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Biceps Exercises For Women: 15 Moves To Grow Stronger, More Defined Arms

If you’re shying away from the sleeveless dress’ section in your wardrobe because you’re not confident about how your arms look, then it’s time to start working on them. The best way to get toned and defined arms is by regularly doing exercises that target the biceps. The biceps are a group of muscles located on the front of your upper arm. They’re made up of the biceps brachii, which is the large muscle that forms a “peak” when you flex your arm, and the brachialis, a smaller muscle located beneath the biceps brachii. While both men and women have biceps, women tend to have smaller biceps than men. This is due to both hormones and genetics. A common misconception is that bigger biceps makes them look masculine. However, this simply isn’t true. For one, women don’t have enough testosterone to build the same amount of muscle mass as men. And secondly, women tend to store fat in their arms, so toning and defining the muscles often improves their appearance. There are a number of different exercises that you can do to target your biceps. In this article, we’ll share 15 of the best biceps exercises for women.

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1. Bicep Curls

When people think of bicep exercises, bicep curls are often the first exercise that comes to mind. They’re a great way to target your biceps—they work  biceps brachii, brachialis, and brachioradialis muscles.

To do bicep curls:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms by your sides, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Keeping your elbows close to your sides, curl the weights up towards your shoulders. 
  3. Slowly lower the weights back to the starting position.

2. Hammer Curls

The hammer curl gets its name from the way you hold the dumbbells during the exercise, which resembles holding a hammer. This exercise targets your biceps, as well as your forearm muscles. It is a variation of the traditional bicep curl.

To do hammer curls:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms by your sides, holding a dumbbell in each hand. 
  2. Keeping your palms facing your thighs, curl the weights up towards your shoulders. Your upper arms should be still, and your elbows should be close to your sides.
  3. Slowly lower the weights back to the starting position.

3. Seated Alternating Dumbbell Curls

The seated alternating dumbbell curl is a variation of the traditional bicep curl. This exercise allows you to place more focus on each arm by working one at a time. The seated position also helps to stabilize your upper body, which can help you lift heavier weights.

See also
Grip Strength Workout For Maximal Hand And Forearm Strength

To do seated alternating dumbbell curls:

  1. Sit on a bench with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms by your sides, holding a dumbbell in each hand. 
  2. Keeping your back straight and your elbow stationary, curl the weight in your right hand up towards your shoulder. 
  3. Pause for a moment at the top of the curl, then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. 
  4. Repeat the exercise with your left arm.

Read More: Standing Bicep Stretch To Boost Arm Strength

bicep exercises for women

4. Standing Alternating Bicep Curls

The standing alternating bicep curl is a variation of the traditional bicep curl. This exercise allows you to place more focus on each arm by working one at a time. Doing it while standing also increases the challenge to your core muscles.

To do standing alternating bicep curls:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms by your sides, holding a dumbbell in each hand. 
  2. Keeping your back straight and elbow stationary, curl the weight in your right hand up towards your shoulder. 
  3. Pause for a moment at the top of the curl, then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. 
  4. Repeat the exercise with your left arm.

5. Supinated Bicep Curls

The word supinated means to turn your palm upwards. This exercise is similar to a traditional bicep curl, but it works the muscles in your arms and shoulders differently.

To do supinated bicep curls:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms by your sides, holding a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing your body 
  2. Exhale while flexing your elbows to bring your palms up to your shoulders. 
  3. As you bring your forearms up, rotate your palms to face the ceiling. This is the supinated position.
  4. Inhale as you slowly lower your arms back to the starting position.

6. Zottman Curls

The Zottman curl gets its name from the 19th-century German strongman George Zottman. It’s a combination of a bicep curl and a reverse grip curl. This exercise targets your biceps as well as your forearm muscles.

To do Zottman curls:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms by your sides, holding a dumbbell in each hand with a palms-up grip.
  2. Keeping your elbow stationary, curl the weights up towards your shoulders.
  3. At the top of the curl, rotate your wrists so that your palms face down. This is the reverse grip position.
  4. Slowly lower the weights back to the starting position.
See also
Standing Bicep Stretch To Boost Arm Strength

bicep exercises for women

7. Preacher Bicep Curls

The preacher bicep curl is an isolation exercise that targets the brachialis muscle only. This muscle is located on the inside of your upper arm, and it can make your arms look bigger when it’s developed. You’ll need a preacher curl bench or an incline bench to do this exercise.

