Fitness

The Best Biceps Exercises For Women

If you thought working your biceps was just a “man thing”, think again. The biceps muscle runs along the front of the upper arm and strengthening it is important for both men and women.

Building stronger muscles helps boost bone health. For women, this is particularly important as their bones can weaken during the menopause, owing to hormonal changes. Working your biceps also brings performance benefits for activities such as swimming, as well as team sports like netball and basketball.

Ready to train your biceps? We’ve chosen four simple moves that just require a set of dumbbells. To add one of them to your gym session, perform four sets of eight to 10 reps (with the exception of the isometric biceps hold, which you hold for 30 seconds). Take a 30-second break between sets.

When deciding how heavy a dumbbell to use, a good rule of thumb is to pick a weight that results in the final two reps of any set to feel extremely difficult – you shouldn’t be able to do any more than the allocated reps.

Biceps curl

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding dumbbells by your sides, palms facing forward and your core engaged. Keep your upper arms close to your body and bend your elbows to bring the dumbbells up to shoulder height. Pause at the top, then slowly lower the dumbbells back to the start.

Hammer curl

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding dumbbells by your sides, this time with your palms facing your body. Keep your upper arms close to your body as you bend the left elbow, and bring the dumbbell up to shoulder height, squeezing your biceps as you go. Then lower the left dumbbell and repeat with the right. Keep alternating arms.

Isometric biceps hold

Holding a move is a surefire way to help strengthen muscles as they are kept under tension for longer. For this exercise, start as though you were about to do a biceps curl, then bend your elbows to raise the dumbbells, pausing when your elbows are at 90°. Hold this position for 30 seconds – if you can – then lower back to the start. Take a break for 30 seconds, and then repeat that sequence for a total of four times.

Lateral raise

This move works your shoulders as well as your biceps. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding dumbbells by your sides, palms facing inwards. Raise your arms out to the sides, ensuring that your back stays flat and your core is engaged. Keep a slight bend in your elbows as you lift your arms, stopping when the dumbbell reaches shoulder height. Pause here, then slowly lower the dumbbells back to the start.

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