I want toned arms, what exercises should I do?

Toning occurs with decreased body fat and increased muscle. Decreasing your body fat comes from a caloric deficit. Remember we cannot spot reduce! 

When it comes to increasing muscle mass in your arms; these are some of my favorite exercises.

  • Push-ups
  • Pull-ups
  • Stability ball DB triceps extensions

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  • Cable bicep curl

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  • DB shoulder press

To tone your arms, you must focus on working your entire upper body to truly tone your arms.  Everyone is different but everyone must work hard in order to achieve the results you are hoping to achieve.  In order to tone, you must burn more calories than what you consume.  You will not be able to focus on one specific area; you must focus on your body as a whole.  Be sure to incorporate some high intensity training to help burn more calories and benefit your body.

If you are to work on upper body, arms specifically then complete some biceps curls, triceps extensions, push-ups, and back rows.  These exercises along with many more will help strengthen the areas you are focusing on.  Balance these with sound nutrition and plenty of exercise and you will get your toned arms!

Wendy Batts
Toning your arms requires the right combination of proper nutrition, resistance training exercises that progressively strengthen your arm muscles, and proper recovery time.  Assuming your nutrition and recovery are up to par for outstanding results, two specific exercises that will challenge the biceps and triceps are the standing alternating arm dumbbell biceps curl and the face down ball alternating arm dumbbell triceps extensions.  For best results, perform 2 to 3 sets of 12-20 total repetitions per set for each exercise. 
When you are trying to get toned arms, you should be doing pushing exercises, like push-ups and chest press, along with pulling exercises like rows and lat pulls. So, you can push weights, you can pulls weights, and you are working your arms as an ancillary to other body parts. This is great because you are working your chest, shoulders, back, and your arms are also getting worked. In order to specifically spend a little more time and concentration on your arms,I suggest doing biceps curls using dumbbells, and using weights that are going to be fairly tough for you. Don’t worry, you won’t get bulky. The work must be pretty difficult to create tone. Do not do a two-pound dumbbell and think that you are going to get tone in your arms, because basically you are just doing arm cardio. You can do triceps kickbacks with dumbbells and triceps press downs with cables to help tone the back of the arms.  This is often the part of the arm many women want to work because they would like to be able to wave their arm without the triceps waving back.

Toning occurs from an increase in muscle mass along with a decrease in body fat. To decrease body fat you need to burn more calories than you take in. Cardiovascular exercise will help burn calories while strength training will help sculpt the muscles and give them a nice defined shape. A good strength training program will focus on all major muscle groups in the body. Even if your arms are the focus choose exercises that target the major muscle groups of the upper body, the upper back, chest, shoulders, biceps, and triceps. Some great exercises that will help sculpt your arms include pull ups, push ups, stability ball push ups, cable chest press, lat pull downs, dumbbell shoulder press, dumbbell lateral raises, dumbbell biceps curls and dumbbell triceps kickbacks. If a toned body is your goal lifting light weights will be a waste of your time and leave you frustrated. Choose a weight that allows you to complete the exercise with proper form, but leaves you feeling challenged.

The same principles apply here as to trying to lose abdominal fat.  You cannot spot reduce fat over your arms so if you looking to have leaner, more defined arms, it required the same combination of cardio activity, resistance training, and smart nutrition.

Both cardio exercises and strength training are needed to speed up metabolism and burn body fat.  Many women tend to shy away from strength training because they are afraid of big muscles.  Women don’t have the hormones to develop huge muscles by strength training, unless they’re working out to an extreme or taking steroids.

To begin, I recommend cardio activity done at a moderate intensity for 30 minutes, five times a week or vigorous intensity cardio for 20 minutes, 3 times per week.  For those ready to train at a higher level, I recommend interval training, which is a system of high-intensity work marked by short, but regularly repeated periods of hard exercise interspersed with periods of recovery, on most cardio days. 

Strength training increases muscle mass and revs up the body to burn fat at a higher rate, allowing for the lean muscle definition to show.  Try strength training at least twice per week, on nonconsecutive days.  Even though your goal may be better looking arms, it is still important to target all the major muscles and movement patterns of the body.  If solid looking arms are truly important to you, you can add in some biceps curls, dips, front raises, and lat raises.  Adding some rows or pulldowns can help develop the muscles of the upper and mid back which can help the appearance of the shoulder region.

The final component is to maintain a healthy weight.  Do not confuse this with never-ending dieting.  A well balanced diet, being cautious of processed foods, avoiding foods high in fat, and foods with poor nutritional value will help keep your body looking fit.

Remember, everyone’s body is different and muscle definition can take a while to show, so don’t get discouraged if the results don’t show after just two weeks.

Continue Learning about Arm Exercises

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.