You don’t have to lift heavy weights to enjoy the benefits of strength training. In addition to supplementing your cardio routine, weight lifting can contribute to increased bone density, which is especially important for women as they age. That’s not to mention the benefits of leaner, more toned muscles.
Here, we’re targeting the biceps, but your surrounding arm muscles will enjoy the benefits of these exercises too, including the shoulders, forearms, triceps and pectorals.
Remember: If it becomes difficult to maintain proper form, go down in weight or modify your movements, rather than stopping your workout completely.
By the start of the third cycle, your muscles should feel fatigued.
- Three Cycles, 12 Reps Each
- Beginners: 5 or 8 pound dumbbells; Intermediate: 10 or 12 pound dumbbells
- Weight bench or a chair
- Exercise mat
1. BICEPS CURLS
How To: Sit at the edge of a workout bench or stand with your feet hips-width apart with knees slightly bent. Pull your shoulders up, back and down. Extend your arms by your sides with palms facing forward. Keeping your elbows in line with your torso, curl the weights up to your shoulders. Squeeze your biceps at the top of the curl. Use control to straighten your arms back to the start.
2. HAMMER CURLS
How To: Hold the weights parallel at your sides, with palms facing inward. Maintain the same form as with regular biceps curl — with elbows pulled into your sides, curl the weights up to your shoulders, then extend arms long, slowly and with control.
3. REVERSE CURLS
How To: Hold the weights parallel at your sides, with palms facing backward. Maintain the same form as with regular biceps curl — with elbows pulled into your sides, curl the weights up to your shoulders, then extend arms back down to your side slowly and with control.
4. MODIFIED PUSHUPS
How To: Start in high plank position. Drop your knees. Ideally, they should be about a foot behind your hips. Lift your feet and cross your ankles. Keeping your shoulders directly over your wrists, lower halfway to the mat. Pull your elbows into your sides, making “L” shapes out of your arms. Press your hands flat and push back up to the start.
As you build strength, increase the intensity of this exercise by working from high-plank position.
5. PLANK UP & DOWNS
Start in high plank position. Lower your right arm to low plank, followed by your left arm. Pause. Straighten your left arm, followed by your right arm. Repeat, starting by lowering your left arm. Continue to switch your lead arm. Keep your hips steady, doing your best not to rock back and forth. Engage your core and breathe!
To modify, drop your knees to the mat approximately 12 inches behind your hips.
These five exercises may be simple, but can effectively build strength and lead to toned, defined arms