To do preacher bicep curls:

  1. Sit on a preacher curl bench with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms by your sides, holding a dumbbell in each hand. 
  2. Rest your elbows on the padded armrests and allow your palms to face upwards. 
  3. Keeping your back straight, exhale as you curl the weights up towards your shoulders. 
  4. Pause for a moment at the top of the curl, then inhale as you slowly lower the weights back to the starting position.

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8. Cable Preacher Curls

This variation of the preacher curl targets your biceps with a constant tension, which can lead to greater muscle growth. You’ll need a cable machine and a preacher bench to perform this exercise.

To do preacher curls:

  1. Sit on a preacher bench with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms by your sides. 
  2. Attach a straight bar to the low pulley of the cable machine and grip it with an underhand grip. 
  3. Rest your elbows on the padded armrests and allow your palms to face upwards. 
  4. Keeping your back straight, exhale as you curl the bar up towards your shoulders. 
  5. Pause for a moment at the top of the curl, then inhale as you slowly lower the bar back to the starting position. 

9. Resistance Band Preacher Curls

If you don’t have access to a cable machine or preacher bench, you can still do preacher curls with a resistance band. This variation is a great way to work your biceps if you’re traveling or working out at home.

To do preacher curls with a resistance band:

  1. Sit on the floor with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms by your sides. 
  2. Wrap a resistance band around a sturdy post and grip it with an underhand grip. 
  3. Rest your elbows on your knees and allow your palms to face upwards. 
  4. Keeping your back straight, exhale as you curl the band up towards your shoulders. 
  5. Pause for a moment at the top of the curl, then inhale as you slowly lower the band back to the starting position.
See also
Good Chest And Arm Workout For Those Who Are Looking For A Challenge

10. Incline Bicep Curl

Performing the bicep curl on an incline bench puts extra pull on the brachii muscle (the two-headed muscle on the top of your arm). This exercise is great for targeting the upper part of your biceps.

To do incline bicep curls:

  1. Sit on an incline bench with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms by your sides, holding a dumbbell in each hand.  
  2. Rest your elbows on the padded armrests and allow your palms to face upwards. 
  3. Keeping your back straight, exhale as you curl the weights up towards your shoulders. 
  4. Pause for a moment at the top of the curl, then inhale as you slowly lower the weights back to the starting position.

Read More: Outer Bicep Workout To Pack Muscle On Your Biceps

biceps

11. Decline Bicep Curl

The decline bicep curl is the opposite of the incline bicep curl. This exercise targets the lower part of your biceps.

To do decline bicep curls:

  1. Lie on a 45-degree incline bench with your chest against the bench and your feet on the floor.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing your thighs. 
  3. Keeping your back flat against the bench, exhale as you curl the weights up towards your shoulders. 
  4. Pause for a moment at the top of the curl, then inhale as you slowly lower the weights back to the starting position.

12. Alternating Crossbody Concentration Curl

The alternating crossbody concentration curl is a great exercise for targeting your biceps. This movement also works your core muscles as you stabilize your body while performing the curl.

To do alternating crossbody concentration curls:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. 
  2. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand with your palm facing your thigh. 
  3. Starting with your right arm, curl the dumbbell across your chest towards your left shoulder. The goal is to draw an arching path with the dumbbell as you curl. 
  4. Pause for a moment at the top of the curl, then slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position. 
  5. Repeat with your left arm.

13. Bent Over Row

The bent over row gives you the most bang for your back as far as upper body exercises go. Not only does it work your lats, traps, and rear delts, but it also strengthens your biceps.

See also
How To Get Rid Of Arm Fat: Science-Backed Ways Of Blasting Away Flabby Arms And Bat Wings

To do a bent over row:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. 
  2. Hinge at the hips and lean forward until your torso is nearly parallel to the floor. 
  3. Allow your arms to hang straight down from your shoulders, holding a dumbbell in each hand. 
  4. Keeping your back flat, exhale as you row the weights up towards your chest. 
  5. Pause for a moment at the top of the row, then inhale as you lower the weights back to the starting position.

