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You may think arm toning exercises are only for the likes of J.Lo or Michelle O‘ – women with gams to rival the best and who work hard in the gym to achieve them.

But it doesn’t just have to be for those with decked out home gyms, trainers on call or exercise aficionados: you can tone and sculpt lean upper arm muscle even if you’re a beginner!

Which muscles make up the upper arm?

To know which muscles you’re targeting with these toning exercises,;elm:context_link;itc:0″ class=”link “>arm toning exercises, let’s take it back to school with a quickie revision sesh:

Front upper arm muscles:

  • Biceps Brachii – often referred to as just biceps, this muscle begins at the front and back of your shoulder and joins together again around the elbow.

Then, there’re the muscles which make up the back part of your upper arm:

  • Triceps Brachii – often referred to as just triceps, this muscle lays along the back of the upper arm and helps with forearm extension.

8 arm toning exercises for lean upper arms

Ready to get into it? We thought so. If you find any of these exercises too difficult, don’t be afraid to scale back – whether that means dropping to your knees, reducing the weight, or slowing the movement down. Do what’s best for you.

1. Shoulder taps

In a high plank position, tap your opposite hand to opposite shoulder, making sure to keep your core engaged and hips level.

Drop your knees to the floor if this move is too hard to do on the balls of your feet. Try to keep your core engaged and with a high straight diagonal line from shoulders to hips whilst you perform the move.

2. Air punches

In a standing position, punch out – with power – directly in front of you. Try not to lock out your knees – keep a soft bend and engage through your core to stabilise yourself.

3. High plank

Get into a high plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders, core braced, bum tight and feet together. Try to keep a high, straight diagonal between your shoulders and hips.

4. Push-ups on knees

  1. Get into plank position, with your hands under but slightly outside of your shoulders. Drop your knees to the floor – make sure your body still forms a high diagonal between shoulders and hips.

  2. Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor. As you lower yourself, tuck your elbows, pulling them close to your body so that your upper arms form a 45-degree angle when your torso is in the bottom position of the move.

  3. Pause, then push back to the starting position as quickly as possible. Keep your core braced the entire time.

If your hips sag at any point during the exercise, your form has been broken. When this happens, consider that your last repetition and end the set.

5. Commandos

a) Get in a press-up position with hands flat on the ground.

b) One hand at a time, lower yourself onto your forearms and hold plank position.

c) Raise yourself back into press-up position and repeat.

6. Push-ups

a) Get into plank position, with your hands under but slightly outside of your shoulders.

b) Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor. As you lower yourself, tuck your elbows, pulling them close to your body so that your upper arms form a 45-degree angle when your torso is in the bottom position of the move.

c) Pause, then push back to the starting position as quickly as possible. Keep your core braced the entire time.

7. Walkouts

a) Standing at the top of your mat, roll down and walk your hands out until you’re in a high plank position.

b) Keeping elbows close to your ribs, engage your core and pause.

c) Walk your hands back towards your feet. Roll up and repeat.

8. Lay down push-ups

a) Lie on your stomach with arms out in front of you and legs straight behind, with toes pointing to the floor.

b) Placing both hands either side of your chest, extend your arms and lift up into a push-up, resting on the balls of your feet. Lower your body slowly back to the floor keeping your back straight.

How do I add weights to my arm toning exercises?

So glad you asked! If you’re ready to up the ante, you could consider adding some weights into your routine. These moves are super simple and easy to follow, even if you’re new to strength training – all you need are a pair of dumbbells.

9. Bicep Curls

  1. Start with a dumbbell in each hand, arms down and palms facing your body.

  2. Rotate each hand so your palms face forwards. Keeping a slight bend in the knees, activate your glutes.

  3. Engaging your core to avoid any sway in the hips, bend your arms, lifting the weights to chest height in a slow, controlled movement.

  4. Keep your shoulders relaxed and down, and keep your head, neck and spine neutral. Don’t arch your back.

  5. In another slow, controlled movement, lower the weights back down to your thighs by straightening your arms.

10. Dumbbell front raise

  1. Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent, hold the dumbbells in an overhand grip in front of your hips.

  2. Keeping your arms straight, lift the weights up and out until they’re at shoulder height, engaging your core to avoid leaning back.

  3. Pause, then slowly lower the dumbbells back down in front of your body for a count of four seconds. That’s one rep.


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