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The Best Biceps Exercises For Women

Biceps Exercises
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If you thought working your biceps was just a “man thing”, think again. Strengthening the biceps muscles, which run along the front of the upper arms, 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 require only a set of dumbbells. You can add any or all of them to your gym session, performing 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 makes the final two reps of any set feel extremely difficult – you shouldn’t be able to do any more than the allocated reps.

Biceps curl

Biceps curl

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Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding dumbbells by your sides with palms facing forward and with your core engaged. Keeping your upper arms close to your body, 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

Hammer curl

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Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding dumbbells by your sides, this time with your palms facing your body. Keeping your upper arms close to your body, bend your left elbow to 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

Isometric biceps hold

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Holding a move is a surefire way to help strengthen muscles because it keeps them 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. Rest for 30 seconds, and then repeat that sequence for a total of four times.

Lateral raise

Lateral raise

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This move works your shoulders as well as your biceps. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding dumbbells by your sides, with your 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, then slowly lower the dumbbells back to the start.

Lucy is a freelance journalist, and former health and fitness editor across various UK women’s magazines. She is also a level 3 personal trainer and is trained in pre- and post-natal fitness.