8 Exercises to Help You Tone Your Arms

We all have areas in our bodies that we’re self-conscious about and want to work on. Perhaps it’s your belly or your legs. For many, it’s upper arms, and while this time of year you may be more covered up, it’s not a permanent solution. The good news is that with persistence, consistency, and the right exercises, you can start growing and strengthening those arm muscles.

If toning your arms has been one of your goals forever, try adding these underarm exercises to your routine three times a week. If you are new to the fitness world, we recommend using 3-5 pound dumbbells.

NOTE: Some exercises may be easier than others, so feel free to alternate between weights.

arm exercises for women

Best Arm Exercises for Women

Here’s a list of easy arm-toning exercises for you to try at home or your gym. Ready to get started? Grab your dumbbells, and give them a try! This is not a comprehensive arm workout, but you can supplement your regular upper-body session.

 Side Raise

Works: deltoids (shoulders)

  • Stand straight, holding a dumbbell in both hands. Palms facing in, let your arms hang by your sides.
  • Raise your arms out to the sides until the dumbbells are level with your shoulders. (Keep a slight bend in your elbows as you raise the weights).
  • Lower your arms slowly in the original position; complete 10 to 12 reps.

best arm exercises


Works: pectorals, deltoids (shoulders)

  • Lie on the floor with your belly facing the floor. Place your feet about 15-20 centimeters apart. Put your hands flat on the floor (slightly wider than shoulder-width apart).
  •  Come up to your toes and raise your body off the ground until your arms are fully extended. Slowly bend your arms and lower your body back to the ground.
  • Stop about 10-15 centimeters to the ground, keeping your back and legs as straight as possible.
  • Lift back up. That’s the first push-up.
  • If this is too difficult, try the exercise with your knees on the ground. Or even better, do it standing, using a wall instead. But we recommend you aim for the original one.
  • Do three sets of 5-8 reps.

Overhead Extension

Works: shoulders, triceps, upper back (dumbbell needed)

  • Stand with knees slightly bent, feet hip-width apart, taking the dumbbell with both hands.
  • Move your arms overhead with the dumbbell (vertically). Try to keep your wrists straight, your upper arms close to your head, and elbows aiming at the ceiling. Bend your elbows slowly as you lower the dumbbell behind your head.
  • Straighten your arms up; do three sets of 10 to 12 reps.

Biceps Curl

Works: forearms and biceps (dumbbell needed)

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, gripping a dumbbell in your hand.
  • Bend your elbow and pull the dumbbell towards your shoulders.
  • Lower your arm slowly. Do three sets of 10 to 12 reps. Repeat with the other arm.

Dumbbell Row

Works: upper back and shoulders

  • Put your knee and one hand on a bench, holding a dumbbell in your free hand. Keep your back straight and your elbow slightly bent. 
  • Squeeze the abdominal muscles and lift the weight upwards until your elbow is slightly behind you.
  • Return to the original position to complete the rep. Do three sets of 10 to 12 reps, and repeat with the other arm.

Bench Press

Works: pectorals, shoulders, and upper back (equipment needed)

  • Lie on your back, on a bench-press machine, and set both feet securely on the ground.
  • Grab the barbell firmly with both hands.
  • Remove the barbell from the hook, slowly pull it down toward your chest, and slowly push back up. Do three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions using as much weight as you can handle.

Triceps Dips

Works: triceps, shoulders, and biceps

  • Sit on the edge of a bench (or stable surface), keeping your knees bent at a 90-degree angle and feet planted firmly on the ground.
  • Place your hands on the edge of the bench by your hips.
  • Push yourself off the bench and slowly lower your body down, bending your elbows.
  • Raise your body back to its original position.
  • Do three sets of 10-12 reps. (To spice up the exercise, hold one dumbbell between your knees or extend legs all the way out)

Back Fly

Works: Back and shoulders, upper and mid-back

  • With a dumbbell in both hands, place your right foot slightly forward. Bend your front leg into a half-lunge and lean forward slightly. Keep your abs tight and back straight. 
  • With your arms straight down toward the ground, make sure your hands and dumbbells are aligned under your shoulders. Slowly raise your arms upwards to the sides, elbows slightly bent, until hands reach just under shoulder height.
  • Slowly lower arms back to the original position. Do three sets of 10 to 12 reps.


You may think strengthening your arms requires hours in the gym and loads of equipment. But all you need to carve some strong arms is just a pair of dumbbells and some time. Try the arm toning exercises above two to three times a week for added arm strength and some sharp definition in your triceps, shoulders, and biceps. Looking for more workout guides?

Everything You Should Know About Strength Training Exercises

Best Shoulder Exercises and Workouts for Women

How to Lose Arm Fat

The Definitive Guide to Doing a Bench Press With Proper Form




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