Arm Workout For Women: Adding Shape And Tone

Arm workouts for women

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This arm workout for women is specifically designed to add tone to your arms and emphasize the shape of your body. Look even better in sleeveless.

A major mistake many women make in the gym is lifting too light.


Putting on muscle is a not an easy process and women do not produce nearly enough hormones, namely testosterone, to put on size so quickly. Besides, if your diet is on point then there is no need to worry about getting “too big”.

The arms, i.e. the biceps and triceps, are a relatively small muscle group. This means that you don’t really receive much of a metabolic benefit when training them (you do not burn many calories).


The biceps are worked when you train your back and the triceps are worked when you train your chest.

So you don’t have to spend too much time training your arms.

Given that your chest and back workouts are on point, you do not need to spend more than 45 minutes of isolation work on your arms per week to keep them looking great.

The Two Basic Movements: Curls and Extensions

Fitness Model Arms Workout For Women

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Your biceps are worked with the flexion of your elbow and your triceps are worked with the extension of your elbow.

Most bicep and tricep exercises revolve around the curl and the extension. These movements work the muscles by contracting them through their natural range of motion.

There are many variations of curling and extension movements but the basic principles of the flexion and extension of the elbow remain the same.

Performing any type of exercise recruits muscle fibers. The heavier you go, the more muscle fibers you recruit. Putting your muscles through a challenging workout is what gets them to grow, i.e. add tone.

Too many women curl with dumbbells that are too light. If a workout is not challenging your muscles will not grow, i.e. you will not add tone.

The Workout

This workout is suitable for women who are just starting out or need a more effective way to target their arms. It was put together by fitness model Dayna Tappan. You may have to go through some trial and error in order to pick the weight that works for you. Keep track of your workouts, i.e. sets, reps, and weights, as to measure your progress overtime.

Alternate Incline Dumbbell Curls: 4 sets of 12 reps

Triceps Push Down – 4 sets of 12 reps

21’s – 4 sets of 21

Push-Ups – 4 sets of 12 reps 

Burnout Sets:

Barbell Curl – 100 reps 

Cable Overhead Tricep Extension – 100 reps

Rest: 45 seconds – 1 minute in between sets

Exercise #1: Alternate Incline Dumbbell Curls – 4 sets of 12 reps

You don’t really need a heavy weight to feel the contraction from Incline Dumbbell Curls. Adjust the incline of the bench to a degree where you feel a stretch in the bicep as your arms extend slightly behind the body. Maintain the upper arm in a fixed position and proceed to move only your forearms. The great thing about Incline Dumbbell Curls is that they maintain the contraction all the way through the movement. Standard curls ease the stress of gravity at the upper portion of the movement. A video demonstration of the movement will better help you understand the correct technique.

Exercise #2: Triceps Push Down – 4 sets of 12 reps

Tricep Push Downs can be done with a straight bar, V-bar, or a rope extension. Fully extend your forearms at the bottom portion and really feel the contraction in your triceps. Return to the starting position slowly. Focus on keeping your elbows steady and only move your forearms. Correct technique is essential for you to get the most out of this exercise.

Exercise #3: 21’s – 4 sets of 21 

21’s are basically 3 sets of 7, back-to-back. You go through the curling motion in 3 different variations: 7 partial reps from the bottom, 7 partial reps from the middle, and 7 complete reps. Performing 21’s can help strengthen your biceps at their weakest points. You will want to use a weight that is light so that you can followthrough with the complete 4 sets of 21 reps. You will feel an intense pump from these, so feel free to take some extra rest in between sets. You can do this exercise with a barbell or dumbbells

Exercise #4: Push-Ups – 4 sets of 12 reps 

You will want to do push-ups with your hands close together to bring emphasis on the triceps. Many of you will not be able to do 12 reps of push-ups with the standard form, so you can ease up the stress with different variations which make the movement a whole lot easier. I have attached a video tutorial that will demonstrate the different push-up variations. Choose to proceed with the one that you are most comfortable with. Overtime, as you build on your upper body strength, work your way towards attempting the more difficult variations.

Exercise #5: Barbell Curl – 100 reps 

The final two exercises are burnout sets. Try to complete the 100 reps in as few sets as possible. Burnout sets are meant to completely wear out your muscles after they are already tired. Feel free to drop the weight as you move through the 100 reps. You can use any type of barbell or EZ-bar. Completing the 100 reps will completely drain your biceps of any energy they had left. You will feel an extreme pump. If you find the burn out sets to be too much of a hassle, replace them with the standard 4 sets of 12.

Be sure to try them at the very least. They will increase your capacity for growth and have your arms feeling a very different type of way.

Exercise #6: Cable Overhead Tricep Extension – 100 reps 

The same thing applies as mentioned above: try to complete the 100 reps in as few sets as possible. Overhead Tricep Extensions are great for hitting the outer part of your tricep and will aid in the overall shaping of your arm. If you find the 100 reps to be too much of a hassle then just replace it with the standard 4 sets of 12 reps.

To Sum Up

Do this arm workout once a week for a total 8 weeks. Take before/after pictures and measurements to keep track of your progress. Once you compare the pictures you will be able to see a tangible form of your results.

Alternate Incline Dumbbell Curls: 4 sets of 12 reps

Triceps Push Down – 4 sets of 12 reps

21’s – 4 sets of 21

Push-Ups – 4 sets of 12 reps 

Burnout Sets:

Barbell Curl – 100 reps 

Cable Overhead Tricep Extension – 100 reps

This arm workout will be intense if you are just starting out and the first few weeks of it may not be very pleasant.

But one thing is for sure:

You will see results.

Most women don’t push themselves hard enough in the gym and expect to get a better body just by showing up. Showing up is not enough, you actually have to push yourself.

Do not worry about getting to big. Your body will only grow in response to how much you feed it and in proportion to your genetic figure.

If your diet is on point, you really don’t have much to worry about.

This arm workout for women will help you add the tone and shape to your arms that you never thought possible. Stick to it and reap the benefits of your hard work.

Get Motivated



  1. Tappan, Dayna. “Arms Workout For Women: A Girl’s Guide To Guns.” 23 Mar. 2015. Web. 1 Aug. 2015.

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