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Best Arm Workouts

Feb/05/2022 / by KT Hall
arm workouts
Image credits: Shutterstock

Girls and curls! Whether you are looking for the best arm workouts to add to your weekly routine or you want to rock a fab bod at a big party or event, sculpting your arms is a must. While most men overtrain their arms for added definition, women just want that sleek and fit look (and no jiggly-wiggly jello arms!).

The best arm exercises are easy to do and you can lose the extra fat. Hence, you can follow a video example and start getting more definition in no time. Let’s take a look at the best arm workouts at home or in the gym so you can start working those triceps and biceps!

Arming Yourself: Muscle Definitions

Your arms are divided into different groups of muscles. You have both biceps and triceps:

Biceps

Biceps (Latin for two heads) include brachialis and biceps brachii (Latin for of the arm). Biceps include a short and a long head and are the muscles in the front upper section of your arm. Your biceps work to bend and extend the elbow and they also turn the forearm. It’s why you curl dumbbells when you lift them.

To strengthen your biceps, do:

  • High cable curls
  • Preacher curls
  • Lying cable concentration curls
  • Hammer curls
  • Reverse curls
  • Incline dumbbell curls

Triceps

Your triceps include three heads (long, lateral and medial). Body fat accumulates in your triceps as you age. Hence, you might see sagging under your arms that resembles bat wings (who knew you could fly?). Hence, exercising your triceps by lifting dumbbells can help remove excess fat and tone and tighten those loose and flabby areas.

To strengthen your triceps, do:

  • Shoulder extensions
  • One-arm cable push-downs
  • Triceps kick-backs
  • Overhead dips or extensions

Should You Do Arm Day Workouts?

A question some women ask is how often to exercise their arms or what is the best arm day workout. Another question is what are the easy arm workouts you can do without equipment.

Generally speaking, if you are into serious lifting, then set aside a day of the week for arms and upper body strength training at the gym. However, mix it up as there are plenty of exercises you can do at home yourself with dumbbells and kettlebells. Then, set aside a few days at the gym for the bench press, dip machine and other types of equipment.

Mix up your workouts to focus on your arms, shoulders and your chest or do arms and your back. That way you won’t have boring workouts or risk tearing a tendon from over-exercise.

Let’s take a look at the best arm exercises you can do at home or the gym.

Best Arm Workouts for Women

If you’re looking for good arm workouts at home, choose 8-10 of the exercises below for your workout and complete 12-15 repetitions (reps). Then, do them for 2 or 3 sets (in a row). Doing these 3 times weekly and you will see more strength, toning and definition in your arms in as little as 2 weeks.

Bench Press

The bench press strengthens the upper back, pectorals and shoulder muscles.

  • Start by lying back on a weight bench.
  • Place your feet evenly planted on the ground.
  • With a dumbbell in both hands, pull each dumbbell up and near your chest. You can also do this with a bar with no weights on it. Then push it away again.
  • Do 12-15 reps for 2 or 3 sets or as many as you can do. However, don’t over due these or your chest may feel sore the next day.

Bicep Curls

This exercise works the forearms and bicep muscles.

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Hold a dumbbell down at your side and in your left hand.
  • With your palm up, bend your arm and bring the bicep up toward your chest. Then, lower your arm.
  • Repeat 12-15 times before switching to the right arm.

Dumbbell Press and Curls

Dumbbell curls work the shoulders and biceps.

  • Stand with dumbbells by your sides and your feet hip-width apart.
  • With your palms facing you, bring your arms up toward your shoulders then to the ceiling.
  • Hold that position for a few seconds and then bring your arms back down again.
  • Do 12-15 reps.

Dumbbell Extensions (Kickbacks)

Dumbbell extensions are a great way to give your triceps more definition.

  • Hold dumbbells in both your hands and bend forward slightly.
  • Keep your spine straight and neck up. As you bend your elbows, keep your arms close to your torso.
  • Extend each arm, left and then right behind you and flex your tricep muscle with each extension. Then, bring your arm back to the starting position.
  • Do 12-15 reps on both sides.

Dumbbell Pullovers

Pullovers stretch and strengthen the upper arms, shoulders, upper back, and sides of your torso.

  • Lie down on your back on a mat or towel with a dumbbell in your hands. Bring the dumbbell up with both arms straight up over your chest.
  • Bend at the knees and keep your feet flat on the floor.
  • Engage your core and abs as you hold the dumbbell and slowly raise it over your head and then bring it behind you. Ensure your elbows have a slight bend and your arms are close to your body.
  • Once your arms are parallel with the ground, bring them back to the starting position. Do 12-15 reps.

Dumbbell Punch

When it comes to the best exercises to tone arms, dumbbell punches can strengthen and tighten your upper body.

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides.
  • With your knees slightly bent, air box with your arms in front of you as you hold the dumbbells.
  • Do the left side first and then the right for 60-seconds each.
  • When you change from left to right and vice versa, ensure your arms stay up at shoulder height. Don’t jerk your body but let your hips rotate naturally with each punch.

Dumbbell Raises

Dumbbell Raises work your upper back, triceps and shoulders.

