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Arm Workouts for Women

The 20-Minute Arm Workout to Torch Your Bi’s and Tri’s

Sculpt your biceps and triceps in just 20 minutes with this superset workout.

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Great arms don’t require long workouts and endless reps. In fact, the biceps and triceps already get a lot of attention during your other workouts, with the biceps engaging during any pulling movements on back day, and the triceps called to action for shoulder and chest presses.

Because of that, a short, intense, focused arm workout once or twice a week will do just fine, sculpting and shaping the upper arm while building your strength. This 20-minute arm workout checks those boxes.

Celebrity trainer Jason Kozma — a former Mr. America and owner of High Performance Personal Training in Los Angeles — developed this deceptively simple superset and tri-set session, which will get you in and out of the weight room in just 20 minutes while targeting each critical area of your biceps and triceps muscles. 

The 20-Minute Arm Workout

Each of the three groupings below starts with a biceps movement and ends with a triceps exercise (or two). You’ll do each superset for three sets, performing each move within the superset with no rest in between, then resting one minute between supersets.

 

Exercise Sets Reps
Tri-Set:
EZ-Bar Curl 21’s

Lying EZ-Bar Triceps Extension

Close-Grip EZ-Bar Press
3

3

3
21 (7+7+7)

10

10
Standing Cable Curl
— superset with —
V-Handle Cable Pushdown
3

3
10

15
Seated Dumbbell Curl
— superset with —
Dual Dumbbell Kickback
3

3
10

12

EZ-Bar Curl 21’s 

Stand holding an EZ-bar with a shoulder-width, underhand grip, arms extended — you’ll want to be on the inside curl of the bar, your palms angled inward. Keep your abs tight, chest up and head straight as you contract your biceps to bring the bar to the midpoint of the rep — where your elbows form a 90-degree angle — then back down, for seven reps. Next, you’ll start at the midpoint and do seven half reps through the upper portion of the movement. Finally, you’ll finish with seven full-range-of-motion reps.

Lying EZ-Bar Triceps Extension

Lie faceup on a flat bench with your feet flat on the floor, holding an EZ-bar on your chest with an overhand grip on the inner curl, as you did on the curls. Press the bar upward until your elbows are extended, then angle your arms a few degrees backward toward your spotter. Squeeze your triceps as you slowly lower the bar down toward your forehead. When you reach a 90-degree angle in your elbows, pause for a moment, then forcefully extend your arms and press the bar back to the starting position.

Close-Grip EZ-Bar Press

From the same lying position as the extensions and keeping your inner grip on the EZ-bar, start with the bar at your chest. Press the bar straight up to full elbow extension (but not locked out), then lower it under control until it is again in contact with the midpoint of your chest. Repeat.

Standing Cable Curl

Stand holding a short curl bar attached to a low pulley cable with an underhand grip, arms extended. Keep your abs tight, chest up and head straight. Contract your biceps to curl the bar toward your chest, making sure that your elbows remain at your sides and don’t shift forward. Hold and squeeze the contraction at the top, then slowly return the bar along the same path to the start. Repeat for reps.

V-Handle Cable Pushdown

Stand in front of a high cable pulley and grasp a V-handle attachment with an overhand grip. With your legs slightly bent, lean forward slightly at the waist and position your elbows close to your sides as you bring your lower arms parallel to the floor. Flex your triceps and press the rope down toward the floor until your arms are fully extended, pronating your hands at the bottom. Squeeze your triceps and hold for a brief count before returning to the start position.

Note: If you don’t have a pulley station that has an upper and lower pulley but adjusts up and down, instead of taking the extra time to switch out the curl bar for the V-bar, use the same straight bar for your curls and pushdowns.

Seated Dumbbell Curl

Sit on a low back bench (or an adjustable flat bench put all the way to the vertical position), holding a dumbbell in each hand at your sides. Keeping your chest up, curl one dumbbell up toward the same-side shoulder, squeezing your biceps hard at the top, then lower to the start. Repeat with the other arm.

Dual Dumbbell Kickback

In a stance with your feet close together and a slight bend in your knees, hinge at the hips to lower your upper body to form a near 90-degree angle to the floor, a dumbbell in each hand. Your legs and hamstrings should be supporting you, not your lower back. Keeping your upper arms at your sides, extend your elbows to simultaneously lift both dumbbells back until your arms are straight and parallel with your torso. Pause for a tight squeeze of both triceps, then lower them along the same arcing path.