Best Arm Workouts for Toned and Strong Arms

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Group of people doing arm workouts in gym together

Arm workouts can provide better shape and strength to the arms, shoulders, back, and even the core. Here are a few but best arm exercises that you can try to get those toned and stronger arms.

Flabby arms, or too skinny ones? Toned vs untoned arms – between the two lies a range of reasons why people look for arm workouts.

Some want to lose fat, some want to lose the “bat wings” after losing fat. Some want to have slender, toned arms while some others need to bulk them up a bit. Primarily, most of our motivations to take up arm exercises are less health-driven and more body-image-driven?

Feeling good about oneself is always a good reason to start any fitness journey. But, an even better reason is living a fit, strong and healthy life. Our arms, hands, and fingers are possibly the most worked and exhausted parts of our body. Keeping them in good health makes everyday activities like typing, writing, carrying groceries, or even driving long hours, less strenuous.

Arm exercises for women

Large and curvy, or slim and petite, flabby, untoned arms are a near-universal problem among women. But there is more to arm health than rocking that sleeveless outfit or those skin-tight gym tees.

Don’t let the world fool you into believing that women’s bodies do not take much physical strain or require less strength. Most women lead the hardest of lives with back-breaking work. Those aren’t flabby, unhealthy arms: they are the arms that carry everything from groceries, squealing babies, to mountains of laundry.

And we haven’t yet started with women who do other stuff like high stress office work, on-field jobs like reporting from war zones, or doing humanitarian or aid work (they are mostly women). Then there are the sportswomen, adventure junkies, and women who simply love workouts and/or muscle.

Whatever be your reasons to start with arm exercises, you have made a great decision. Here are a few arm workout routines that might help you get the arms you always wanted:

Workouts for toned arms with weights

Bicep Curl: These are the simplest and the most basic of weight-based arm exercises. Take a pair of small dumbbells, whose weight you are comfortable with. Standing erect while your feet are hip-width apart. Hold the weights with your palms facing outwards.

Without moving your upper arms, bend your lower arms, bringing the weights up to your shoulder level. Return your arms back to the starting point. Repeat.

Overhead Tricep Extension/Lying Overhead Tricep Extension: Stretch both arms over your shoulders and hold a dumbbell behind your head. Bend the elbows to lower the dumbbell and then lift it back again. Repeat this. Lying overhead tricep extension is done with the same move, but lying down. Lying flat on your back hold one dumbbell in each hand. Start with arms straight up and slowly bend elbows to bring the dumbbells toward the floor (near your temples). Repeat the move.

Cactus arms: Stand erect and hold dumbbells in your arms. Bend them to a 90 degrees angle in front of your face. Slowly open the arms while still at a 90 degrees angle until they are on the sides of your head. Return to starting position and repeat.

Workouts for toned arms without weights

Push-ups: These are great for arms, abs, and leg muscles simultaneously. Push-ups require no equipment whatsoever and give you perfectly toned muscles with the help of your own body weight.

Start from a plank position. Slowly bend your elbows bringing your entire body down. Slowly lift the body back to the starting position. Repeat this.

Scissors: As the name suggests, this arm workout resembles the movement of a pair of scissors. Stand straight, and extend your arms out on both sides of your body. Move them to the front of your body until both arms have crossed one another. Go back to the original position.

Do this repeatedly by exchanging the arm on top with the arm below. If your right arm was the top blade of the scissor, let it be the bottom blade in the next rep.

Arm circles: This is one of the most effective ways to tackle stubbornly flabby arms. Just stand with your arms stretched outwards and start circling them in forward circles 30-40 times. Stop for a minute and repeat with backward circles.

Workouts for toned arms at home

The beauty of localized arm exercises is that you can do them anywhere with minimum equipment. All the exercises listed above can be done at home with minimum space for risk-free movement. Even the exercises with weights can be performed substitutes such as 2-liter water bottles, pails, and so on.

Perfect, strong, and healthy bodies don’t need to come at a big price. Unhealthy bodies might cost you a lot though.

