How to Tone Arms: 8 Upper Body Exercises to Sculpt Your Arms

Summer will be here before we know it, which means so will the days of wearing tank tops, sleeveless dresses, and swimsuits. While I believe every body is a “summer” body, I also understand the desire to tone and strengthen your arms and love the way you look and feel. That’s why I’ve put together a list of eight exercises that are great for toning your arms. You can do these upper body exercises at home with very little to no equipment. Learn how to tone arms now and feel even more confident, comfortable, and strong this summer!

Everything You Need to Know About How to Tone Arms

Before we dive into the upper body exercises, I want to answer a couple of common questions about how to tone arms. Many women find their arms the most challenging body part to tone and tighten. If you’ve found yourself searching online to answer, “How can I tone my arms fast?” and “Why am I not losing weight on my arms?” then you’re not alone. 

When it comes to how to tone arms, consistency and variety are key. It’s also important to do a combination of cardio and weight lifting exercises. Lastly, you need to give your arm muscles a rest. The best way to tone arms fast is to do upper body exercises consistently, taking rest days as needed. Resting your arm muscles and allowing them to repair is essential to growth, which leads to a toned, muscular look without feeling “bulky.”

What are the Best Arm Exercises for Women?

For a complete sculpted look, you need to focus on toning your biceps, triceps, shoulders, and chest. Here are eight upper body exercises to tone your arms that you can do at home starting today!

Upper Body Exercises to Tone Your Biceps

Your biceps are the first muscle to focus on when toning your arms. Here are two bicep exercises to try:

1. Weighted Bicep Exercise: Weighted Bicep Curls are a great way to sculpt your arms. You can do curls with dumbbells (one in each hand). Or, if you don’t have any traditional weights, you can get creative and use soup cans or another weighted item. Follow these steps for how to do biceps curls:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with a slight bend in your knees
  • Keep your chest up and shoulders back
  • Lock your elbows to your sides
  • With your palms facing forward, slowly lift the weights toward your shoulders while keeping your elbows tight to your side
  • Slowly bring your arms back down in a controlled motion

Do 15 bicep curls, then take a 30-second break. Repeat this three times!

2. Bodyweight Bicep Exercise: The Chaturanga is a traditional yoga pose that targets your biceps while stimulating your core and tricep muscles. You must keep your elbows glued to your side the entire time to ensure you engage your biceps. Follow these steps to do the chaturanga:

  • Start in a straight-arm plank position, with your wrists directly under your shoulders
  • Keep your head and neck aligned with your spine
  • Keep your hips flat (don’t arch your back)
  • Shift forward to the tips of your toes, bringing your shoulders past your wrists
  • Slowly lower your entire body toward the ground as you bend your elbows with your arms glued at your sides–really press your biceps into the side of your body to engage them
  • Stop when your elbows are even with your sides and hold that position for 3 seconds before returning to a plank 

Do 10 repetitions of the chaturanga, then take a 30-second break. Repeat this three times! As a modification, if you feel any discomfort in your lower back or can’t keep your elbows pinned by your sides, you can do the exercise on your knees. 

Upper Body Exercises to Tone Your Triceps

Your tricep muscles are on the backside of your upper arm. This is a common “problem area” for many women when it comes to how to tone arms. Fortunately, these two tricep exercises can sculpt that area in no time.

3. Weighted Tricep Exercise: Single Arm Tricep Kickbacks target the back of the arms. You can do tricep extensions with dumbbells or use a non-traditional weight, like soup cans. Follow these steps for how to do tricep extensions, one arm at a time:

  • Stand in front of a flat, sturdy surface like a counter and bend forward slightly and place one hand on the surface to help stabilize your body
  • Stagger your feet; when you’re working out your right arm, your left leg should be in front of your right, and vice versa
  • Bend your elbow and bring the weight to your hip with your elbow pointing behind you
  • Without dropping your elbow, extend your arm straight behind you; the bottom half of your arm should be the only body part moving
  • Slowly bring the weight back to your hip 

Do 15 tricep curls on each side, then take a 30-second break. Repeat this three times!

