Tone Up with These 5 Bicep Exercises for Women

Bulging biceps are stereotypically associated with male bodybuilders, but that doesn’t mean that women can’t have toned arms, too. These top five moves below won’t bulk you up to hulk size (thank goodness), but they will sculpt lean, sexy upper arms.

5 Close Grip Chin-Ups

Not all chin-ups and pull-ups are created equally. The way you place your hand determines which muscles are the focus of that exercise. By placing your palms close together and facing you on the chin-up bar, you’ll recruit more of the muscles in your upper arm. How to do chin-ups: For this exercise, use either a freestanding pull-up bar or a gym machine that supports part of your body weight. Grab the bar with your palms facing you and your hands close together (shoulder-width apart). Start from the hanging position then raise yourself up towards the bar until your chin is just above it. Lower yourself back down to the start.

4 Arm Circles

Incorporating arm circles into your daily workout is a great way to tone from the shoulders down to the elbows. Start with a few sets without weights for a good warm up, then incorporate a pair of dumbbells into the exercise and say goodbye to arm flab. How to do arm circles: With a 3- to 8-pound dumbbell in each hand, stand up straight with your arms out to your side, raised to shoulder-height. Rotate your arms forward in small, circular motions for ten counts then switch to do circles in the opposite direction for another ten counts. It helps to think of drawing circles on the wall closest to the weights. Next, do larger circles forward and backward for ten counts each. Lower your arms back to start.

3 Hammer Curls

Though this exercise is very similar to standard biceps curls, hammer curls emphasize one of the smaller arm muscles (brachioradialis, in case you’re curious) while the standard curl focuses on the biceps brachii, the largest muscle of the arm. How to do hammer curls: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart with a 5- to 10-pound dumbbell in each hand. Unlike with standard curls, your palms should be facing your side as you bend your elbows to raise and lower the weights to your shoulders and back down. Remember to inhale on the raise and exhale on the lower.

2 Push-Ups

Most people have a love-hate relationship with push-ups. That’s because although they’re the quickest way to work the arms, chest, and core simultaneously, they can be a bit difficult to execute correctly. Here’s your guide to proper push-up form: How to do push-ups: With your stomach facing the floor, raise your body so that your weight is supported by your hands and feet. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders and your body should resemble a plank. Bend your elbows to lower your chest to the floor, keeping your elbows back along your body. Don’t arch or sag your lower back. Straighten your arms back to start. For a modified version, balance on your knees instead of your feet for your reps.

1 Bicep Curls

This exercise is hands down the most popular and efficient biceps exercise. That’s because it’s one of the few exercises that focuses on the three primary muscles of what’s commonly called the biceps—the biceps brachii, brachialis, and brachioradialis. Master the basic form then try alternating arm curls, preacher curls, or concentration curls. How to do biceps curls: Grab a 5- to 10-pound dumbbell in each hand and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold you arms down by your side with your palms facing outward. Bend your arms at the elbows to raise the weights to your shoulders then straighten back down. Do this move slowly and with control and keep your elbows in toward you body.

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Working the biceps muscles on a regular basis will make everyday tasks like lifting and holding heavy objects easier. To gain even more functional strength, make sure you balance out your arm workout with the best triceps exercises for women.

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