The Best Arm-Strengthening Exercises for Women
Sculpting sleek, toned, and strong arms isn't just about looking awesome at the beach. Having a strong set of arms makes it much easier to complete daily tasks and chores, like carrying groceries, vacuuming, playing with your kids, and even picking up the laundry basket. Greater arm strength will also boost your workout performance, help you maintain a healthy weight, and improve your heart health, PureGym explains. What's not to love about all of that? To make your next gym session a walk in the park, we're here with the best arm-strengthening exercises for women. Getting stronger is in your near future!
We spoke with Mike Bohl, MD, MPH, ALM—a member of our Medical Expert Board and a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach who has helped develop the Body Program at Ro, who shares with us the best arm-strengthening exercises for women. "There are a lot of muscles that move the arms around—the pecs help push the arms in front of you, the lats help pull the arms down, and the rotator cuff muscles help the arms move in many different directions around the shoulder joint," Dr. Bohl explains. But when you're specifically trying to strengthen your arms, Dr. Bohl offers just a few moves to seamlessly squeeze into your day.
Read on to learn the five best arm-strengthening exercises for women, and next, don't miss the 7 Best Exercises for Women to Gain Muscle Without Equipment.
1. Bicep Curls
"Bicep curls target the biceps, one of the most prominent muscles in the arm," Dr. Bohl explains. "The biceps are important for flexing the arm (bending the elbow) and are necessary for many motions, including lifting things."
To perform bicep curls, the Mayo Clinic instructs you to have a dumbbell in one hand, positioning that palm toward the ceiling. Bend your elbow to gradually "curl" the dumbbell upward. Your elbow should remain close to your torso during this motion. Gradually lower the dumbbell down to the position you started in. (Keep in mind that you can also perform dumbbell curls by doing both arms at the same time.)
2. Hammer Curls
"Hammer curls look similar to biceps curls, except instead of curling the arms with the palms facing upward, you curl the arms with the palms facing inward toward each other," Dr. Bohl explains.
This exercise is stellar at strengthening your biceps, along with two other muscles—the brachialis (another arm muscle) and the brachioradialis (a forearm muscle).
3. Tricep Dips
Tricep dips activate your triceps and your pec muscles. You can perform this exercise with bars or the edge of a workout bench, chair, or another stable surface. If you're using dip bars, take hold of them using an inward grip, Muscle & Fitness explains. Jump off the ground so that you're holding yourself up with the bars. Don't lean forward, and make sure your body remains straight. Gradually descend until your elbows reach the same height as your shoulders. Then, press yourself back up.
4. Forearm Squeezes
Forearm squeezes are great for strengthening your fingers and your wrist. This exercise can be performed with either a stress ball or a hand grip device, Dr. Bohl explains. You'll lengthen and then close your fingers around the object to squeeze it.
5. Delt Fly
"The delt fly strengthens the delts, which are the shoulder muscles," Dr. Bohl says. "To do them, hold small weights in your hands and raise your arms out to the side."
MasterClass instructs you to choose a weight you're able to comfortably manage and one that helps you maintain good form throughout the exercise. Position your feet shoulder-width distance apart, bend both knees just a bit, and hold the dumbells by your sides. Press your hips back, and keep your spine neutral. Then, bring both arms up until your upper arms form a straight line with your back. Remain at the top of the motion for a moment before lowering the weights back down.