9 Best Arm Toning Exercises

Ready for some arm toning exercises?

These exercises are great for beginners that are looking to incorporate upper body strength training into their healthy living plan.

You may want slimmer arms but I want you to understand that spot reduction is not a thing. You cannot burn fat just from isolation exercises. So that means you can’t burn arm fat just from arm toning exercises. I know it’s disappointing.

When you perform an isolation exercise, you’re working out only one muscle at a time.

If you’re looking to burn arm fat you must be eating at a caloric deficit, eating less calories than your body is burning on a daily basis. You can’t choose where your body burns fat but eating right and exercising will help you lose fat all over your body.

Click here to read about the best exercises for weight loss!

While just strength training alone won’t burn fat. It will build muscle. And no ladies, you won’t have big bulky muscular arms! (We don’t have the testosterone levels like men, that’s why they bulk up.)

The result of lifting weights for us girls are slimmer, more toned looking arms. That’s goals.

So let’s move on to the arm toning exercises!

9 Exercises For Toned and Slimmer Arms


1. Tricep dips

Tricep dips target the triceps, they’re located on the back of your arms. This is where many people get those infamous “bat wings”. It’s probably the location in the arms that people have the most complaints about.

But don’t worry! You can tighten up the backs of your arms and have them looking toned!

How to do a tricep dip:

  1. Sit on the edge of a chair or a bench with your feet on the floor.
  2. Put your hands on the chair next to your hips, fingers forward, and grip the chair tightly.
  3. Use your hands to lift yourself forward and down slowly.
  4. When you lower yourself in front of the chair, do not press your back into the chair. The only body part that should be touching the chair is your hands.
  5. Raise yourself back up by pressing your hands down.

You should feel a good burn on the back of your arms!

2. Incline pushup

The incline pushup is absolutely perfect for beginners. It’s for those who can’t quite do a traditional push-up and wall push-ups are too easy. (If you’re totally new to fitness I do recommend wall push-ups to start!)

Incline push-ups target the triceps, shoulders, and chest muscles.

How to do an incline push-up:

  1. Stand in front of a bench or chair that’s against a wall. (To keep it sturdy). You can also use stairs!
  2. Bend down and place your hands on the bench about shoulder width apart.
  3. Extend your legs behind you, like a plank position.
  4. Your body should be in a straight line.
  5. Use your arms to lower yourself towards the bench and bring yourself back up.

You just did an incline push-up! Push-ups are tough! You can work your way up to the harder ones by adding this variation to your workout routine.

3. Bicep curls

Bicep curls target, you guessed it, the biceps. This is the exercise that you see the big buff dudes doing constantly. Well, that was a joke, but it is one of the most popular weight training and arm toning exercises. And that’s because it’s effective.

You can use dumbbells to complete this exercise, or you can use full water bottles if you’re a beginner. You should choose a weight that is not too easy, but not too difficult either.

How to do a bicep curl:

  1. Stand with your feet hip width apart.
  2. Hold your dumbbells in your hands by your side, facing out, not facing your side.
  3. Bend your elbow and lift your dumbbell up towards your shoulder.
  4. Slowly lower the dumbbell, don’t just let it drop. Use your muscle to get to the starting position.

You can do both arms at the same time, or you can alternate arms. Do whatever you feel comfortable with!

4. Tricep extension

Tricep extensions are another great way to target the back of the arms, and tone up that pesky flab.

There are many ways to do a tricep extension, such as with a dumbbell, a resistance band, or a cable machine. But I’ll walk you through on how to use a dumbbell.

How to do a tricep extension:

  1. Stand with your feet hip width apart.
  2. Lift the dumbbell up over your head and keep your arms straight (from elbows to shoulders) and bend your elbow so that the weight is over your head behind you.
  3. Lower your arms slowly. There’s no set rule on how low your should go, obviously do what you’re comfortable with.
  4. Slowly raise the weight back up to the overhead position.

That’s one rep! Keep it up, and you’ll have sculpted arms in no time!’


5. Shoulder press

The shoulder press is a tough workout (you’ll feel the burn quick!) but it’s highly effective at toning the shoulders.

You can use dumbbells or a barbell. Even use regular full water bottles if you’d like. Just make sure it’s not too heavy, or even close to it. Remember, this is a tough one!

This exercise will make carrying those heavy bags of groceries way easier than before.

How to do a shoulder press:

  1. Stand with feet hip width apart. Or you can sit. Just make sure your back is straight and you’re not slouching.
  2. Hold the dumbbells in each hand palms facing forward, elbows raised. Form a 90 degree angle with each arm. If you cannot raise the weight to a 90 degree angle, the weight is too heavy. This position is your starting point.
  3. Raise the dumbbells up towards the ceiling while straightening your arms.
  4. Slowly bring them back to the 90 degree angle.

Whew, what a workout! The shoulder press always gets me!


6. Plank

The plank, everyone’s favorite exercise. Well, not really. But there is a reason it’s on this list.

It is amazing at toning not only the upper body, but your core as well. So I’ll get summer ready arms and abs at the same time? Count me in!

Planks work your shoulders and your abdominal muscles.

How to do a plank:

  1. Get in to a position that is similar to a push-up position.
  2. Place your hands on the floor in front of you, shoulders width apart, and extend your legs behind you.
  3. Press your toes into the floor and hold yourself up with your hands.
  4. Keep your back as straight as possible. Do not let your back sag.

Hold this pose for as long as you can!

You can try a different variation, use your forearms flat on the floor to hold you up instead of just your hands.

Try to increase your time holding a plank each day! I know it’s tough, but a few seconds is better than not exercising at all!


7. Skull crushers

Yet another tricep workout. I like to mix things up and keep it interesting by not doing the same workout day in and day out. 

Let’s work those triceps again!

How to do skull crushers:

  1. Lie down on a bench.
  2. Keep your feet flat on the floor.
  3. Hold a dumbbell high over your chest with both hands.
  4. Lower the weight behind your head by bending your elbows, keep the rest of your arms steady.

Yes, this is just a different way to do a tricep extension but with a much cooler name.


8. Dumbbell row

This is a great one for working out your back and your biceps at the same time, but you’ll really feel it in your back. Might as well knock them out at the same time!

Who doesn’t want a nice looking back too?

How to do a dumbbell row:

  1. Using a weight bench, half of your body should be kneeling on the bench. Like getting on your hands and knees but only half of your body.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in the opposite hand down by the bench.
  3. Pull the dumbbell towards your chest, but not past the chest.
  4. Slowly lower the weight to the starting position.
  5. Do your totals reps, then switch sides.

Dumbbell rows are one of my favorite exercises to do in the gym!

9. Lateral raise

A lateral raise is another one of those tough shoulder exercises. If you struggle on shoulder day, just know you’re not alone. I’m right there with you!

But don’t skip shoulder day! Toned shoulders are important too!

How to do a shoulder raise:

  1. Stand with feet hip width apart.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand by your side, palms facing in.
  3. Raise the dumbbells out on each side to shoulder height. Keep your arms straight.
  4. Slowly lower the weights back down.

Make sure you are not using weights that are too heavy! If you cannot do 5-6 reps then you should get lighter weights.


All of these arm toning exercises will give you slim arms, along with a healthy diet. 

How will you create an upper body workout routine? Leave a comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: