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How to Tone Your Arms Without Bulging Out

If you ask many ladies hitting the gym why they stay away from the weights, the invariable answer will be, “I fear my biceps will bulge out and I will start looking like a female bodybuilder!” This is an unfounded fear. There are arm workouts for women which can keep them toned while staying sexy. There are fundamental differences in the physical makeup of women and men which prevents women from developing the bulging muscles seen in men working with weights.

Men vs. women muscle

Men have more skeletal muscle mass than women. These are muscles attached to the bone e.g. biceps and triceps. This is why a man and woman of the same size will have different strength. There is also a difference in the muscle make up in the two genders. Women have more slow-twitch muscle mass than men. This type of muscle fiber is ideal for endurance but not power. This is why women are able to endure cardio sessions and long tennis plays.

Is there a need for women to workout arms?

Women prefer cardio workouts in weight training. But building strength is as important as staying cardio fit. This is because maintaining muscle mass plays a big part in keeping a healthy weight. Muscles burn more calories than fat.  Women who build muscle mass will find it easier to keep optimal weight. Strength training also prevents strain and injury when sudden power is exerted e.g. when you lift something that is heavier than expected.

Which arm workouts for women are ideal for developing and keeping the arms toned?

  1. Push-ups

This is a good starting point because you work with your body weight. Pushups are compound exercises which means that you will be exercising several groups of muscles simultaneously; biceps, triceps, shoulders and the core all benefit from pushups.

  • Lie flat on the ground with your palms at shoulder width.
  • Lift yourself up while imagining your body is a straight plank
  • Lower to the ground
  1. Overhead extensions with weights

This exercise places a greater strain on the triceps;

  • Hold a slightly heavier dumbbell with both hands vertically above your head
  • Bend your arms backward at the elbow so that the dumbbell touches the lower part of your neck
  • Raise the dumbbell to a vertical position once more
  • Do 8-12 reps per set
  1. Biceps curl

This is a classic strength training exercise;

  • Hold a dumbbell with your palms facing upwards
  • Lift the dumbbell bending the arm at the elbow to pull the weight towards your shoulder
  • Lower your arm to a 90 degrees angle
  • Do 8-12 reps per set
  1. Cross jabs with dumbbells

This is another compound exercise that works out the whole arm including the shoulder;

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand at chest level. Ideally, the dumbbell should be in a vertical profile
  • Throw a cross jab with each hand extending the left dumbbell until it is in line with your right shoulder, bring it back in.
  • Do the same with the right to make a rep

Correct and well thought out arm workouts for women can make a great difference in upper body appearance and strength. You stay toned without ungainly bulges.