4. Bodyweight Tricep Exercise: Tricep Dips are one of the best bodyweight exercises for triceps. Follow these steps to give it a try:

  • Sit on a bench or other sturdy, elevated surface and place your hands next to your thighs
  • Walk your feet out and extend your legs 
  • Lift your bottom off of the bench and by extending your arms
  • Slowly bend your elbows behind you and lower your bottom to the ground until your arms reach a 90-degree angle
  • Keep your elbows pulled in tight and pointing straight back
  • Straighten your arms to return to the starting position

Do 10 tricep dips, then take a 30-second break. Repeat this three times! For this exercise, the straighter your legs, the harder the movement will be. For beginners, you can bend your knees and bring your feet closer to the bench to perform the exercise.

How to Tone Arms, Tricep Dips Example, Upper Body Exercises, Picture of Ashley Doing the Tricep Dip Upper Body Exercise to Tone Arms Fast

Upper Body Exercises to Tone Your Shoulders

Your shoulders play an important role in how to tone arms. These upper body exercises for shoulders will help you get that well-rounded sculpted look you’re going for.

5. Weighted Shoulder Exercise: The Weighted Shoulder Press is an excellent way to tone your shoulders. Plus, it’s a simple yet effective exercise you can do sitting or standing, using dumbbells or another weighted item. Follow these steps for how to do a shoulder press:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with a slight bend in your knees (or sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your back straight)
  • Keep your chest up and shoulders back
  • Bring your arms into a “goal post” position, making a 90-degree angle
  • Slowly straighten your arms over your head, so the weights nearly touch each other at the top
  • Slowly bring your arms back into the goal post position

Do 15 shoulder presses, then take a 30-second break. Repeat this three times!

6. Bodyweight Shoulder Exercise: The Plank works many muscles, one being your shoulders! Here’s how to do a proper plank:

  • Place your hands directly under your shoulders and ground your toes into the floor (similar to a narrow push-up position)
  • Keep your head and neck aligned with your spine
  • Keep your hips flat (don’t arch your back) by engaging your stomach muscles and glutes
  • Hold this position for 1 minute (or as long as you can at first)

Hold the plank for 1 minute, then take a 30-second break. Repeat this three times! If you can’t hold yourself up for a minute yet, that’s ok. Start with 30 or 15 seconds and build up to 1 minute! 

Upper Body Exercises to Tone Your Chest

Last but not least, it’s time to tone your chest with these two chest exercises. 

7. Weighted Chest Exercise: Chest Flys are a great way to tone your chest, which is essential to sculpt your upper body. You’ll want to do this exercise with a dumbbell or weight in each hand. Here’s how to perform a chest fly upper body exercise:

  • Lie down on the ground, bench, or exercise ball with a dumbbell in each hand
  • Start with your arms straight up in the air and your palms facing each other
  • Keep a slight bend in your elbows (not locked out)
  • Slowly open your arms until they reach shoulder height
  • Bring your hands back together as if you are hugging a giant tree

Do 15 Chest Flys repetitions, then take a 30-second break. Repeat this three times!

8. Bodyweight Chest Exercise: A good ole pushup is a great way to sculpt your chest and tone that pesky area by your armpits. Here’s how to do a proper push-up:

  • Place your hands directly under your shoulders and ground your toes into the floor
  • Keep your head and neck aligned with your spine
  • Keep your hips flat (don’t arch your back) by engaging your stomach muscles and glutes
  • Slowly lower yourself toward the ground by bending your elbows 
  • Bend until your arms reach a 90–degree angle, then straighten your arms to bring yourself back to the starting position

Do 10 push-ups, then take a 30-second break. Repeat this three times! If you’re a beginner, there are two modifications you can try. The first is to do this exercise with your knees on the ground and your feet in the air. The other is to place your hands on an elevated surface rather than the floor–the more elevated, the easier the exercise will be.

Do you want to learn more upper body exercises to tone your arms in time for summer? Be sure to follow me on Instagram, where I share my favorite upper body workouts. You can also join the ALFitCrew for weekly LIVE zoom workouts and tone your entire body at home! Learn more about ALFitCrew workouts today!

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