Women don’t have near the level of testosterone in their body to actually bulk like a man would. In fact, a woman has 15-20 times less the amount of testosterone than a man. Testosterone aids in building muscle, so this alone is a huge difference.
Men and women also possess differences in their muscle composition. Men tend to have more dense muscle fiber than women do. Women generally have more slow-twitch muscle fibers in their body, which are not as good for generating force.
Women also have a higher body fat percentage than men. This means that a greater proportion of a women’s body will contain fat, whereas a man has the ability to have less fat and more muscle as a percentage of overall body weight and composition.
Want to know more about how to calculate body fat percentage? Take a look at this post on how you can calculate your own body fat percentage.
No, lifting weights–whether they are heavy or not–will not make a woman bulk up. Yes, there are women body builders who are bulky, but generally, almost all women who decide to use weight training will not add bulk like a man would.
This is an arm workout for women, and the main focus will be on the arms, however it’s important to branch out a little to the shoulders and a few of the back muscles.The goal is to introduce some upper body tone, and to encourage overall balance in the upper body, while starting with the arms and branching out a little for an effective upper body workout.Here are the main muscles groups for each upper body area:
The bicep is actually made up of two muscles, i.e. “bi”cep. Anyway, two muscles called the long head and the short head. The short head is closest to the inner part of the arm, the long head is located on the outer part of your arm.
Different exercise movements will work either muscle and we are going to incorporate both into our routine.
As you could guess after reading the above, the triceps is made up of three muscles. They actually start at the shoulder blade and stretch across the backside of your upper arm.
The deltoid is a muscle located in the front part of the shoulder and the top of the arm. It will connect to your arm itself and the clavicle (collar bone).
It’s important to also exercise this shoulder muscle, not only for aesthetic purposes, but also because you use the shoulder or deltoid for pushing, pulling or lifting overhead. Having toned and lean shoulders can even make your waist look slimmer.
Normally simply called the “traps”. This muscle is located on the back of the shoulders and neck area and extend down to the back and through to where the deltoid muscle is located. Strengthening the traps will also help with posture and safeguard against injury due to muscle weakness.
You might be asking yourself why we are talking about back muscles for an arm workout, but remember, we want to build a balanced upper body, starting with the arms and working outward.
The Latissimus Dorsi is one of the largest muscles in the back, so it also has a part to play in movements of the arms and upper body strength. The Latissimus is located in the middle back, on either side of the spine.
How Heavy to Lift? We want lean muscle definition. So light weight, high reps, right? Wrong.We actually need to do the exact opposite. Heavier weight and less reps. We already established that you will not bulk up.Progressive overload applies as much to women as it does for men, and if you want to change your body, it’s a must. Don’t know what progressive overload is? Stop now, and go read this post about why progressive overload is so important. Really.As a rule of thumb, you should choose a weight that is not too heavy, but not too light. A weight that after a 5 to 6 rep set, those last two reps are challenging. You should still be able to finish the set though.
The Arm Workout For Women: Things to Know
What Is a Drop Set?
In order to get the most out of your workout, there are some variations and other ways to make each session more challenging and effective. Drop sets are a lifting hack to getting that extra bit out of each working set.
A drop set is when after the last rep in the set is complete, you will drop the weight to about half of what you were just using, and then immediately continue the rep until failure.
For instance, say you were doing bicep curls with 25 pound dumbbells, 4 sets of 6 reps each. After the very last set, immediately drop the 25 lb. dumbbell and pick up the 15 lb. dumbbell and do as many bicep curls as you can. This is a great way to end the set.
What is a Superset?
A superset is when you quickly move from one exercise to the next without taking a rest in between. A superset can be done using either same muscle groups, like biceps and the back, or opposing muscle groups like the triceps and the biceps.
This is another good strategy to keep your heart rate up, muscles firing and the calories burning for longer.
Equipment For an Arm Workout For Women at Home
All of these exercises are meant to be done with dumbbells. Guys, if you are looking for a home workout, and you need dumbbells, don’t buy a bunch of random weights. Also, don’t go and buy one set of 15 lbs dumbbells set at the store.
Check out this adjustable dumbbell set. I’ve used them at home and they are easy to use, great to store away and very compact.
If you want a more traditional set, here is a dumbbell set that has individual free weights that you can scoop up on Amazon too:
1. Tricep Kickback
2. Tricep dips
3. Overhead Triceps Extension
4. Biceps Curl
5. Zottman Curl
6. Hammer Curl
7. Dumbbell Shoulder Press
8. Renegade Row
9. Dumbbell Lateral to Front Raise
10. Upright Row
How Often Should You Train Arms?
You might be asking yourself, how often you should be training your arms and upper body. For the most bang for the buck, twice a week should be the minimum to really see the results you’re looking for.
Don’t be afraid to go 3-4 times a week. It depends on what your goals are and how often you can make it to the gym or squeeze in a session. Switch up the workout, or split the 10 exercises over several sessions. Either way, you are sure to make gains and look great!