Arm Toning for Women

The Upper Arm: Biceps

Enthusiasm and commitment will make the training fun – keep in mind how you want your arms to look. Biceps curls will improve the shape of the upper arm noticeably. They will also strengthen the arm for greater ease in day-to-day activities that involve pulling, lifting, and carrying. You’ll appreciate the difference the next time you have to carry heavy shopping or your own luggage. If you start swinging your arms or rocking back and forth, the weights are too heavy. The following arm toning exercises for women can also be used for guys too – this is a quick and effective way to tone those arms for any occasion. Even if it’s just to try to get into a sleeveless top for once!

If you’re a guy, try these shoulder exercises to impress the ladies! I’ve said it before, but toned upper arms and shoulders can look sexy and attractive on a woman and hugely attractive on a guy!


Shaping and toning

1 —2kg (3-51b) free weights.

For Curls, do 12-15 reps on each arm per set; for “21s”, do 21 reps per set.

Bone building

4-5kg (8-10lb) free weights.

For Curls, do 8-12 reps on each arm per set; for “21s”, do 21 reps per set.


The supinated-forearm biceps curl is sometimes...
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1. Stand with your feet parallel, hip-width apart, knees soft. Hold a free weight in each hand, with your arms straight at your sides, wrists aligned with the forearm, palms facing in.

2. Exhale and squeeze your upper arm as you bend your right elbow, lifting the weight towards your shoulder. To return, inhale and straighten your forearm fully, maintaining tension in the muscle. Do all your reps, alternating arms.

BICEPS “21s”

1. Stand as before, with your palms facing forwards. To work the lower range of motion, keep your elbows tight to your sides and exhale to lift the free weights as high as your elbows. Inhale and slowly lower them. Do 7 reps.

2. To work the upper range of motion, exhale to raise the weights from the elbow to the shoulder for 7 reps. Then do 7 reps working the full range of motion, raising the weights all the way up and down.

The Upper Arm: Triceps 1

I am always being asked for the best exercises to firm up the back of the upper arm. It is one of the most common trouble spots for many women, so I like to target it with a variety of exercises. This is one of my favourites. We start with a basic version that supports the torso and exercises one arm at a time. The advanced exercise requires stabilization throughout the body, but the bent-over position is not recommended if you have lower-back problems or a spinal condition (it applies too much force to any weakened vertebrae).


Shaping and toning 1-2kg (3— 5lb) free weights. Do 12-15 reps per set (for Triceps Kickback with Support, do 12-15 reps per arm).

Bone building 4kg (81b) free weights. Do 8-12 reps per set (for Triceps Kickback with Support, do 8-12 reps per arm).


1. Place your left hand on a chair back for support and take a staggered lunge position, your left, front knee bent over the ankle. Hold a weight in your right hand. Keeping your spine straight, bend forwards from the hip. Bend the right elbow to 90 degrees and raise the upper arm so that it is as parallel to the floor as you can get it.

2. Keeping your abdominal muscles tight, exhale as your extend the forearm behind you so that your arm is straight. Pause and squeeze the back of the upper arm. Inhale to return slowly to the start position, keeping the upper arm stationary. Do all your reps, then turn around to repeat on the left arm.


1. Stand with your feet parallel, hip-width apart, knees bent. Bend forwards from the hip, keeping your spine straight. Holding weights in both hands with the palms facing in, bend your elbows to 90 degrees and raise the upper arms so that they are parallel to the floor.

2. Keeping your muscles tight, exhale then extend your forearms behind you so that your arms are straight but not stiff.

3. Pause and squeeze the backs of the upper arms. Inhale as you slowly return to the start position. Your head should-remain in line throughout the exercise.


The Upper Arm: Triceps 2

To bare arms with confidence, we can never do too many different exercises to firm and strengthen the triceps, adding muscle tone and shape to the back of the upper arm.

For best results, choose two or three different exercises to rotate in your programme. These two are “good to go” since you can do them anywhere, one using a portable stretch band, the other relying on your own body weight.



Shaping and toning – Light to medium band. Do 12-15 reps on each arm per set.

Bone building – Heavy band. Do 8-12 reps on each arm per set

1. Stand with your feet parallel, hip-width apart. To anchor the band, wrap one end around your hand, cross it over your chest, and place it on the opposite shoulder. Hold the band taut with the working arm.

2. Exhale and straighten your arm. Tighten the back of your arm and pause. Inhale to release slowly back to the start position. Do all your reps, keeping tension in the band throughout, then switch arms.


This exercise uses only body weight for resistance, but it’s a killer! Start with as many as you can manage, perhaps 3-4 reps per side, and progress as you can to 10-15 reps per side.

1. Lie on your side on a mat or a well-padded surface. Bend your knees so that they are 45 degrees in front of your body, Wrap your bottom arm around your waist. Place your working hand on the floor slightly in front of you with the fingers pointing towards your head, and your elbow bent at a right angle. Your head is raised in line with your spine.

2. Anchor your shoulder blades by drawing them down and together to keep the chest open.

3. Exhale and press through your working arm until it is nearly straight, lifting your torso off the floor. Pause, then inhale as you lower yourself slowly back to the floor. Repeat without resting until you car do no more. Switch sides and repeat.


• Keep your shoulders square to the front

• Do not twist through the torso; keep your side to the ceiling.

• Work your weaker arm first. If you start with your stronger arm, you will not be able to match the reps on the other side.

 For more arm toning exercises for women, click here

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