm Workouts for Women With Weights
For more focused exercise that target specific muscles you can use light weights.
You’ll be able to find these types of light weights in your local gym, or they can be picked up reasonably inexpensively in your local sporting goods store or online. Here’s an example on Amazon.
As we’ve said before, if you are a total beginner and don’t want to spend any money just yet, you could try out most of these exercises with items from around the home, such a bottle of water, or tins of food.
- Bicep curls – Bicep and tricep curls are really simple exercises that most people will be familiar with, that focus on the specific muscle really well and give great results. Read the Women’s Health guidance on bicep curls.
- Tricep extension – You can either do a tricep extension with both hands, or one hand. According to Womens health, to do a tricep curl you “cup a dumbbell head with both hands and lift the weight overhead, arms straight, feet hip-width apart. Keeping your upper arms still, bend your elbows to lower the weight slowly behind your head. Pause, then straighten your arms, returning to start.” Or watch the video here.
- Tricep kick back – This is another type of exercise that you can do with dumb bells that really focuses in on your triceps. You can either do this leaning on a bench or bent over standing without a bench. This is how RealSimple.com defines it:
Place your left palm and knee on a bench. Hold a weight in your right hand and lift your right arm parallel to your torso. (A) Bend your right elbow to a 90-degree angle. (B) Slowly straighten your arm, pause, then return to the start position.
For a more intense aerobic workout you can do many of these exercises while bouncing on your toes, or jogging on the spot and combine them into a workout routine that you do regularly each week.
Gym arm workouts for women
Obviously, you can do all of the exercises listed above in the gym anyway. But if you are in a gym you are likely to have access to equipment that widens the range of exercise that you will be able to do.
For instance, you can do seated curls, or incline curls on a bench.
Another great exercise you can do it the tricep pull down.
How do I know if I’m doing enough?
While you should definitely focus on lower weights with high reps, if the exercise doesn’t put your muscle under enough strain, then it won’t be having any effect. So make sure the workout is challenging, and don’t be afraid to increase the weight if it isn’t.
It will be easy to feel the impact a couple of days after the workout, if your arms aren’t at least a little bit sore, then you probably could have stepped it up a bit.
Don’t be put off building arm workouts into your routine. Resistance training has lots of benefits and if you follow the guidance outlined in this article you’ll have great, slim, toned arms. The exercises above can easily be combined into a 45 minute workout for women that will produce great results.
Combining this routine with regular cardio and elements of the 500 calorie diet will help you achieve slender arms in a short space of time. The key is to find a routine that works for you, and commit to it until you start to see results.