  • Stand or sit for this one. If you’re standing, keep your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees slightly and hold a dumbbell (not heavy, start with 2-5 lbs.) with your hands.
  • Bring your arms up over your head with the dumbbell and hold it vertically.
  • Your elbows should point up so keep your arms close to your head.
  • Let your wrists stay straight but bend your elbows as you lower the weight behind the back of your head. Then, raise your arms up again as you hold the dumbbell. Repeat this 12-15 times.

Dumbbell Rows

Dumbbell rows target the upper back and shoulders.

  • Kneel over a weight bench with your right knee and hold onto it for support with your right hand. Then in your left hand, hold a dumbbell.
  • With your back and upper body straight and abs squeezed, lift the weight until your arm becomes parallel with your shoulder.
  • Keep that elbow slightly and slightly behind you. Then bring the weight down to starting position.
  • Complete 12-15 reps. Then switch to the other side.

Kettlebell Swings

  • Kettlebell swings work the abs, shoulders, hamstrings and glutes.
  • Standing with your feet hip-width apart, hold a kettlebell in both hands.
  • Bend your legs into a semi-squatting position and bring the kettlebell down. Then, in one movement, stand back up with your legs straight and bring your arms to eye level.
  • Repeat this movement for 60-seconds or do 12-15 reps.

Lateral Side Raises

  • Standing with your knees slightly bent, put a dumbbell in both your hands and let them rest at your sides.
  • With your elbows slightly bent, bring your arms up by your sides so they are parallel with your shoulders.
  • Keep your palms facing the ground.
  • Bring your arms back down and repeat these for 12-15 reps.

Plank to Pushup

Planks work your arms, core and shoulders.

  • Lie on the floor as if you were about to do a pushup but do a high-plank position. Where you are resting your upper body weight on your hands, not your elbows.
  • Keep your hands beneath your shoulders and engage your abs and core.
  • Lift your left arm and put your elbow on the floor then do the right to get into a standard plank pose. Then go back to the starting position by lifting your left elbow up and putting your hand back and then do the right side.
  • Time these to see how many you can do in 1-2 minutes.

Pushups

  • Push-ups work the shoulder muscles (deltoids, pectorals). Lie on your stomach on a mat or towel on the floor.
  • Keep your feet a few inches apart. With your hands flat on the floor slightly wider than your shoulders, lift your body up until your arms are extended. Then, lower your body back to the floor by bending your arms again.
  • Beginners: Keep your knees down and only raise your upper body. Pros: Raise up on your hands and feet/toes with your body straight in a plane.
  • Do 12-15 reps and aim for 3 sets.

Rear Deltoid Fly or Back Fly

A back fly can exercise the upper and middle shoulders and back shoulder muscles.

  • Stand with a dumbbell in both hands. Put your left foot in front of you by several inches like you’re going into a lunge.
  • With your core, abs and back straight, lean forward slightly and keep your shoulders down.
  • Bring your arms straight down to the ground and then slowly raise them to your sides until they are parallel with your shoulders. Keep your palms down. Then bring your arms back into the original position.
  • Do 12 to 15 reps.

Single Arm Push-Press

Push-presses work the shoulders, legs and glutes.

  • Standing with your feet hip-width apart, put a kettlebell in your left hand and hold it near your chest (like a purse or backpack). Keep that elbow tucked close to you.
  • The weight of the kettlebell can rest on your forearm. Then, lower your body into a squat and keep your abs and core tight.
  • With your heels deeply pressed into the mat, push the kettlebell up toward the ceiling as you straighten your arm (palm facing forward).
  • Return to the original position and do this for a half minute before switching sides.

Single-Leg Tricep Dips

This challenging version of tricep dips works the glutes, core, biceps, triceps and shoulders.

  • Sit on a bench, chair or box with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Put one hand on the edge of the bench, chair or box. Extend your left leg as you lift yourself off the chair, bench or box. Then bring your body down bending to 90-degrees.
  • Ensure your hips are level and your elbow stays close to your body.
  • Push yourself back up on the seat and do 12-15 reps. You can also use a park bench or stairs.

Tricep Dips

Tricep dips exercise the shoulders, biceps and triceps.

  • Sit on a chair or bench with your knees bent 90-degrees and your feet flat on the ground.
  • Hold the sides of the chair or bench with your hands near your hips.
  • Push your butt off the chair or bench slightly and bring your body down 2-3 inches below the chair as you support your body weight on your arms.
  • With your elbows tight and close to your body, raise your body back up onto the chair or bench to your starting position.
  • Do 12-15 reps. Pros: Hold a large dumbbell between your knees or spread your feet and legs out in a wider stance.

Tricep Pushups

Tricep pushups can strengthen your core, pectorals and deltoid muscles.

  • Lie on your belly on a mat or towel with your upper body up resting on your hands. Keep your knees on the floor and feet up.
  • Keep your hands under your chest like you’re doing regular pushups.
  • Squeeze your abdominals and bend your arms to bring your upper body toward the ground.
  • Let your elbows tucked behind you, not facing out. Then, raise your arms up to start again. Repeat 12-15 times and do as many as you can.

Looking to keep that exercise flow going? Then you might want to check out Boarding the Planking Bandwagon

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