Regardless of the myth many girls and women fear: weight training will make you bulky -- building muscle is important for maintaining healthy bones and joints as you age, and to help burn calories and maintain weight. When working to build upper arm strength, you’ll want to focus on exercises that target both the biceps and triceps. Before you begin a strength-training program, warm up your body first and stretch after.
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Your biceps work to flex your elbow and supinate your forearm. To strengthen your biceps, try the dumbbell curl. To start, find an appropriate weight. You could begin with 1-lb. hand weights or even soup cans. Hold a weight in each hand. Start with your arms straight at your side and palms facing your body. Rotate your palm forward, simultaneously bending your elbow and lifting the weight toward your chest. Release your hand back to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Continue for 12 to 15 reps.
Your triceps work to extend your elbow and shoulder. To strengthen your triceps, do triceps kickbacks. You will need a hand weight for this exercise. Start in a standing position, take a big step back with your right foot, slightly bend your left knee. Relax your right arm at your side with your weight in your right hand. Rest your left hand on your left knee. Extend your right arm so your elbow is straight, but not locked. Next, bend your elbow bringing the weight toward your shoulder. Avoid swinging your upper arm; instead, keep it in line with your torso. Continue for 12 to 15 reps and repeat on the other side.
Working the Whole Arm
Bodyweight exercises such as triangle pushups target both the triceps and biceps. For triangle pushups start in a pushup position. But instead of placing your hands under your shoulders, place hands on the ground below your head, creating a triangle shape with your index fingers and thumbs. Draw your shoulder blades together and keep your abdominals strong as you slowly lower yourself to the ground and press yourself back up. Complete five to 15 reps. This exercise can also be done with your knees on the ground.
Bench Dips with Bodyweight
Bench dips are another bodyweight exercise that target the major muscles of the upper arms. To start, sit on the edge of a chair, bench or couch. Place your hands on the chair beside you with your fingers facing forward -- toward your feet. Extend your legs and place your heels on the ground. Move your sitting bones off the chair and slowly lower your sitting bones down toward the ground. Continue lifting and lowering your torso. Complete five to 15 reps. This exercise can be modified by bending your knees and placing your feet on the ground.