11 Moves for Tight and Toned Arms

When the weather's warm that means sundresses, tank tops, swimsuits, and lots of skin. Tight and toned arms are not only a sign of your strength, but might I also add they are sexy. Not only that, think about all your arms do: lifting groceries, pushing lawn mowers, carrying baskets of laundry or boxes to the basement. Arms are busy, and we want them to be both functional and beautiful.

So, how do you achieve tight, toned arms? This dumbbell workout is designed to target all of the muscles that make arms shapely and fit: biceps, triceps, and shoulders. But before we tackle the workout, there are other things that will influence how your arms look. Let’s take a look at a few other key facts about getting great arms.

Be Consistent

Like everything else on our body, if you don’t use it, you lose it. In order to have great arms, you can’t just start a routine—you have to stick with it! The changes you make when you develop the new habits need to continue in order for the results to stick around.

Use the Proper Weight

When using dumbbells, make sure you are using the proper weight. How do you know? You should be able to do 12 to 15 repetitions with your chosen weight, but you should be struggling with the last rep. All too often we go for the lighter weights so as not to “bulk up.” The truth is that in order to exhibit any change in muscle strength, the weights have to be heavy enough to make a difference.

Change It Up

This is a great workout, but your arms, like every muscle in your body, will get bored with the same routine. It’s good to establish something you can do and something you like, but it's important to change it every couple weeks. The good news is you don’t have to change the entire routine. Even just changing up the weight and going a little heavier will be something new. However, if you are bored with what you do, go ahead and switch up the workout and try something new.

Diet and Cardio

Keep in mind that spot reducing is not possible. The American Council on Exercise echoes this, saying, “The concept of spot reduction follows the false belief that training a specific muscle will result in fat loss in that area of the body.” In other words, all the arm exercises in the world won't uncover beautiful, sculpted arms if there is too much fat sitting on top op them. Make sure you eat well and get your fat-burning cardio in addition to your awesome arm workout.

OK, enough talk. Let's get to the action. For each of the following moves, perform 12 to 15 repetitions or until your arms are really ready to give in! Rest for 30 to 60 seconds and then move on to the next exercise.  Some moves will isolate and keep you focused. Some of the moves involve arms but in a way that gets your heart rate up and burns those calories a little more. One time through the routine should be plenty, but if you’re having a “get it done” kind-of-day and want more, go through the moves a second time.

1
Downward Dog Push-Up

Downward Dog Push-Up
Ben Goldstein

This is a great move to strengthen all arms muscles plus stretch out the upper back and shoulders.

  1. Start in a high plank position, your palms under your shoulders, your core tight, and your body forming a straight line from heels to head. 
  2. Lift your hips and press your glutes toward the ceiling, extending your arms upward from your shoulders until your body forms an inverted "V." Articulate your tailbone upward and enjoy the stretch. 
  3. Return back to a high plank position. 
  4. Perform a pushup, bending your elbows and lowering your chest toward the floor. 
  5. Press back to the high plank position and continue. 

2
Push Up

Push up
Ben Goldstein

All arms muscles play this game, plus core, plus back, plus cardio! Be sure to follow proper form.

  1. Start in high plank position with your palms under your shoulders, but slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. 
  2. Make sure your body forms a straight line from heels to head. Tighten your core to support the exercise. 
  3. Bend your elbows, lowering your chest toward the floor. Make sure your elbows bend backward at roughly 45-degrees from your body, so they're not fixed to your side or splaying outward. 
  4. When your chest is just a few inches from the floor, press through your palms, extend your elbows, and return to the high plank position to continue. 

3
Elevated Bicep Curl

Elevated Bicep Curl
Ben Goldstein

Buck the traditional bicep curl; anyone can do that! This one will challenge your arms in a whole, new way. Go with lighter weights than you would on the traditional.

  1. Stand tall, your feet hip-distance apart, your knees slightly bent, holding a dumbbell in each hand. 
  2. Raise your arms, extending them laterally out from your shoulders, your palms facing up. You'll keep your upper arms fixed in this position. 
  3. Bend your elbows, curling your hands toward your ears. 
  4. Keep your upper arms steady and extend your elbows again, returning to the starting position. 

4
Concentration Curls

Concentration Curls
Ben Goldstein

This one is done in a low squat position. Isolating the back of the arms against your legs will force the biceps to work on their own.

  1. With your feet wider than hip-distance apart, your toes angled slightly outward, squat down, lowering your glutes past a 90-degree angle at your knees. Keep your torso tall and fix your upper arms against the inside of each thigh, holding a dumbbell in each hand. 
  2. Maintaining the low-squat position, press your arms into your thighs and bend your elbows, lifting the dumbbells toward your shoulders. 
  3. Reverse the movement and extend your elbows, lowering the dumbbells while maintaining the pressure of your arms against your legs. Continue the exercise. 

