Little baby guns, pull ups, push ups and no more old lady bingo arms are some of the reasons why women should add some dedicated arm training into their training program.
so where is the best place to start, what rep ranges and exercises should you be doing and how can you get some super strong arms that are functionally strong and look epic when you flex and show off your guns!
when you are working on getting stronger you have to lift heavy and doing high reps to tone your arms is not the best way to get strong and quite possibly holding back your muscle gains as well.
To train the arms starting your session with heavy compound lifts that use the muscles of your arms with low reps and heavy weights will give your arms a good dose of functional stress and force your nervous system to recruit more muscle and over time become more efficient and lift heavier weights. Exercises like push ups or bench press, pull ups or rows and overhead pressing are the go to’s for developing upper body strength working in rep ranges of 6-8 at the start of a training block and progressing to 2-4 reps later in your training block has help our female personal training clients make good progress with their strength.
next you want to select a supplementary exercise to help improve your main compound lift using dumbbells and single arm work can be really helpful here and using rep ranges of 6-10 reps and a controlled tempo (how fast you move during the exercise) will still give you some good strength gains as well as some hypertrophy gains (muscle building/ toning) and help you to maintain balance in your body while reducing injuries and helping to boost your main lifts all while working your arms.
Next you want to get stuck into the isolated arm work, isolation work is great for really targeting muscles you want to develop and these exercises we use mostly hypertrophy rep ranges and time under tension (using tempo we can keep the muscle working for a longer time which helps to ask your muscles to grow) exercises like bicep curls, tricep extensions and all their variations work a treat here and we have found that when we have added it to our Personal training clients programs their pull ups, push ups and almost all their upper body work goes through the roof. Isolation work does create micro tears in your muscles which is why they get sore, this will ask your body to grow a bigger stronger muscle so that it can tolerate a higher work load, lift heavier objects and perform better the next time you ask it too, the other pay offs for this is your arms will look more toned and the it wont be long before all your friends are saying damn your arms look good!
When training the arms stick to these rules
Lift heavy and lift often the arms and upper body have less neural fatigue compared to lower body exercises so can recover faster training different variations of lifts like the bench press and pull ups 2-3 times a week can have massive effects from women’s strength training.
make sure you do your accessory work and stick to strict tempos – doing lots of high rep work is only effective if you are placing enough time under tension on the muscle focus on slow eccentrics (the lower part of the lift) and holds at the top of the lift to make the most of each rep.
While compound lifts hit the muscles of the arm some dedicated isolation work will make all the difference, whether your goal is better performance and strength, toned arms and fat loss or lower injuries in your chosen sport isolation work of the muscles will help with all of this aim for more reps with higher time under tension and concentrate on the muscle you are trying to isolate.
here is a sample of a program our female personal training clients might follow
Banded scap activation 10-15 reps
Quadrupped thoracic extensions 10 each side
Scapular push ups 10 slow and controlled
Half kneeling db arnold press 6-8 reps tempo 2,1,x,2
Close grip bench press 6-8 reps tempo 3,1,x,0 rest 60 seconds
Under hand chin up 6-8 reps tempo 2,1,x,2 rest 90 seconds
Seated dumbbell arnold press 6-8 reps tempo 2,1,x,0 rest 45 seconds
Single arm dumbbell row 6-8 reps each arm tempo 2,1,x,1 rest 60 seconds
accessory isolation work
Incline bench dumbbell curls 10-12 reps tempo 3,1,3,1 rest 45 seconds
Banded face pulls 10-12 reps tempo 3,1,3,1 rest 45 seconds
Tricep push downs 10-12 reps tempo 3,1,3,1 rest 45 seconds
Arm training is a great way for women to get stronger and feel empowered with their training there is nothing better than flexing the arms for an epic photo with a group of strong women and feeling proud of the hard work a set of strong and toned arms gives you!
At the evolved personal training & performance we are a female only gym that specialises in helping women get strong and reach their health and fitness goals in an environment without the usual big gym feel where women encourage and inspire each other to be the best version of themselves.
If you would like to know more about our training feel free to contact us or if you would like to try us out jump on our trial offer of 21 days unlimited pt for $21 more details on this link Click here.
happy training and enjoy your arm training
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