Chest Workouts

Chest and Arms Workout for Women

Transform your upper body and tone up with this chest and arms workout for women.

Chest and arms are the staple of so many workouts for men. Unfortunately, it seems like for every guy who loves to hit the bench, there’s a woman who undertrains her upper body.

Luckily, this chest and arms workout for women is about to change all that.

If you’ve made the decision to transform your upper body, this workout will help you do it.

Chest and arms workout for women:  

Exercise Sets X Reps
Bench Press4 x 6
a. Lateral Raises
b. Front Raises
2 x 8 of each
Skull Crushers3 x 10
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press4 x 8
Military Press3 x 12
Triceps Cable Pushdown4 x 10
Dumbbell Flyes4 x 8

Note: a. and b. refers to a superset. This means do 8 lateral raises, immediately followed by 8 front raises. Then rest for a couple of minutes to recharge before starting again.

Chest and arm exercises

Before you start your chest and arms workout, find out how to perform each exercise to perfect your technique. We’ll also cover exactly which muscles each movement works so you know how you’re challenging your body.

Bench press

woman doing a bench press as part of the best shoulder workout

  1. Lie on the bench with the bar directly above your face
  2. Grip the bar with your hands at around shoulder-width apart
  3. Press it out of the rack and hold it directly above your chest so your arms are straight up above you
  4. In a controlled motion, bring the bar down to touch your chest
  5. From there, push directly upwards back to the start position

What muscles does the bench press work?

As a compound lift, this movement recruits a number of upper body muscles. A large amount of the strain is taken on by the pectoral (chest) muscles, but you’re also using your anterior deltoids (the front of your shoulders), triceps and latissimus dorsi (upper back).

Lateral raises

woman doing a lateral raise

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand
  2. Let them hang at the side of your body
  3. Bend slightly at the elbow
  4. Leading with the elbow, raise both arms simultaneously out to the side
  5. Stop when your elbows are around level with your shoulders, then return to them back down to the bottom position

What muscles do lateral raises work?

This movement primarily works the three deltoid heads which make up your shoulder muscles. These are the anterior (front), medial (side) and posterior (back) heads. The majority of the load goes through the anterior and medial head during a lateral raise.

[Related Article: Best Shoulder Workouts for Strength]

Front raises

  1. Take a dumbbell in each hand
  2. Allow your arms to hang in a neutral position at your sides
  3. With a slight bend at the elbow, raise both arms up directly in front of you
  4. When they’re aligned with your shoulders stop and lower them again in a controlled motion
  5. Once back in the start position, begin the movement again

What muscles do front raises work?

The front raise isolates the deltoid heads as it creates flexion within the shoulder. This movement primarily works the anterior (front) head of the three. It also recruits the biceps, along with stabilizing muscles around the clavicle and pectorals.

Skull crushers

woman performing skull crushers

  1. Lie on a bench and hold a light barbell directly above your chest with straight arms and a narrow grip
  2. Keeping your upper arms completely still, hinge at the elbow bringing the weight down toward your forehead in a smooth arching motion
  3. Stop just above your forehead and reverse the movement to return to the start position

What muscles do skull crushers work?

Also known as lying triceps extensions, this is a strength training exercise that primarily focusses in on the triceps muscles in your upper arm.

Incline dumbbell bench press

  1. Raise your bench so it’s at around 30-45 degree angle
  2. Take a dumbbell in each hand and sit on the bench
  3. Raise the weights to your shoulders and sit back
  4. When the dumbbells are sitting just outside your shoulders, push directly upwards until both arms are straight and directly above your upper chest
  5. Slowly bring the weights back down to the start position

What muscles do incline dumbbell bench press work?

Much like the traditional bench press, the incline works the pectoralis major (chest) muscles. However, the incline moves the focus on to the clavicular (upper) head of the group, to challenge these higher muscles rather than the sternocostal (lower) head.


[Related Article: Dynamic Stretching Vs Static Stretching]

Military press

Woman performing an overhead press

  1. Rack a bar on the front of your shoulders
  2. Lower your elbows so you have a strong grip on the bar
  3. Lock your whole body out
  4. Moving your chin out of the way, push hard directly upward until your arms are completely straight and the bar is above your head
  5. Carefully lower the bar back to the front of your shoulders

Tip: Don’t bend the knees as you press up as this will take some of the strain off your shoulders and generate power through your legs. Instead keep your whole body tight throughout to get the maximum benefit.

What muscles does the military press work?

This movement targets the three heads of the deltoid muscles, along with the triceps. As it’s based around pushing from a solid foundation, it also works stabilizing muscles throughout the core, upper back and legs too.

Triceps cable pushdown

  1. Set the cable to the top height
  2. Fix a double-ended rope attachment to it
  3. Grip each end of the rope and bring it down so your elbows are tucked into your side and your elbow creates a 90-degree angle. This is your start position
  4. Keeping your upper arms tight to your body, pull down and out so your arms are completely straight
  5. Squeeze your triceps at the bottom, before bending your arms again and bringing the rope up to the start position

What muscles do triceps cable pushdowns work?

This is used as a strength training exercise to build muscle in the back of the arm. By pushing down against resistance and extending at the elbow, it isolates the triceps muscles by working their primary function – straightening the arm.

[Related Article: 10-Minute Triceps Workout for Women]

Dumbbell flyes

woman doing chest and arms workout with dumbbell flye exercise

  1. Take a dumbbell in each hand
  2. Lie down on a flat bench, holding the dumbbells directly above your chest with straight arms
  3. Bend the arms slightly at the elbow
  4. Maintaining this bend, slowly move both arms outwards and down like wings until your hands are aligned with our shoulders
  5. From here, move your arms back up in a smooth arcing motion until you’re holding the weights above your chest again in the start position

What muscles do dumbbell flyes work?

This movement primarily works the pectoralis major (chest). However, it also pulls in the deltoid muscles in your shoulders, particularly the anterior (front) head of the group, if you rotate your wrists inward so palms are facing down.

The Final Rep

This arms and chest workout for women should help you create a stronger, more toned upper body.  It’s the key to crafting a well-rounded, full-body physique and it shouldn’t be neglected.

Head to the gym and try this workout today.

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