Arm exercises for men

The most common motivation for men to take up arm exercises is the idea of beefy biceps and triceps. A strong bulky upper body sloping into perfectly toned and streamlined abs is an image to die in your gym for. Or, is it?

The majority among us are no GQ models, nor do they aspire to be one. The majority among us do aspire for a strong body with no loose muscles or fat layers anywhere. We wish to be able to do difficult work or workouts without our arms screaming in pain.

Arm exercises is a misleading name. A study [1]National Academy of Sports Medicine: THE 9 BEST ARM EXERCISES FOR DEFINITION & STRENGTH suggests that most arm exercises automatically engage different muscles in the shoulders, back, and even the core. This way arm exercises provide more health benefits than you can imagine.

Strong arm exercises for muscle building and arm strength

Lateral raise: These arm arising exercises are performed with a pair of dumbbells. Sit or stand with dumbbells of comfortable weight in each hand. Now raise the dumbbells on both sides of your body until they are parallel to the floor. Return back.

Chin-ups: A variant of the classic pull-up, chin-ups are also performed on a pull-up bar. Here you grip the bar from an underhand position so that your chin faces the bar, not your back. Pull yourself up from this position, and then slowly release back. Repeat.

Barbell Curls: Barbell curls are most commonly preferred for building bicep muscles. To do these curls stand erect holding the barbells with both hands, slightly away from the hip. Curl the bar up to your shoulder level and then return back to the hips slowly.

Close Grip: A variant of a wide-grip bicep curl. This one does the same move with the wrists closer to each other on the bar.

Stand erect with both hands clutching the barbell while nearly touching each other. Raise the barbell slowly until it is resting close to your chest. Now slowly return back to the starting position. These strong arm exercises are intended to promote muscle building and arm strength.

Tips to do those perfect arm workouts

  1. To get better results from your arm exercises bring about relevant changes to your diet. If you are building arm muscles you need a mild calorie surplus. If you need to lose arm weight/fat, you will need to create a calorie deficit. The diet for both surplus and deficit has to be planned very carefully.
  2. Warm up for a couple of minutes before your workouts. After each one of your arm exercises, take a minute’s break and cool down before starting the next exercise.
  3. Always mind your posture. Make sure your back, and legs, are in the right positions.
  4. If you are a beginner, try out beginner exercises that work on isolated arm muscles and muscle groups in your body. That way, you will reap wonderful fitness benefits from your exercises.
  5. Ideally, stick to arm exercises for only 2-3 days a week. To train your arms daily you may have to factor in your own fitness levels and the volume of your workout.
  6. Using heavyweights in a gym isn’t compulsory. Use everyday objects or your body weight for stunning results. Only warning: do everything with the help of expert guidance.
  7. Arm exercises tend to reach a plateau after some time. Initially, you may lose an inch from arms in 3-4 weeks, or gain an inch of muscle in a week. But you will have to improve your workout routine once the changes stop showing up.
  8. Beginners should never start big. Start your arm workout routine slowly and then build up momentum as you progress. Torn and strained muscles will give you neither slim arms nor big ones.

How to avoid/heal arm-workout, muscle strain?

A mild level of muscle soreness is common after workouts, especially if you are a beginner. It is called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) [2]PubMed: Delayed onset muscle soreness : treatment strategies and performance factors. It normally begins 6-8 hours after beginning a new exercise or increasing the intensity of a previous one.

Muscle pain for longer than 72 hours, making everyday activities difficult, is a bad sign. This could mean a serious muscle strain. There are several ways to avoid this.

Warm-ups and cool-downs are important primarily because they prevent major muscle strains. Combine your workouts with specific stretches like bicep stretch, cross-body stretch, or side bends.

Take breaks to stay hydrated. Water keeps your joints lubricated. It also helps to regulate your body temperature.

In case of muscle injury, soreness or extended pain try:

  • Rest
  • Hot/cold compresses
  • Elevation of the sore parts of the body


In conclusion, incorporating arm workouts into your weight loss routine is a great way to burn fat and tone your muscles. Some effective exercises include push-ups, bicep curls, chin-ups, and more. Remember to prioritize consistency, progressive overload, and proper form for optimal results.

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