6 steps to getting toned arms for women

You want your arms to move when they're flexed - not when the wind blows. Jiggling, sagging, drooping - these are all undesirable characteristics especially when it comes to our arms, ladies.

You want toned and defined not jiggling and sagging

Instead of feeling a "jiggle" when swinging your arms, I want you to feel the tight, toned strength of your guns the next time you're carrying the groceries into the house! Strong, defined arms not only look good, but they’re quite practical as well. 

If you're anything like most women, you're thinking, "Yes, I want my arms to look great in that new dress!" And yes, we'd be lying to ourselves if we said that toned arms are much more aesthetically appealing than the alternative. And in addition to looking great, strong arms will supply you with confidence so that in addition to looking great, you'll feel great about yourself. But the benefits of strong, toned arms don't stop there. They also serve a practical purpose. Who wants to be completely dependent, incapable of lifting anything moderately heavy? I don’t and I doubt you do either! That's why I want to give you 6 steps to getting toned arms for women.

Things to consider

But before you begin sculpting those guns, there's a few things to consider:

  1. Many people just beginning to work on their arms concentrate only on their biceps. But the key to developing strong arms (like the arms you’re wanting) is not to focus solely on the bicep. Specifically, we will focus on the entire upper arm in this post. Your upper arm is located between the shoulder and elbow joints. It contains four muscles – three in the anterior compartment (biceps brachii, brachialis, coracobrachialis), and one in the posterior compartment (triceps brachia). The 6 steps to getting toned arms for women will focus on all of these muscles.

  2. You should always focus on form. This will prevent injury and ensure you are benefiting the right muscles. If you feel like you're not keeping correct form then you're most likely lifting too much or aiming for too high of a set number. Similarly if you don't feel muscle fatigue after an exercise you most likely aren't lifting enough and need to grab a heavier weight to challenge yourself.

  3. You should lift heavy. If you're afraid of getting "bulky" arms, DO NOT FEAR. Big, bulky arms are achieved by an intentional effort – it won’t happen by accident. Women posses a fraction of the testosterone that men have and it's difficult to achieve large mass (Need further convincing? Read Why women should lift heavy where I explain away the myths behind women building mass).

6 steps to getting toned arms for women

Now, let's talk about HOW we get these better biceps. I want to give you 6 steps to getting toned arms for women.

1. Standing dumbbell bicep curls: This is a classic bicep exercise that is great for isolating the bicep muscle and sure to yield results. The great part about it is that there are so many different ways to execute this one exercise. For the sake of what we want to accomplish, let's use a basic version. 

2. Tricep kick-backs: Just as the standing dumbbell curl is a classic for biceps, the tricep kick-back is a classic for the triceps. It's simple and effective! To execute the tricep kick-back
bend your elbow so your upper arm is parallel to the floor, your forearm is perpendicular to it, and your palm faces in. And make sure to keep your elbow close to your side.

3. Hammer curls: This is a modification of the traditional bicep curl. To perform a hammer curl, hold the dumbbell just as you would a hammer. While holding the upper arm stationary, curl the weight forward while contracting the biceps as you breathe out. Continue the movement until your biceps is fully contracted and the dumbbells are at your shoulder level. As the dumbbell reaches your shoulder level squeeze the biceps.

4. Dumbbell lying tricep extensions: This exercise is slightly more technical than the kick-back, but it's quite versatile. It can be done at home, at the gym, on the ground, on a bench, or even standing. While lying on your back hold one or two dumbbells (depending if you want to work one arm or both arms at the same time) directly in front of you. Your arms should be fully extended at a 90-degree angle from your torso and the floor. The palms should be facing in and the elbows should be tucked in. This is the starting position. As you breathe in and you keep the upper arms stationary with the elbows in, slowly lower the weight until the dumbbells are near your ears. While keeping your elbows in and your upper arms stationary, use the triceps to bring the weight back up to the starting position.

5. Push-ups: You may not love them, but we're all familiar with push-ups. Push-ups are an AMAZING exercise for strengthening arms. They work the entire arm (and several other muscles groups...push-ups are a win, win, win!). It's a basic exercise, but that doesn't mean you can breeze through it. Make sure that you maintain good form throughout the exercise. Whether you choose to do them from your feet or your knees, keep a straight back and lower your body gradually.

6. Tricep dips: This exercise is great for isolating the tricep muscle. If you're not at a gym with access to a dip station, then you can use a chair, bench, or even a coffee table. For the latter options, place your palms on the edge of the surface and gradually lower your body making sure you maintain a straight core throughout the exercise.

Putting it into action

Now, let's put this workout into action [do each exercise according to the provided set and rep explanation].

Standing dumbbell bicep curls:

4 sets

1st set: 10 reps; 2nd set: 10 reps; 3rd set: 8 reps; 4th set: 8 reps

Tricep kick-backs:

4 sets, 10 reps

1st set: 10 reps; 2nd set: 10 reps; 3rd set: 8 reps; 4th set: 8 reps

Hammer curls: 

4 sets

1st set: 10 reps; 2nd set: 10 reps; 3rd set: 8 reps; 4th set: 8 reps

Dumbbell lying tricep extensions:

4 sets

1st set: 12 reps; 2nd set: 12 reps; 3rd set: 10 reps; 4th set: 10 reps


4 sets

12 reps each set:

Tricep dips:

4 sets

20 reps each set

With these 6 steps to getting toned arms for women you can say goodbye to flapping, sagging, or drooping. From now on, display your guns proudly!