Basic Upper Body Exercises for Women

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

Best Arm and Chest Exercises For Women
What woman in her right mind proudly shows off her upper arm flab? While you may be comfortable with your body image, you may also have pondered ways to get rid of upper arm flab several times during your life. Historically one of the most challenging areas for women to tone is the upper body. Women generally have far less upper body strength than men. The good news? There are plenty of exercises you can perform to help combat flabby arms and weak chest muscles.

Basic Upper Body Exercises
There are several very easy exercises you can perform to tone your upper body. Let’s look at some of these in more detail below.

Push Ups -Pushups are an old standby for toning the arms and shoulders. You should aim to do at least 10 to 20 pushups every day. Once you build up some stamina you can increase the number or push ups you perform each week. Most women have trouble performing a standard push up. The good news is you can perform a modified push up quite easily. To perform a modified push up, simply push up from your knees to your arms instead of placing your weight on your hands and feet. Most women can perform a push up in this position.

Triceps Dips -Triceps dips or triceps push downs are another exercise you can perform to improve the shape and size of your arms. To perform this exercise, you’ll need to sit on the edge of a strong chair or bench. Place your hands next to you on the edge of the chair with your fingers pointed forward. Then lift your behind off the chair and bend down toward the floor. Gently raise back up again. This is an excellent exercise for toning the arms.

Bicep Curls -You can perform bicep curls safely and easily from the comfort of your own home. If you don’t have a set of barbells, you can get some inexpensively from your local sporting good store. Alternatively you can lift empty milk jugs filled with water. When performing bicep curls, you want to make sure you raise the weights one at a time, in a controlled motion. Lowering is just as important if not more important than lifting the weight. You should perform bicep curls on the same days you do triceps dips, so you evenly spread the weight bearing exercise to your arms.

Gym Exercises for the Arms
If you belong to a gym or have access to one there are many other exercises you can perform to improve your upper body strength. Here are some popular exercises that will help you create strong and sexy arms.
  • Lat pull downs
  • Chest Press
  • Shoulder Press
  • Triceps pushdown
  • Curl machine
Most gyms offer a free introductory session where they introduce you to the free weights and machines. If this is not the case, find out how much a single training session is so someone can show you how to use each of these machines safely. Remember that proper form is critical when strength training to prevent injury and produce the best results. You should try to strength train your arms at least two times every week, allowing at least a day or two between strength training sessions.

Weight Loss and Arm Training
Now keep in mind the amount of ‘flab’ you have on your arms is related to how much extra weight you are carrying as much as it is related to how toned your arms are. All the toning exercises in the world aren’t going to do you much good if you are 20 pounds overweight. If you do need to lose weight you should combine your strength training program with a moderately intense cardiovascular regimen at least 4 times every week. You should also watch your dietary intake.

One way you can jump start your weight loss is by reducing your meal portions and eating six mini meals, rather than three large ones, every day. Believe it or not this is actually much more effective for promoting weight loss because it stimulates your metabolism to work more efficiently. Instead of getting one huge meal to process, your metabolism is constantly working to provide energy and fuel to the body by breaking down six mini meals.
 
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If you have never engaged in a combined strength training and weight loss program, you are bound to start seeing results relatively quickly. Just remember you have to keep up your exercise program to maintain your results. Consider enlisting the help of a friend as an exercise body. Together you can encourage each other to fight the flab and start looking and feeling great!