Best Arm Toning Exercises for Women

Best Arm Toning Exercises for Women

woman performing an arm exerciseWhen it comes to arm ‘toning’ exercises for women, it should be first understood that toning refers to increasing muscle.  You see, when you increase muscle or lean body composition the result is more toned muscles!

Before you start to think that by putting on muscle by lifting weights is going to develop huge bulging biceps like some of the guys in the gym, I promise you, it won’t happen!  First off, lean muscle is highly desirable, as it increases metabolism, builds strength and of course can get you those toned arms you are after.  What’s more, no matter how hard you lift, you do not have the capacity or the biochemical make-up to get huge arms, so don’t let anyone dissuade you from lifting!

Here are 5 exercises to add to your current workout routine or perform as an arm workout on their own.

Best Arm Toning Exercises for Women

1.) Biceps Curls

Perform this exercise using both arms at the same time; alternate or even perform standing or seated. There are also numerous variations to this exercise such as supinating biceps curls as demonstrated via the video on the right. To carry out the standing version, hold two dumbbells on either side of your body, palms facing inward, arms straight with a slight bend in your elbow.  As you begin to lift your arm, keep your elbows in tight, raise the dumbbell and rotate your arm until it is vertical, with your palm facing your shoulder, lower to the starting position and repeat with the other arm.

2.) Chin-Ups / Pull-Ups

This exercise is not just for toning your arms, but also recruits your back muscles too!  If you do not feel you have the strength to perform this exercise on your own, you have the option of performing it using an assisted chin-up machine, or with the aid of a partner, spotting you.  To execute simply use an overhead bar, grip the bar about shoulder width apart, pull yourself up to the bar, and lower yourself back down slowly.

3.) Triceps Extensions

Since the triceps is an area women hold fat on, stick to exercises that lengthen, not exercises that increase bulk.  The extension movement can be performed using a variety of attachments using a cable machine, using dumbbells or even resistance bands such as those used in the demonstration video to the right.  To complete this exercise using the rope attachment on the cable machine, grab both ends of the rope, keep your elbows in tight at your sides and push down until your arms are fully extended without locking your elbows.  Slowly raise the weight back up keeping your elbows in tight, until your arms are parallel with the floor.

4.) Dips

A great compound movement, because it incorporates not just your triceps but also the muscles in the chest and shoulders.  This exercise can be performed using a bench, platform, or assisted dip machine.  To perform this exercise using a bench, simply place your hands about shoulder width apart on the edge of a bench.  Place your legs directly in front of you, either straight, bent or elevate by placing onto another bench.  Then lower your arms, until your elbow is at 90 degrees.  Push back up to straighten arms and flex triceps.

5.) Reverse Curls

This is a great exercise to add to your repertoire. Reverse curls work your brachialis and your forearm extensors at the same time, giving your forearms a sleek and defined look while adding a little boost to your biceps. This exercise can be done with a barbell, dumbbells, or a cable machine. For women seeking to tone, this move is best executed with two lightweight dumbbells. Grasp the dumbbells as if you were going to do a regular bicep curl, but with your hands turned upside down. Lift the dumbbells toward your shoulders and then lower them back down.

Final Thoughts

If you utilize the right exercises and the right sets and reps, you will get a perfect pair of tank top arms worth showing off!  Stick to 4 sets and in the 12 to 15 rep range for muscle endurance, guaranteed to build and tone your arms.

Author Profile: Lauren Jacobsen

Author's Website Lauren is a personal trainer with over 15 years of experience in health and fitness. She holds a degree in Biochemistry, is a part-time business woman, marketer, writer, coach, and figure competitor, with a passion for fashion, travel, and shopping!

Disclaimer: The views of the author are his or her own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Ask The Trainer.

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