14. Biceps Curl To Overhead Press

Along with working your biceps, this exercise also works your shoulders and core muscles.

To do a biceps curl to overhead press:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. 
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing your thighs. 
  3. Curl the weights up towards your shoulders, then exhale as you press the weights overhead. 
  4. Pause for a moment at the top of the press, then inhale as you lower the weights back to the starting position.

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biceps

15. Boat-Pose Biceps Curl

Yoga lovers know the benefits of the boat pose: it strengthens your abs, back, and arms. This variation of the biceps curl also works your legs as you balance on your sit bones.

To do a boat-pose biceps curl:

  1. Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. 
  2. Lean back so that your torso and legs form a V-shape. 
  3. Extend your arms straight out in front of you, holding a dumbbell in each hand. 
  4. Keeping your shoulders down and your core engaged, exhale as you curl the weights up towards your chest. 
  5. Pause for a moment at the top of the curl, then inhale as you lower the weights back to the starting position.

Benefits Of Arm Workouts For Women

Aside from giving you strong, toned arms, working out your arms has a number of other benefits.

Improves Posture

Bad posture not only looks unattractive, but it can also lead to pain in the shoulders, neck, and back (2). Strong arm muscles help to keep the shoulders in their proper place, which in turn helps to improve posture.

Reduces Risk Of Injury

Working out your arms can help to prevent injuries, particularly in the shoulder and elbow joints. Strong arm muscles help to stabilize these joints, which reduces the risk of dislocation or strain.

See also
Dumbbell Arm Workout: Adding Some Weights Might Just Be The Game-Changer You Need!

Boosts Brain Power

Exercise has been shown to improve cognitive function and memory, and working out your arms is no exception (4). As part of a total-body workout routine, arm exercises can help to keep your mind sharp as you age.

Improves Coordination

Coordination is the ability to use your muscles together in a coordinated way. As you age, you may start to lose coordination and balance. However, regular arm workouts can help to improve coordination and reduce the risk of falls (3).

Increases Bone Density

Weight-bearing exercises like arm workouts help to increase bone density, which is important for preventing osteoporosis. Strong bones are also less likely to break or fracture if you fall (8).

biceps

Releases Endorphins

Exercise releases endorphins, which are hormones that have mood-boosting effects. So not only will working out your arms make you look and feel good, it can also improve your mood.

In addition to releasing endorphins, exercise can also help to reduce stress and anxiety (5). If you’re feeling stressed, a quick arm workout may be just what you need to relax and de-stress.

Improves Sleep

Exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality, and working out your arms is no exception (6). If you have trouble sleeping, a regular arm workout routine may help you sleep better and wake up feeling rested.

Increases Energy Levels

If you’re feeling tired, a quick arm workout can give you the energy boost you need to get through your day. Exercise increases blood flow and oxygen to the muscles, which helps to improve energy levels (1).

Reduces Risk Of Disease

Regular exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and other chronic diseases (7). By working out your arms you’re not only improving your physical health, but you’re also reducing your risk of developing a serious disease.

The Bottom Line

Biceps exercises for women are an important part of a well-rounded workout routine. Regular arm workouts can help improve posture, reduce the risk of injury, and boost brain power. They can also help increase bone density, release endorphins, and improve sleep.

If you’re looking to tone your arms and improve your overall health, start incorporating some of the exercises in this article in your routine.

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DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES:

  1. Does exercise really boost energy levels? (2021, harvard.edu) 
  2. Effective Assessments of a Short-Duration Poor Posture on Upper Limb Muscle Fatigue Before Physical Exercise (2020, nih.gov) 
  3. Effectiveness of coordination exercise in improving cognitive function in older adults: a prospective study (2011, nih.gov) 
  4. Effects of Physical Exercise on Cognitive Functioning and Wellbeing: Biological and Psychological Benefits (2018, nih.gov) 
  5. Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence (2006, nih.gov) 
  6. Interrelationship between Sleep and Exercise: A Systematic Review (2017, nih.gov) 
  7. The association between physical activity and chronic diseases in European adults (2018, nih.gov) 
  8. The Effectiveness of Physical Exercise on Bone Density in Osteoporotic Patients (2018, nih.gov)
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