How to Get Stronger Arms: A Step-by-Step Guide

Hustle for the muscle.

When I first meet a new client, I like to go over things like exercise history, diet, and goals. The typical answer that I receive when I ask about goals is, “I want to build my booty,” or “I’d like to slim my waist.” Eventually, many of my clients also get to the part about not loving their arms and wanting to slim them down or tone them up.

Through my experience, I’ve noticed it’s fairly uncommon for a woman to mention the goal of becoming stronger. While I have heard it a few times, I can’t help but wonder why I don’t hear it more often. The truth is, becoming stronger actually means that you’re toning and building muscle. We’ve covered booty building and waist slimming in the past. Today, we’re going to show you how to get stronger arms in this step-by-step guide.

1. Increase Training Volume

What is training volume? Training volume is how many sets of an exercise that you will complete, the number of reps that you will perform, and how often you perform that exercise (1-2-3 days per week). Increasing your training volume will help you to build muscle and become stronger.

A general rule of thumb for strength training exercise is to follow the 5 X 5 rule. What does this mean? This means that you complete 5 sets of 5 reps (25 total) at 80-90% intensity of your 1-rep max. A 1-rep max is the maximum weight that you can properly lift if you are only lifting the weight one time. For example, let’s say that you can squat 95 pounds for your 1-rep max. 80% of this would be 76 pounds. 90% would be approximately 85 pounds. You would want to lift somewhere between 76 and 85 pounds for 5 sets of 5.

I know that this doesn’t seem like enough, but trust me, when you’re lifting heavy weight (80-90% intensity) 25 total reps is a challenge. Remember, if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. Finding your 1-rep max can take a little bit of time. That’s okay. Your first priority should be making sure you get your form down perfectly. Training a muscle group 1 to 3 times per week is perfectly acceptable. Rest and recovery is also important, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

2. Switch It Up

A common misconception when it comes to strengthening your arms is that you only need to do isolation exercises (bicep curls/tricep extensions). This is not true. Your arms, like all of the other parts of your body are extremely adaptable. Your body will adapt to movement patterns at a certain weight. It’s imperative that you switch it up!

Exercises like bench press, shoulder press, rows, and chin-ups will primarily work your chest, shoulders, and back. However, they will also train your biceps, triceps, and forearms. Don’t be afraid to experiment! Think outside the box. Switching it up will allow you to become stronger, more toned, and keep your body from adapting.

3. Lift Heavy

Don’t be afraid to lift heavy weight, ladies! This is one of the biggest mistakes that you can make. As I said before, your main priority must be to learn proper form. Once you have that down, however, don’t hesitate to challenge yourself. Your muscles must undergo routine tension in order to grow and strengthen. Lifting light weight will only build endurance, NOT strength.

On a side note, you need not be concerned with “getting bulky.” This will not and CANNOT happen naturally. As women, we don’t produce enough testosterone to allow us to build excessive muscle mass. You can, however, build a shapely, feminine, athletic body.

4. Eat More Protein

Of course, when you begin following a strength training regimen you must also make sure that you’re giving your body the proper nutrients that it needs. Most ladies do not get enough protein. When you’re trying to build muscle and get stronger, you should aim for around 1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight. For instance, if you weigh 140 pounds you should be getting 140 grams of protein per day.

One thing that I always tell my clients is to make sure that you get your protein from a lean, real source, any chance that you get. What I mean by this is that it is not optimal to live off of protein bars, shakes, and other supplements. Eat real chicken, beef, fish, beans, eggs, etc. Real food offers higher amounts of protein and a denser nutritional value compared to supplements. Protein supplements are great in a pinch or if you’re going to fall short for the day. I also want you to be mindful and start reading labels. There are so many products out there that will say “High-Protein” when in reality, the ratio of protein to carbs and fat is not good. Stick to clean, real foods!

My Recommendation: Food Scale with Nutritional Value – This scale will allow you to make sure you’re getting the right amount of protein (as well as carbs and fats).

5. Get Some Rest

This is by far the most overlooked tip to getting stronger. No one thinks of sleeping when speaking about building muscle. Sleep is the body’s recovery time. This is when the majority of real growth occurs. Not to mention, when you get a good night’s sleep you’ll have a way better workout the following the day! All-aboard the gains train!

This is How to Get Stronger Arms

Following these 5 simple steps will allow you to build beautiful, strong arms! It shouldn’t be complicated but it should be challenging. If it’s too easy, you won’t see any real progress. If you put your mind to it, work hard, and really follow through, you’ll earn arms that you can be proud of!

Try these Best Moves for Toned and Jiggle-Free Arms. It’s a great workout!

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Erin Miller

Erin is an NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist. She is also a Performance Nutrition Coach, certified through the Clean Health Fitness Institute. Some of Erin’s favorite hobbies include hiking, kayaking, and hanging out at the beach, although weight lifting is her greatest passion. She says, “Weight training is one of the most empowering things a person can do. Not just seeing, but feeling yourself transform… There’s just nothing else like it.”

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