15 Exercises That Tone Your Arms
There are many reasons why people target their arms during their workout sessions. Yes, toned arms look fantastic and contribute to an overall healthy-looking appearance, but that’s not the only factor to aim for in your workouts. Toned arms will let you perform your daily activities with more ease, as well as make it easier to try new kinds of exercises.
If you’re ready to both optimize your daily life and define those arms, there are plenty of special exercises for you to try. These workouts will target your triceps and biceps, enabling you to tone your arms and get the results that you’re craving. Within a few weeks to a few months of steady effort, you’ll have killer arms and an easier time undertaking physical demands.
Our Jack City team knows plenty of ways to tone those arms — and we’re here to share a few of them today.
We had to start with the push-up: it’s arm day royalty, and a fantastic way to build strength in your upper body and arm muscle. You may have done a million of them in your life, but it never hurts to have a refresher.
To perform a perfect push-up:
- Climb onto your mat and kneel. Your feet should come together.
- Bend frontwards, bringing your starting pose to a front plank. Place your palms flat on the ground and shoulder-width apart. Keep your back flat and your abs tight.
- Keeping your torso stiff and your head in-line with your spine, gently lower your body towards the mat. Keep your body straight — no sagging of your lower back! Bring your chin or chest to the ground — whatever lands first.
- Use your arms to press your body back into a plank position.
- Tricep Kickback
Give your triceps a kick with this easy-to-learn arm workout. This exercise is a great way to build your upper body strength and keep your arms in the right condition to play sports and live your life to the fullest.
To perform the tricep kickback, you’ll need a set of small dumbells.
- Stand on the mat with your knees slightly bent and a dumbbell in each hand.
- Straighten your spine and engage your core. Bend forward at the waist so your abdomen is parallel to your mat. Tuck your chin, keep your head in line with your spine, and bend your elbows, making sure your upper arms are close to your body.
- Exhale. Straighten your arms. Your upper arms should stay still; your lower arms should end up next to or just behind your hips.
- Hold and inhale as you return to your starting pose.
- Overhead Extension
An overhead extension will work the backs of your upper arms. There are quite a few varieties, but we’ll tell you how to perform a basic version:
- Stand on the mat with a weight in your dominant hand.
- Engage your core and lift your chest, all while keeping your back straight.
- Lift the weight straight up and above your shoulder. You want the weight to be parallel to the ground, with your palm facing inwards.
- Touch your fellow/forearm with your other hand.
- Bend your elbow as you carefully bring the weight towards the back of your dominant shoulder. Keep your upper arm straight and your elbow at a 90-degree angle while the weight runs perpendicular to the mat or floor.
- Slowly press the weight upwards and back overhead.
- Do a set of reps that works for you and return to resting position. Repeat with your other arm.
- Biceps Curl
This workout will require a set of weights, and can give your biceps some extra definition:
- Grab a dumbbell in each hand. Let your arms hang. Keep your elbows tight to your body with your palms facing outwards.
- Keep your upper arms still, let out a breath, and curl those weights up to your shoulders.
- Hold, then return to the starting position on an inhale.
Treehuggers may be pacifists, but they can still rock some killer guns. To perform this workout:
- Sit cross-legged on your mat with a weight in each hand. Keeping your arms at the same level as your chest, extend them outwards — as if you were about to hug a big tree.
- Elongate your spine, open your chest, and inhale.
- Exhale as you bring the weights in front of you. They should be touching, and your elbows bent slightly.
- Hold before returning to your starting pose.
- Arm Circles
We love arm circles because you can do them at any time and practically anywhere.
- Plant your feet on the ground shoulder-width apart. Extend your arms so that they run parallel to the ground in a straight line.
- Going forwards, start circling your arms at the same time. Begin with small circles and work up to larger ones.
- Switch directions and repeat.
- Dumbbell Kickback
This impressive move benefits your entire arm, all the way down your wrists and hands. Many athletes choose to use a weight bench for this exercise
— if you don’t have one, your local gym will.
To perform it:
- Place one hand and one knee on your weight bench. Keep your standing leg secure and to the back and side, with your foot planted on the floor. Position your torso so that it’s directly parallel to the ground.
- With your free hand, grip a dumbbell, overhand style. Keep your elbow to the side, and keep your upper arm flat and parallel to the ground below.
- Contract your tricep and extend the weight behind your body.
