When working out, the arms are an area of the body we women often overlook, which is a shame. Not only do sculpted biceps and triceps complement those strappy summer tops, but they’re also crucial for keeping your joints healthy!

The great thing is, you don’t need to stress over putting in a huge amount of effort to achieve it. With a steady training routine and the commitment of at least a few times a week, you’ll have an amazing look in no time.

So to help you create those athletic-esque guns, I’ve picked out some of my favorite moves and wrapped them up in this best arm workout for women.

Workout for women

Guide to the Best Arm Workout for Women

The best arm workout for women should be completed two to three times a week, but never on successive days. Recovery plays a major part in achieving results, which is why they need a break between workouts—to rebuild and become stronger.

Now, here’s what you need to do if you’re really serious. Try using weights a little heavier than those you’d normally opt for, and keep upping the challenge so you continue to gain strength.

Pumping your deltoids, biceps, and triceps will all help you to lose arm fat—reducing the sugar glider effect and making you stronger in the process.

These are the sets you’ll need to integrate into your routine to keep your upper body in shape!

1. Best Arm Workout for Women Warm Up

Rowing Machine:     Five minutes on resistance level four.

Cross Trainer:           Five minutes on resistance level five.      

2. Waterpitcher Lift

Equipment required:            Dumbbells.

Muscles worked:                  Upper arms.

Repetitions:                           15.

Sets:                                       Three.

Rest time between sets:      One minute.

Tips and Recommendations

Keep your back straight and hold the weights right in front of your chest. Preferably, use weights of 8 pounds or heavier, to help burn fat faster.

Make sure your knuckles meet as you move, like you’re emptying a waterpitcher—hence the name.

3. Triceps Pushdowns

Equipment required:            Short straight-bar attached to a high pulley.

Muscles worked:                  Triceps and stabilizer muscles (Pectorals, Obliques, etc.).

Repetitions:                           12-14.

Sets:                                       Four.

Rest time between sets:      One minute.

Triceps pushdowns demonstration video.

Tips and Recommendations

As the name suggests, Triceps pushdowns require you to “push down” instead of upwards—so they strengthen a slightly different set of muscles than the usual upper arm exercises.

For your starting position, make sure you stand with your knees shoulder-width apart. As you push down, only your forearms should move, and try to reach as close to your legs as possible. While repeating the exercise, it’s important to keep your back straight.

4. Shoulder Press

Equipment required:            Dumbbells.

Muscles worked:                  Shoulders and triceps.

Repetitions:                           20.

Sets:                                       Three.

Rest time between sets:      One minute.

Shoulder presses demonstration video.

Tips and Recommendations

This move will really work your shoulders and give you that satisfying burn.

When performing this exercise, your knees should be slightly bent. While you’re holding the dumbbells, keep your arms upright and perpendicular to your head. Also, as you push up, make sure your arms straighten fully.

A variation of this move can be executed on the bench—in a seated position using a barbell.

5. Standing V-Raise

Equipment required:            Dumbbells.

Muscles worked:                  Triceps and biceps.

Repetitions:                           15.

Sets:                                       Three.

Rest time between sets:      One minute.

Tips and Recommendations

Make sure you’re holding the dumbbells firmly as you lift your hands up, ensure your shoulders are level with your arms and your torso is stationary as you start. What’s more, try not to over-flex your legs, by keeping your knees slightly bent.

As you bring the weights down to your sides you should feel the squeeze in your abs and stretch in your shoulders. If you find it too easy, then switch to heavier weights gradually—it should be challenging enough to increase your heart rate, but not cause injury. 

Make sure you rotate your shoulders between sets, to avoid excess strain and fatigue.

6. Dumbbell Kickbacks (Triceps Extensions)

Equipment required:            Dumbbells.

Muscles worked:                  Triceps, biceps, and upper back.

Repetitions:                           20.

Sets:                                       Three.

Rest time between sets:      One minute.

Tips and Recommendations

Make sure your knees are bent and your back is arched forward as you start. Your thumbs should face forward, and keep your head up at all times—don’t look down. If you are performing it correctly, you should really feel the burn in your tricep muscles.

For best results, this exercise should be performed in a slow and controlled manner.

7. Overhead Tricep Extensions

Equipment required:            Dumbbells.

Muscles worked:                  Triceps.

Repetitions:                           20.

Sets:                                       Three.

Rest time between sets:      One minute.

Overhead Tricep Extensions demonstration video.

Tips and Recommendations

To make this more difficult, use heavier weights than you would normally lift, but don’t go too heavy and disadvantage your form. Alternatively, if you want to make it easier, sit on the end of a bench.

Always keep your back straight, your knees slightly bent, plus the move of your arms should also be consistent.

8.  Push-up with Medicine Ball (Alternating Hands)

Equipment required:            Medicine ball.

Muscles worked:                  Shoulders, chest, and core.

Repetitions:                           10-15.

Sets:                                       Three on each side.

Rest time between sets:      15-30 seconds of rest.

Tips and Recommendations

What’s great about this move is that it really works your core, and it also challenges your balancing skills. It’s best to do this after press exercises, such as the shoulder press, unless you’re already at an advanced level.

Make sure your hand is firmly placed on the ball before descent, and keep your core tight. If you find the alternating version too tricky to master, an easier variation is placing the ball in the center and pushing up using both hands.

9. Plank w/ Biceps Curl

Equipment required:            Dumbbells.

Muscles worked:                  Biceps.

Repetitions:                           20.

Sets:                                       One.

Rest time between sets:      N/A.

Tips and Recommendations

As you bend the elbow upwards, your body should remain in the plank—keep your body in position. Your back, neck, and knees need to remain extended in a straight line.

An easier alternative is to perform a hand/knee plank—placing your knees on the ground into a modified push-up position.

10. Cool Down: Yogic Arm Stretch

Equipment required:            Yoga blocks.

Muscles worked:                  Shoulders and triceps.

Repetitions:                           Six.

Sets:                                       Two.

Rest time between sets:      One minute.

Yogic arm stretch demonstration video.

Tips and Recommendations

Keep your palms rested on the blocks as you stretch out as far as possible. This is akin to the shell pose in pilates, but the blocks will help you go much deeper into the stretch.

Best Arm Workout for Women Summary

For a shapely, strong body that will withstand injury and keep you looking smoking hot in your summer outfits, arm workouts are essential. These simple, straightforward exercises are a great start or addition to your regular workout routine.

Whether in the convenience of your home with the right equipment, or at the gym, making time for the best arm workout for women just a few times a week will work wonders to complement and enhance your physique.

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Johnny Gallagher

Johnny Gallagher is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist.

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