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7 Exercises to Tone Up Your Arms

Looking to add some extra definition to your arms? Here at Spot Me Girl, we’re all about upper body workouts for women! There’s no need for super heavy weights, immense barbells, or whole-body pull-ups to tone up your arms and build some muscle.

Having a strong upper body is the key to a well-rounded, trimmed physique as well as overall health. With better strength in your arms, back and chest you’ll benefit from a better posture and body balance[1].

All you need are a few sets of small dumbbells or resistance bands – you could even use your own bodyweight for some of these moves. Below, we’ve listed the seven best exercises to tone up your arms. For each exercise, we’ll include different options to suit your choice of resistance.

Warm-Up

Warming up before an arm workout will help reduce the risk of muscle soreness and injury. Try this sequence of dynamic warm-up exercises to prepare your body.

  • Arm circles – 8 reps forward and backward
  • Walk-outs – 8 reps
  • Overhead shoulder stretches
  • Jumping jacks – 10 reps
  • Swinging toe touches – 8 on each side

Now that you’re all warmed up, let’s get to the good bit.

Here are the best 7 exercises to tone up your arms:

1.      Lateral raises


Equipment needed:
Dumbbells or resistance band

Good for: Working the deltoid heads which make up your shoulder muscles

To perform this movement, grab a dumbbell in each hand and hang your arms by your side. Bending slightly at the elbow, raise both arms simultaneously out to the side. Once your elbows reach the same height as your shoulders, return back to the starting position.

To performance this move with a resistance band, hold each end in your hands and place your feet onto the middle of the band. Maintaining the same bend at the elbow and your hands by your side, raise your arms up from the side and repeat.

2.      Upright rows

Equipment needed: Dumbbells or resistance band

Good for: Working the front (anterior) and lateral (side) deltoid head in your shoulders as well as the trapezius and bicep

Grab a dumbbell in each hand and hang your arms by your side. Bending at the elbow, raise both arms directly in front of you in a controlled way and align them with your shoulders. Once they reach shoulder height, return to the starting position.

With a resistance band, loop it under your feet and hold it each hand with your arms by your side. Raise your arms straight in front until they reach shoulder height and drop back down.

3.      Tricep dips

Equipment needed: A bench, chair or sofa!

Good for: Working your anterior deltoid, the pectoralis muscles and the rhomboid muscles of the back

Grip the edge of a bench, chair or sofa with your legs extended in front of you. Your feet should be around hip-width apart and your heels touching the ground. Face straight ahead and keep your chin upwards. Using your palms, lift your body up and slide forwards so that you clear the edge of the seat you’re holding onto. Lower yourself until your elbows reach around 90-degree angles and slowly push yourself up. Return and repeat.

4.       Dumbbell bench press

Equipment needed: Dumbbells

Good for: Working your pectoral muscles, anterior and lateral deltoids and triceps.

Lie back on a flat bench, keeping your feet flat on the floor in a shoulder-width stance. Lift the dumbbells to chest height with your palms facing forwards. Before pressing, take a deep breath,  brace your core and engage your glutes. Press the dumbbells up toward the ceiling and hold them directly above your chest so your arms are directly above you. Bring them back down in a controlled motion and return to the starting position.

5.       Bent over rows

Equipment needed: Dumbbells or barbell

Good for: The latissimus dorsi and rhomboids – main muscles groups in your back – as well as your forearms and biceps

With a barbell, stand with your mid-foot under the bar in a medium stance. Bend over the bar and grab it with your palms facing down. Keep your hips high and back straight but bend at the knee. Brace your core and squeeze your shoulders to bring the weight up to your sternum, then slowly lower it back down.

With dumbbells, place your feet shoulder-width apart with a dumbbell in each hand. Bend over at about a 455-degree angle and keep your back straight as you lift the weights straight up towards your chest. Keep your core braced and shoulders squeezed then slowly lower the dumbbells back down.

6.       Hammer curls

Equipment needed: Dumbbells

Good for: The bicep, brachialis (upper arm muscles) and the brachioradialis (a forearm muscle).

With your feet shoulder-width apart and a medium bend in your knees, grab a pair of dumbbells in each hand. Make sure your palms are facing towards your body and slowly curl the dumbbell up to your shoulders while keeping your elbow close to your body. Pause slightly at the top of the lift and engage your biceps while slowly lowering the weight back down.

7.       Dumbbell shoulder press

Equipment needed: Dumbbells

Good for: Deltoids (posterior, medial, and anterior shoulder), triceps and trapezius

You can do this move sitting or standing up. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing forward and your elbows at a 90-degree angle. The dumbbells should be at around ear level. Keeping your back straight, raise the dumbbells up until your elbows lock then lower them back down after a short pause. The dumbbells can touch lightly at the top before you come back down to the starting position.

[Related article: Chest and Arms Workout for Women]

To sum up

If you want to add some shape to your arms or build some upper body strength, these exercises will help to get you there and tone up your arms. To make even more of an impact, follow a calorie-restricted diet or complement these strength moves with a clever cardio routine.

Head to the gym and sprinkle some of these moves into your workout plan – you won’t regret it!

 

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