- Hold and return to the starting pose.
- Shoulder Press
This is a bodybuilder classic for a reason — it builds fantastic-looking shoulders and arms. Though some athletes do perform this with dumbbells, the classic technique uses barbells.
- Plant your feet hip-width apart on a mat and grab your barbell. Your hands should be just outside of your shoulders.
- Firmly grip the barbell. Lift it over your head until your arms are straight.
- Pull your elbows back downwards and gently bring the barbell back to chest level before repeating.
- Dumbbell Punch
This routine will work your arms and shoulders. It’s also a lot of fun. To perform it:
- Plant your feet on your mat hip-width apart. In each hand, grip a dumbbell.
- Step forward with your left foot. Keep your right foot at a 45-degree angle. Slightly turn your body sideways.
- Raise your weights upwards — the palm side of your hands should face your ears.
- Carefully extend your right arm into a “punch” position.
- Repeat with the other side.
- Triceps Bench Dip
Set the dumbbells and barbells aside; you can use your own bodyweight on this exercise, which builds strength in your arms and your shoulders.
To perform this workout, you will need a bench.
- Sit on the bench, with your hands palm-down on either side of your hips.
- Bend your legs so that your bottom is no longer on the bench but flush against it.
- Gently lower your body down to the mat, so your arms are parallel to the floor. This is the “dip.”
- Lift yourself back up, squeezing the backs of your arms.
- Upright Row
This exercise is simple to learn, and requires a pair of small weights. To perform:
- Plant your feet hip-width apart. Hold a weight in each hand and keep your arms in front of your body.
- Raise your elbows to the level of your chest.
- Slowly bring them back down to waist level.
- Plank to Push-Up
Though this move is similar to a traditional push-up, it has a few variations that make it all the more impressive and intensive. To perform:
- Get onto your mat with your toes touching the floor and your palms against the mat. Use your arms to lift your body off the mat in a straight line.
- Lower one arm so that your elbow and forearm touch the mat. Lean into that forearm — carefully — and do the same with the other arm. You are now in a plank.
- Hold. Then, one arm after the other, return to push-up position.
- Two-Arm Kettlebell Swing
The kettlebell is an excellent workout tool, and plenty of the exercises you can do with it benefit the arms. We like this particular one because it’s quite thrilling to perform:
- Place your feet hip-width apart with your knees slightly bent — sort of a mild squat. Hold your kettlebell in front of you with both hands. Make sure you are holding it by the bar.
- Push your hips through into a standing position. While you do this, carefully swing your kettlebell upwards to the height of your forehead.
- Return to the mild squatting position as you bring the kettlebell back down.
- Pilates Boxing
This simple routine will work both your arms and your core — hello, swimsuit season. We like this one because it allows for you to really focus on one small movement — you’ll certainly feel it later!
To perform a pilates boxing workout:
- Stand with your feet planted on a mat. Lift your fists up to shoulder-height with your elbows up and bent.
- Engage your core and use your right hand to punch forward.
- Switch sides.
- Repeat at least 20 times.
- Up-and-Down Plank
The final move we’d like to show you involves yet more planking. What can we say? It’s great for your arms.
To perform the up-and-down plank:
- Lay down a mat and climb into a push-up starting position. Keep your legs straight behind you and palms right beneath your shoulders and flat on the mat.
- Tighten your core and place your arm and forearm on the mat — your elbow will land under your shoulder. Do the same with your other arm.
- Reverse and climb back up to your starting plank pose.
- Repeat for at least ten reps.
Inspired? Are you feeling amped to keep building those arms?
At Jack City, we have a fantastic team of fitness experts and coaches who are well-versed in the art of arm-specific workouts. If you liked learning about these moves, you can come and learn more from us — our coaches will also be happy to go over them with you in person. We’d love to help you hit your goals and sculpt those arms.
At Jack City Fitness, partners are entitled to 24/7 gym access, a full schedule of movement classes, and opportunities to work one-on-one with our workout and nutrition coaches. We’re here to help you become your healthiest self — we will hold you accountable and support you every step of the way.
Get in touch with us today — you can drop us a line here or call (208) 999-1111 to learn more about everything we offer in our partnerships, from custom workout classes to specialized team training. We’ll even invite you in for a free fitness consultation and a tour of our facility.
We can’t wait to meet you and watch your build your arms — and marvel at your results!