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Dumbbell Exercises for Women to Tone Arms

By Mike Westerdal

The very nature of women's bodies makes them susceptible to sagging in certain areas-particularly the arms. And unfortunately for the ladies, this can start happening at a relatively young age. The good news is that there are ways to reduce and eliminate almost entirely, sagging in the arms. And the best part is, you don't need fancy or expensive equipment or even a gym membership-you can achieve your goals right in the comfort of your own home with just a few square feet of unobstructed space and a set of dumbbells.

In the world of exercise equipment, dumbbells are just about perfect-they're effective, versatile, inexpensive, easy-to-store, great for targeting specific areas, can be used by anyone regardless of skill or ability and can be used just about anywhere. You don't need to be able to lift heavy weights in order to tone up your arms. A maximum weight of 10 to 12 pounds will do. If you can, pick up a few different weights (5, 10, 12 pounds) so you can vary your workouts.

First of all, warm up before getting started-this helps to prevent injuries. So start with a few minutes of stretching, particularly focusing on stretching the muscles in your arms. Do this for 3 to 5 minutes. You also might want to walk or jog in place for a few minutes to get your blood pumping.

Dumbbell Exercises for Women to Tone Arms Here are some exercises you can do:

  • Seated bicep curl: This is basically the same exercise as above, but performed this time sitting down. Again, keep your elbows close to your side, then curl the dumbbell up towards your shoulder (palm facing the shoulder), pause and contract. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat with the other arm. Do the same amount of repetitions and sets as the previous exercise. Variations: curl both arms at the same time or do hammer curls as described above.


    Alternating Bicep Curl
  • Standing alternating bicep curl: Stand as you did in the warm up, but this time do it holding dumbbells in your hands. Keeping your elbows close to your body, slowly curl one dumbbell up towards your shoulder. Your palm should be facing your shoulder. When the dumbbell is almost touching your shoulder, pause, contract your bicep for a moment before returning to the starting position (keep your back straight and don't swing the weight). Repeat the exercise using the other arm. Do 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions for each arm with a 30-second rest between sets. Variations: curl both arms at the same time. You can also vary this exercise by doing hammer curls. Here, you start in the same position as before but instead of turning your palm up to face your shoulder as you curl up, keep your palm facing inward, stopping to pause and contract when your lower arm is just about parallel to the floor.


    Dumbbell Exercises for Women to Tone Arms
  • Standing overhead triceps extension: Holding a (lightweight) dumbbell in your hand, raise your arm straight up over your head, towards the ceiling. Keeping your upper arm in place, bend at the elbow bringing the weight slowly down towards the back of your head (be careful not to hit yourself in the head) until you feel a tight "stretch" in your tricep. Contract the tricep and slowly return to the starting position. Do 10-12 repetitions and then switch arms. Do 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions. Variation: You can also do this exercise while seated.



    Lying dumbbell extensions
  • Lying dumbbell extensions: Lying flat (on a mat or bench), raise your arms vertically up toward the ceiling. Keep your upper arms vertical, slowly lower the dumbbells toward the space behind your head until you feel a tight stretch. Pause, contract, return to the starting position and repeat. Variation: Alternate one arm at a time.



Mix these exercises up, be creative and add in some of your own and vary your routine. As fitness level, skills and abilities improve, you should increase the intensity of the workout by mixing in some aerobics, adding a little more weight, adding other dumbbell exercises (not specifically for the arms but for the whole body), decreasing rest time between sets or increasing the number of repetitions and/or sets.

If you do this for 20-30 minutes a day three or four times a week and stick with it, you will be amazed with the results. Not only will your arms be more toned, but you'll be stronger, healthier and will probably notice that you feel a lot better too.


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Dumbbell Routines and ExercisesMike Westerdal is the author of the first and original...

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