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Arm Workouts for Women

4 Moves For Strong Biceps

If stunning arms are your goal, this routine’s got you covered.

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Remember the days when there were no cell phones, no computers, no right-at-your-fingertips technology? (It’s hard to recall, we know.) Craving a simpler time doesn’t just apply to your work and home life: when it comes to training your biceps, reintroducing yourself to basic pieces of equipment, like free weights, can be just as refreshing — and rewarding.

“Don’t overthink biceps training,” says Alwyn Cosgrove, CSCS, owner of Results Fitness in Santa Clarita, California. “The biceps essentially supinate the forearm and bend the elbow, so any resistance applied to that movement chain will work the biceps.” Machines are great, but truthfully, all you really need is a set of dumbbells and a little creativity to get a great biceps workout anytime, anywhere.

Try the workout on the next page, or take two of these unique moves and incorporate them into your regular arm routine to give your training a fresh perspective. Do this workout up to two times per week for four weeks (see your sample full-body workout schedule on page 102), and you’ll have arms that will rival Michelle Obama’s — or, better yet, an Oxygen cover girl’s — in less than 30 days.

Exercise Sets Reps (per side)
Dumbbell Drag Curl 3 8–10
Squatting Concentration Curl 3 10–12 (each arm)
Leaning Ball Curl 3 8–10
V-Curl 3 12–15

Dumbbell Drag Curl


Target Muscles: biceps brachii

Set Up: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand. Draw your shoulder blades back and tighten your abs.

Action: Bend your elbows and direct them rearward to curl the weights, dragging them along the sides of your body until they reach the bottom of your ribcage; at the end of the motion, your elbows should point directly behind you. Pause a moment at peak contraction before slowly lowering back to the start.

Tip: You won’t be able to lift the weights very high, so don’t force it.

Squatting Concentration Curl


Target Muscles: brachialis, biceps brachii, gluteus maximus, quadriceps

Set Up: Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell in your right hand. Come into a low squat, and place the back of your right arm against the inside of your right leg, with your palm turned inward.

Action: Curl the weight towards your shoulder in a smooth arc, coming as high as you can and squeezing your biceps at the top. Slowly lower to the start and repeat. When your set is through, switch sides and repeat.

Tip: Don’t dip the shoulder of your working arm to help lift the weight; this calls on more of your delts.

Leaning Ball Curl


Target Muscles: biceps brachii

Set Up: Sit on a stability ball. Walk your feet forward, rolling the ball along your back, until your torso is at a 45-degree angle to the floor. Keep your core tight and supportive, and your arms extended towards the floor.

Action: Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows to curl the weight towards your shoulders. Contract your biceps hard, then slowly lower to the starting position and repeat.

Tip: If the ball slides, put it against a wall, or stand and lean your upper back against a wall instead.



Target Muscles: biceps brachii

Set Up: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, and hold a set of dumbbells at your sides, palms facing forward.

Action: Keeping your upper arms steady, curl the weights out and up in an arc, until they reach the sides of your shoulders. Pause, squeeze your muscles, then slowly return to the start.

Tip: contract your biceps at the top of each rep before lowering. Your elbows will flare out, but try to keep them tight to your sides.

Your Workout Schedule

Week 1

  • Monday: Legs, abs
  • Tuesday: Back, biceps
  • Wednesday: Off
  • Thursday: Chest, delts, triceps
  • Friday: Legs, Abs
  • Saturday: Off
  • Sunday: Back, biceps

Week 2

  • Monday: Chest, delts, triceps
  • Tuesday: Off
  • Wednesday: Legs, abs
  • Thursday: Back, biceps
  • Friday: Off
  • Saturday: Chest, delts, triceps
  • Sunday: Off

* Repeat once for a four-week program. Remember to add cardiovascular training three to four times per week, and always engage in active rest — that is, a less-intense activity, such as walking — on your “off” days.