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June 25, 2021

Our Guide – Arm Exercises for Men and Women

When it comes to training the arms, men and women usually have different goals. Most guys want to get their biceps and triceps as huge as possible. For women, the goal is usually to produce an athletic, toned look to their upper arms, without appearing bulky. So, does that mean that men and women should be doing different exercises for their arms? In this article, we’ll discover the answer – and provide you with the best arm exercises for men and women.

Should Men and Women Train Arms Differently?

The simple answer to this question is no. Not only should men and women not do different exercises for their biceps, triceps and forearms, but they also shouldn’t follow different rep schemes. Traditionally, women have been told to use the pretty pink light weight dumbbells and concentrate on doing high reps in order to tone their arms. As well directed as that advice may have been, it is not going to get the results that most women want.

 

Any woman that I have ever met who has athletic, strong, sexy arms has got them through lifting what was to them heavy weight. The reason that these women didn’t develop a bulky look to their arms had a lot more to do with their lack of testosterone than the way they were training.

 

Even though our hormones are very different, the musculature of men and women is the same. Everything that a man needs to do to build his biceps, a woman also needs to do. The reason? The makeup of their biceps muscle is identical.

 

The bottom line here is that the following exercises are just as good for men as they are women.

Beginner Home Arm Workout with Bands

 

Here is a workout you can do with a simple resistance band.  Do 4 sets of each exercise, with 15 reps on each exercise.

Band Bicep Curls

Stand with feet shoulder width apart and a resistance banded looped under both feet. Hold the other end of the band in both hands with arms by your sides. Maintaining a neutral body position, curl your arms up to your shoulders to perform a biceps curl. Return to the start position. That is one rep.

Band Hammer Curls

Stand with a resistance band looped under your left foot. Hold the other end of the band in your left hand in a neutral grip (knuckles facing forward). Now curl the band up and across your chest to full bicep contraction. Lower to the start position. That is one rep.

Triceps Pushdown

Secure a resistance band to a secure upright at waist level. Hold the end of the band in your right hand and stand about four feet away from the upright, facing it. Bend at the waist to a 45 degree torso position. Begin with your elbow at your side and elbow bent. Now extend the lower arm back to full extension. Contract the tricep in the extended position. Return to the start position. Perform all reps on one side before repeating on the other side.

Home Intermediate Arm Workout with Bands

Perform 3 sets of 10-12 reps on each of the following exercises.

Rotating Bicep Curl

Stand with a resistance loop band under your feet and held in your hands in a palms up grip. Your feet should be shoulder width apart and your arms extended at your sides. Now curl your right arm up to shoulder level. Lower and then repeat with the left arm, alternating back and forth to complete your rep count.

Overhead Triceps Extension

Stand with feet shoulder width apart and a loop band under your heels. Hold the other end of the band in your hands close together. Now bring your arms up to extend them above your head. Bend your elbows and lower the band so it is behind your head. From this start position, extend your arms straight up to full extension. Lower and repeat, concentrating on keeping your elbows in at the sides of your head.

Door Curls

Attach a resistance band to the bottom of a door or other secure upright. Hold the other end of the band in your right hand in a palms up grip and stand about two feet in front of the upright, facing away from it. Curl the band up to shoulder level and then reverse to return to the start position.

Reverse Dips

Position yourself in front of a chair with your palms resting on the chair seat and feet on the ground about two feet in front of it. Your hands should be about six inches apart and your knees bent. Lower your body toward the floor by bending at the elbows, going down all the way. Push through the triceps to return to the start position.

Gym Beginner Arm Workout

Do 8 sets of each exercise, using the following rep scheme as you increase the resistance with every rep drop:

 

Set One: 30 reps

Set Two: 15 reps

Set Three: 10 reps

Set Four: 10 reps

Set Five: 8 reps

Set Six: 8 reps

Set Seven: 6 reps

Set Eight: 6 reps

Alternate Dumbbell Curls

Stand with a pair of dumbbells in your hands and arms at your sides. Your palms should be facing towards your body. Now supinate your left hand and curl the dumbbell up to your shoulder level. Be sure to keep your elbow in at your side as you come up. In the top position, squeeze the bicep as tightly as possible. Now reverse the motion to return to the start position.

 

Now, curl the right arm. Alternate back and forth to complete your rep count.

Tricep Pushdown

Stand in front of a high cable pulley machine with a rope or short bar handle set at mid chest level. Grab hold of the bar with an overhand grip and your thumbs about 5 inches apart. With your elbows pinned to your sides press the handle down to just short of full extension. Reverse the motion to return to the start position.

 

Make sure that you are isolating the triceps by keeping your torso in a stationary position. Don’t allow momentum to assist in this movement.

Reverse Curls

The reverse curl is an excellent forearm exercise. To perform it stand with a barbell held at arm’s length in front of your body with palms facing toward your body.  Your hands should be a little closer than shoulder width apart. Now, keeping your elbows in at your sides, bring your hands up to shoulder level. Lower and repeat.

Gym Intermediate Arm Workout

Here’s a super effective arm workout for experienced lifters. Use the same rep rate that we introduced in the first workout . . .

 

Set One: 30 reps

Set Two: 15 reps

Set Three: 10 reps

Set Four: 10 reps

Set Five: 8 reps

Set Six: 8 reps

Set Seven: 6 reps

Set Eight: 6 reps

 

Do the triceps dips on an assisted machine to allow you to get the higher reps and add resistance on your heaviest sets. When it comes to the close grip chin up hold, do 3 sets, with 30-45 second holds.

Alternate Cable Curl

Set a double pulley cable machine to its lowest pulley settings. Stand about two feet in front of the machine, facing away from it. Grab the handles and position yourself so that your hands are slightly behind the line of the body when they are at your sides. Now, curl the left arm up to the shoulder and squeeze tightly. Lower and repeat on the right arm.

Triceps Dips

Get into position on an assisted dip machine. Position your body so that it is at an angle of around 45 degrees to the floor. Perform a tricep dip by bending the elbows to bring your body down to the floor. From the bottom position, push through the triceps to return to the start position. Be sure not to pulse with your body to provide momentum.

Close Grip Chin Up Hold

Reach up to grab a pull up bar with your palms facing you and hands just six inches apart. Now pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar. Hold for as long as you can, aiming for 30-45 seconds.

Wrap Up

You now have the arm exercises for women and arm exercises for men you can do based on qualified experience. Let us know how you get on !

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Steve (Qualfied Personal Trainer and Nutritionist)


Steve Theunissen has qualified from the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) and is a certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist. He has over 30 years experience in fitness and nutrition and currently working with famous fitness professionals. He is currently living in New Zealand with is wife and daughter.

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