Who doesn’t want sculpted, sexy arms? If you feel like you’re fighting flabby arms or don’t like to show off your arms with tank tops, starting to strength train your biceps can help.
It’s a common misconception among women that if you lift weights, you’re going to bulk up. But honestly, that is just not the case! If you want toned, sleek arms on the other hand, then you SHOULD be lifting weights.
You also should be doing bicep exercises. And while sleek, toned arms not only look great, upper body strength is actually crucial to staying healthy and capable as you age.
And don’t be fooled that bicep exercises for women should be performed with light weights—we’re going to encourage you to go heavy with your dumbbells if you can and make those biceps work!
Why You Should Work Your Biceps
The sooner you start incorporating strength training of any kind into your workout, the better. As you age, you start to lose muscle, which can also slow down your metabolism. So if you aren’t currently strength training your arms, it’s time to start.
It doesn’t require a big time commitment—ten minutes is all it takes! We’re going to show you an incredible 10-minute arm workout for women that gives you beautiful biceps and also trains your triceps (yes, you need to simultaneously train your triceps in order to have sculpted arms).
But before we get to the workout, let’s explore some key reasons why you should start strengthening your arms today.
Upper Body Strength & Functional Fitness
More importantly than how we look is how we feel! As you age, do you want to feel strong and confident, or weak and discouraged? That may sound harsh, but keeping up with functional fitness—training that helps us complete basic functions of life and feel capable—does wonders for our mental attitude, too.
Women, in general, tend to lose a lot of upper body strength as we age if not actively replacing it. To combat that, and stay strong and fit, we need to strength train all our muscles, including our upper body. The bicep exercises for women in this blog are a great place to start!
More Muscle = Better Metabolism
You’ve probably heard that muscle and metabolism are connected. It’s true. The more muscle you have on your body, the more calories your body is able to burn at rest. But unfortunately, both tend to decrease as you age.
According to Harvard Medical School, after the age of 30, we lose as much as 3%-5% of muscle mass per decade. That’s not good for burning calories at rest. The more muscle you build, the better your metabolism works.
Want more convincing? According to Tufts University, strength training will reduce the risks and symptoms of arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, diabetes, obesity, back pain, and depression. What’s not to love about that?
So building muscle all over your body, including your arms, is key if you want to stay strong and keep your metabolism high.
10-Minute Bicep Workout For Women
Ready for your 10-minute bicep workout? The below arm exercises are designed specifically for women to strengthen not only your biceps but your triceps, shoulders and a little chest too!
When you train the biceps, you also need to train the triceps since they are opposing muscle groups. Typically, muscles on the front of our bodies tend to be stronger simply because we use them more often. But, to prevent injury and create good muscular balance you need to train both sides of the body, therefore this arm toning workout also incorporates a few tricep exercises too.
- A set of dumbbells
- A timer
- Set a timer for ten minutes
- Do 10-12 reps of each exercise below, then take a 1-minute rest after you complete them all. Begin again from the top.
- Stop working when the timer goes off!
- Do this workout twice a week, combined with cardio, to start seeing stronger, more toned arms.
- Read on after the workout for more tips on training your biceps.
1. Bicep Curl
Here’s how to do a bicep curl:
- Stand with feet hip-distance apart. Start by holding the dumbbells down next to the sides of your legs with armsfully extended, a slight bend in the elbow and palms facing forward.
- Bend your elbows and curl your dumbbells up to your shoulders, make sure you curl all the way to the top.
- Lower the weights back down making sure to straighten your arms until they are next to your legs where you started.
2. Hammer Curl
Here’s how to do a hammer curl:
- Standing upright with core engaged, weights resting at sides with palms facing in.
- Curl the dumbbells up, thumbs on top, until they reach shoulders. Lower to start position with control.
3. Push-Up Punch
Here’s how to do a push-up punch:
- Begin in a plank position with your shoulders over your wrists, your feet together, and your body in a straight line.
- Keeping your body straight, bend your arms to lower your body toward the floor.
- Straighten your arms to push your body back up into plank position as you punch your right arm forward. Return your hand to the floor, lower back to the bottom of your push-up and repeat punching with left arm.
4. Tricep Overhead Extension
Here’s how to do tricep overhead extensions:
- Standing with feet hip-distance apart holding dumbells straight overhead and keeping your spine long and abs tight.
- Bend elbows lowering dumbbells behind the base of the head. Keep your elbows hugging in towards your head and pointing forward. Then extend your arms long returning to your starting position working the triceps.
5. Tricep Dips
Here’s how to do tricep dips:
- Start seated with knees bent and feet on the floor. Place hands behind you, directly under the shoulders, with finger facing your hips. Lift hips to a hover.
- Bend elbow straight back and use your triceps to press back up.
Do’s and Don’ts for Weight Lifting
Most of the moves in this 10-minute workout will require dumbbells. If you’re not currently using weights, here are some basics on arm workouts with dumbbells. Learn the DO’s and DON’Ts for weight lifting in upper body workouts here!
DON’T Be Afraid To Go Heavy
Many arm workouts for women say to use light weights to avoid “bulking up.” Here’s the truth: it would be pretty hard for you to bulk up unless you were eating massive amounts of protein and lifting weights 24/7.
Heavier weights are GOOD! Why? The heavier you go, the more muscle fibers you recruit. Meaning you actually challenge your muscles, and that’s what you need to strengthen and tone them.
Now, what constitutes a “heavy” weight for you? Everyone is a little different. Start out with 8 pounds; if that is doable, go to 10, 12, etc.
Just do what feels hard, but not impossible. You want to PUSH yourself!
DO Focus On Form
When you’re lifting weights, you want to go heavy enough that you’re working hard. But this doesn’t mean you should sacrifice on form.
If you have to go a little slower, that’s fine! You want to have control over your movements when you’re lifting weights.
You’ll see better results if you go slow and controlled than you would if you’re trying to go super fast and sacrificing form. Connect the mind to the muscle; slow and steady is just fine!
DO Get Your Weekly Cardio In, Too
If you’re toning your bicep muscles but still have some fat to lose that’s covering it up, you’re not going to be able to see those gorgeous muscles.