5
Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers
Ben Goldstein

Take a moment to get that heart rate up while strengthening your arms with this move. Perform for 30 seconds.

  1. Start in a high plank position, your palms directly under your shoulders, your body extended, and your core tight. 
  2. Draw your right knee toward your chest, planting the ball of your right foot on the ground, keeping your hips low. 
  3. Press through your palms and feet, hopping your feet into the air, switching their positions. Your left knee should land forward, knee drawn toward your chest, your right knee extended behind you. 
  4. Immediately hop both feet back into the air, switching their positions again. 
  5. Continue the exercise as fast as you can while maintaining good form. 

6
Tricep Push up

Tricep push up
Ben Goldstein

This targets the triceps in a new way. Be sure to do 12 to 15 on each side.

  1. Lie on your right side, your legs stacked. Wrap your right arm across your waist, grasping your left side with your right hand. Bend your left elbow and place your left palm flat on the floor directly in front of your chest. 
  2. Tighten your core and press through your left palm, extending your elbow as you push your shoulder and torso away from the floor.
  3. When your elbow is almost fully extended, reverse the movement and lower your shoulder and torso back to the floor. 
  4. Continue the exercise for a full set before switching sides. 

7
Tricep Overhead Extension

Tricep Overhead Extension
Ben Goldstein

 

This triceps move gets a little stability help from the shoulders. Be sure to keep your elbows in close together.

  1. Stand tall, your feet hip-distance apart, your knees slightly bent, your core tight. Hold a dumbbell in both hands over your head, your elbows fully extended.
  2. Bend your elbows, lowering the dumbbell directly behind your head. Keep your upper arms fixed and close to your ears. 
  3. Reverse the movement and extend your elbows, lifting the weight back up over your head. 
  4. Continue the exercise. 

8
Bear Crawl

Bear Crawl
Ben Goldstein

Now that your triceps are on fire, add this little ditty just to finish them off. If you have a big space walk forward as far as you can. If not, 4 steps forward and 4 steps back a few times will do the trick. Thirty seconds will be plenty!

  1. Start on your hands and knees on the floor, your knees directly under your hips, your palms directly under your shoulders. Flex your ankles and dig your toes and the balls of your feet into the floor. 
  2. Press through your palms and feet, lifting your knees from the ground. Your knees will remain lifted throughout the exercise. 
  3. Crawl forward several feet, starting with your right arm, left leg, left arm, right leg, keeping your hips low as you crawl. 
  4. Reverse the movement and crawl back. Continue for a set time period, aiming for a minimum of 30 seconds. 

9
Shoulder Front Raise

Shoulder Front Raise
Ben Goldstein

Move slowly on this one so that momentum doesn’t take over. Pause briefly at the top before lowering with control. You will want to go with lighter weights on this due to the distance the dumbbell is from the body center.

  1. Stand tall with your feet hip-distance apart and knees slightly bent, holding a dumbbell in each hand so your palms are facing your thighs. 
  2. Keeping your arms straight, lift the dumbbells straight forward from your body until the extend straight out from your shoulders. 
  3. Reverse the movement and lower the dumbbells back to your thighs. 
  4. Continue the exercise. 

10
Shoulder Overhead Press

Shoulder Overhead Press
Ben Goldstein

This is the ultimate “I am strong” kind of move. Push heavy weights over your head and watch your shoulders become fit.

  1. Stand tall, your feet hip-distance apart, your knees slightly bent, holding a dumbbell in each hand so they're positioned at your shoulders, your palms facing away from you. 
  2. Press the dumbbells straight up overhead, extending your elbows. 
  3. Bend your elbows and lower the dumbbells back to your shoulders. 
  4. Continue the exercise. 

11
Crab Crawl

Crab crawl
Ben Goldstein

A final cardio pushes the will really challenge the shoulders to their max. Like the crab crawl, just use the space you have. Once you run out of the room, turn around and walk back.

  1. Sit on the ground, your knees bent, your feet planted on the floor. Place your palms on the ground behind your hips. Press through your palms and your feet as you lift your hips, entering a tabletop position. 
  2. Keep your hips lifted and begin crawling backward, leading with your right hand, left foot, left hand, right foot. Crab crawl backward four to eight feet. 
  3. Reverse the movement and crab crawl forward, back to your starting location. 
  4. Continue for a predetermined time, aiming for a minimum of 30 seconds. 

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