The Ultimate Review of Arm Exercises for Women, Part 4

arm exercises for toning

Today I will be reviewing another set of arm exercises for toning. By the time you get through this ultimate review, you’ll know more about arm exercises than 99.99% of the population.

Why have I decided to do this? Because a lot of the exercises women do are very ineffective and in some cases, dangerous.

Here’s today’s selection:

Barbell Curls

Credit: munfitness

Credit: munfitness

When done with extremely strict form, barbell curls are a top-tier exercise for the biceps. Unfortunately, most women do not do them with strict form. In all fairness, however, perfecting the form for this exercise can be challenging, especially when going heavy. Another issue with this exercise is the stress it can put on your wrists and forearms. A little experimentation with wrist angles and hand placement is needed to overcome this.


  1. Stand erect with the back straight, grasp the barbell with an underhand grip with hands at shoulder width.
  2. Try to pull your belly button towards your spine for lower back support. Also contract your gluteal muscles.
  3. Exhale, tighten your abs further and raise the barbell.
  4. Inhale, loosen your abs and lower the barbell.

Most common mistakes

  1. Letting the chest cave in and the shoulders round forward which is horrible for your posture.
  2. Raising the barbell to high which forces your elbows to rise. This takes the load off of your biceps and places it on your front shoulder.
  3. Rocking back and forth to get the weight up. This places stress on your lower back and over time can cause injury.
  4. Letting the body’s weight shift from the heel of the foot to the ball of the foot. This makes your position, posture and balance more unstable.
  5. Curling the wrists upwards when bringing the barbell up. This places uncomfortable stress on the wrist and forearm. Keep your wrists bent downwards if you feel too much strain.
  6. Jerking the weight backwards (towards the body) during the middle portion of the movement. This transfers the load to your middle back.

Sleeveless in 7 rating: 9/10

This exercise is almost perfect. If it weren’t for the strain it can put on the wrists and the level of difficulty for achieving good form when going heavy, it would get a perfect rating. Having said that, this is an excellent exercise to include in any arm-toning program for women.

Machine Curls



Machine curls are one of the rare non-free-weight exercises that provide outstanding results. I personally believe that this exercise is one of the best for targeting the middle portion of the biceps. The only minor issue with this exercise is that it can place stress on the elbow and wrists. But this is easily avoided with certain postural tweaks.


  1. Sit on the machine and grasp the handle with an underhand grip. Start off with your arms partially extended and your lower chest resting on the edge of the support.
  2. Tighten your abs and maintain the natural curve of your spine at all times.
  3. Exhale, and raise the handle.
  4. Inhale, partially loosen your abs and slowly return the handle.

Most common mistakes

  1. Letting the chest cave in and the shoulders round forward which is horrible for your posture.
  2. Sagging downwards to get the weight up. This uses your bodyweight instead of your biceps to do the exercise.
  3. Not digging into the ground firmly with the heels. This makes your position, posture and balance more unstable.
  4. Curling the wrists up and down when bringing the handle up. This works your forearm instead of your biceps.
  5. Leaning too far forward on the support which reduces the range of motion.
  6. Letting the arms extend too much which places a lot of stress on the elbow and increases the risk of tendonitis.

Sleeveless in 7 rating: 8.5/10

This is an outstanding exercise that every woman who is serious about getting sexy arms should be doing. Do not undervalue this exercise just because it’s a machine movement and not a free-weight movement!

Well, that’s it for today’s review of arm exercises for toning. Look out for the next one!

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

theresa ruby quartey- papafio

i am in africa n there is no gym in my neighbourhood so if u can give other forms of exercises or advice or a diet to follow



can i replace the barbel with dumbbells?and is it ok to use a 3lbs-dumbbell (each) ?shud i use lighter or heavier?


Sleeveless in 7!

Hi Ena,

Yes, you can. 3lb dumbbells are fine as long as they are challenging towards the last couple repetitions in your set. If you don’t get close to failure towards the last couple of repetitions, use heavier weights.

Warm regards,
Katherine Crawford


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