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Arm Workouts for Women

Sculpt This, Not That: Triceps to Die For

These two workouts will get you great arms.

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No one is fond of “batwings” — that dreaded flab that appears almost overnight on the back of your upper arms. In addition to cleaning up your diet, you’ve got to do some good, old-fashioned weight training to build and shape the triceps muscles, which can help take the wiggle out of those wings.

The following three-move workouts accomplish two aims: Under Construction builds muscle on the backs of your arms to give you the shape you want. Do it in combination with another bodypart or as part of a total-body workout. And the 9-Minute EMOM trains muscular endurance and can be used as a finisher to just about any training session to incite development and change. Both are especially effective when combined with our “Sculpt This, Not That” advice. Survey says: You’ll soon be going sleeveless!

The Triceps to Die for Workouts

Under Construction 

Complete all sets and reps of one move before continuing to the next, resting as needed. 

Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Dip 4 15, 12, 10, 8
Two-Arm Dumbbell Skullcrusher 3 12, 10, 8
Super-Band Pressdown 3 10-15

9-Minute EMOM

Every minute on the minute, perform the indicated task. Rest any remaining time, then begin the next move at the top of the next minute. Complete three rounds.

Minute Exercise Reps
1 Two-Arm Dumbbell Skullcrusher 15
2 Super-Band Pressdown 15
3 Bench Dip 15

Bench Dip 

Sit on a flat bench, and place your hands on either side of your hips on the edge of the bench. Extend your legs in front of you, then straighten your arms and shift forward slightly so your glutes are just in front of the edge of the bench. Bend your elbows and slowly lower toward the floor, keeping your back close to the bench and your legs straight. When your elbows form 90-degree angles, extend your arms and press yourself back up to the start. 

Sculpt This, Not That: To maximize the involvement of your triceps, make sure your torso is perfectly vertical. If it is at an angle, your feet are too far out in front of you and you’re diverting some of the work onto your shoulders. Move your feet a little closer while keeping your legs straight to correct this error.

Two-Arm Dumbbell Skullcrusher

Lie faceup on a flat bench with your feet flat on the floor and your back arching naturally. Hold a set of dumbbells with your palms facing inward and your arms straight up over your shoulders. Hold your upper arms steady as you bend your elbows, and slowly lower the weights down on either side of your head by your ears. When your elbows make 90-degree angles, reverse direction and extend your arms back to the start. 

Sculpt This, Not That: To increase the load on your triceps, angle your arms back 35 to 45 degrees and keep them there throughout. Why? Because when your arms are perpendicular to the floor, the weights are balanced directly over your shoulders and your triceps can relax. Angling your arms back means the triceps can never release tension and remain engaged throughout both the eccentric and concentric portions of the rep.

Super-Band Pressdown

Secure a super band to a high bar or another overhead anchor, and stand in front of it with your feet hip-width apart. Take a firm grasp on either side of the band with your palms facing inward, and lean forward a few degrees from your hips. Keeping your upper arms and elbows fixed and close to your sides, extend your elbows and press the band down toward your thighs until your arms are fully extended. Pause briefly, then slowly return to the start. 

Sculpt This, Not That: A resistance band by nature will want to return to its normal shape, so resist its pull on the negative and slow down your speed as you return to the start to activate more muscle fibers. Warning: If you’ve never done negatives before, you will be sore!