Get that Wonder Woman look with these must-do moves for perfect, toned arms!
Too many women avoid working their arms for fear of becoming bulky. Rest assured, a little bit of arm muscle won’t make you look like a body builder. Instead, it’ll provide a smoother, more defined shape (think Wonder Woman!), and will build muscle mass that helps you stay lean.
Even if your main goal isn’t bulking up, incorporating weights in your arm workout might be in your best interest.
First, weights are the most effective way to grow the muscle. Bigger muscles means your body burns more calories, which in turn helps keep you looking svelte. If you’re after a total-body transformation, muscle is necessary.
Second, upper body strength is functional in every-day life for both men and women. Cleaning and decorating a house requires a lot of upper body strength. Even cooking! If you’ve ever whipped egg whites by hand, then you know what I mean.
Finally, definition along your arm muscles makes you look incredibly fit. Ballerinas, yoga instructors, and gymnasts all have great muscle definition in their arms. It’s important to build well-balanced strength throughout the body, not just the legs and abs.
So get those sexy, powerful arms with these 10 essential upper body exercises!
1. Bicep Curls
The bicep curl is the quintessential arm exercise. You’ve probably seen people do it at the gym a thousand times. Some people use dumbbells or the EZ barbell, while others opt for machines and cable pulleys. The bicep curl is everywhere, and for good reason.
The bicep curl isolates the large muscle that runs along your upper arm. Bicep definition is key to creating that sleek yet strong Wonder Woman look. When the bicep becomes noticeable, you immediately look fit and fabulous!
We suggest beginners do bicep curls using dumbbells. Focus on maintaining proper form. Keep your upper arm and elbow close to the body and picture the smooth “curl-up” motion.
What to Do: 3 sets of 8-10 reps each, starting with 8 lb. dumbbells and working your way up.
2. Bench Presses
The bench press is perhaps one of the most common weightlifting moves out there. There’s a reason for that!
The truth is that the bench press is one of the most effective moves for working your chest and even your core. Incorporating bench presses will help you achieve more functional, evenly distributed strength.
You can do this move using either barbells or dumbbells. Beginners might be better off with dumbbells since they’re easier to manage and come in lower weights. If you’re using a barbell, always remember to have a spotter for heaver weight!
What to Do: 3 sets of 8-10 reps, starting with 10 lb. dumbbells and working your way up.
3. Shoulder Presses
The shoulders are an important part of looking toned and this simple press is the best way to target them.
There are multiple ways to perform a shoulder press. Sit or stand, depending on what feels most comfortable for you. If you choose to sit, make sure the back of the bench is close to (but not exactly at) 90-degrees.
What to Do: 3 sets of 8-10 reps each, starting with 5 lb. dumbbells and working your way up.
4. Overhead Tricep Extensions
Along with the bicep, the tricep lines your upper arm. This duo of muscle is the one that adds muscular definition so that you look toned and strong. For the most powerful arms, you’ll want to build them both evenly, which means making tricep exercises a part of your regular routine.
Overhead tricep extensions are best done with a single dumbbell. You’ll see some people get crazy with the cable pulleys, but we don’t recommend this for beginners.
If you want to make the exercise harder, try doing one arm at the time. You might have to grab a lower weight for this.
What to Do: 3 sets of 8-10 reps each, starting with an 8 lb. dumbbell and working your way up.