Women with toned, muscular arms exude fitness. Strong arms help you function in everyday life and to look better in sleeveless shirts and dresses. Free weights, selectorized machines, cables, tubing and your own body weight may all be used to strengthen your arms. For every exercise, seek a weight that makes the last few repetitions of each exercise challenging, but doable with good form. Beginners should perform just one set of 12 to 15 repetitions of each exercise. As you progress and become stronger, work up to two or three sets of each exercise. Every few weeks, try to increase your weight to continue to challenge your muscles.
The triceps make up the back of the upper arm. The triceps pressdown utilizes a cable machine or a resistance tube. Position the cable or tube to hang vertically, and grip the handles of the cable or tube with your palms facing the floor. Space your hands about eight inches apart. Engage your abdominals and align your head and neck with your spine. Bring your upper arms alongside your rib cage and bend your elbows to make the forearms parallel to the floor. Straighten your elbows as you push down on the resistance handle, keeping your arms locked against the sides of your body. As you inhale, return your arms to the starting position. Throughout the exercise, keep your wrists from flexing or extending.
Seated Dumbbell Bicep Curl
The seated dumbbell bicep curl emphasizes the muscles at the inside of the upper arm. Use a workout bench with an upright back rest and sit with your back, head, shoulders and buttocks against the back. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing forward. Allow the arms to hang alongside your body. As you exhale, bend your elbows at the same time, and bring the dumbbells to your chest. Keep your back against the bench and your elbows next to your ribs. As you inhale, lower the dumbbells to the starting position. You might try sitting on a stability ball instead of a bench when performing the curl to increase the activation of the core.
Work the triceps from a different angle by using your own body weight and perform the triceps dip. Place your hands on the edge of a workout bench, a step or even a small, sturdy side table. Position the palm so the fingers face your buttocks. Engage your abdomen and keep your back straight as you support all your body weight on your arms. Slowly bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle while lowering your body toward the floor. Inhale and return to the start position.
About this Author
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.