Look around online and you’ll find lots of “arm workouts for women.” Most of them feature perky young lassies doing hundreds of reps with 3-pound pink weights while dancing the merengue, doing jumping jacks, or basically just standing there posing.
This is not that kind of workout. This one will kick your ass, and it’ll do it in about a half an hour.
Team Bodybuilding.com-sponsored athlete Courtney Gardner’s workout is intense, with sets in the 10-rep range, short rest periods, a superset, and a double dropset. Your arms will be torched and your heart thumping as you burn through these six relentless exercises.
30-Minute Kick-Ass Arm Workout
The goal of this exercise is to target the biceps, so keep your elbows tight against your sides so you don’t recruit chest or shoulder muscles. This should be all biceps, all the time.
Dumbbell Biceps Curl
Just one slight modification to this classic curl will make your arms freak out. The single-arm hold will increase time under tension, since you’re resisting weight even in your “resting” arm. As the reps unfold, you’ll be tempted to let that resting dumbbell drop. Rather than giving in, do your best to hold your “non-working” arm steady at 90 degrees.
Overhead Triceps Extension
This is one of the best triceps exercises. To reap the full benefit, keep your elbows in and squeeze your triceps at the top. Engage your core throughout each set.
Keep your hands next to your hips on the bench to avoid putting extra tension on your shoulders. Your feet can go on the floor or up on another bench.
Cable Hammer Curl
In all the arm exercises you’ve done in this workout so far, you’ve used a supinated (wrists turned up) grip. Switch here to a neutral grip, with your hands perpendicular to your body and facing each other. Switching grips enables you to target the same muscle at different angles.
End this short workout with a total burnout sequence. Do 10 reps, drop the weight and, with no rest, do 10 more reps. Drop the weight again and go directly into 10 more reps. This is the last exercise of the workout, so keep going and finish strong—even when you feel like you’ve got wet cement in your veins and your arms are going to fall off.