12 Exercises for strong, toned arms
Want a stronger, sleeker upper body? There are moves you can bust out for strong, toned arms without turning into the Incredible Hulk – just in time for the warmer weather. Most of these moves can be carried out at home without the need for expensive gadgets – all you need is your own bodyweight (and maybe some dumbbells). Try some of these today and enjoy increased upper body strength and noticeably toned arms; these moves work for both men and women.
#1. Boxing – Pilates Style
Great for: burning fat
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Now bend your knees, hinging forward at the waist as you maintain a neutral spine. Raise your fists up to your shoulders, keep your elbows up then box your right hand forward as you clench your abs. Bring your hands back to the centre and switch sides. Box for 20 reps on each side.
#2. Hip Rotator Push-Up
Great for: strong, toned arms
Start in the "up" position of a push-up. Now lower your chest, bending your elbows at a 90° angle. Lifting your right hand and left foot, rotate your upper body to the right as you bring your left knee across your body towards your right armpit. Now pivot on your right foot and keep rotating your torso until you are face up. Lift your hips until your torso is in tabletop position. Lift your left hand and right foot, rotating your body to the right, pivoting on your left foot until you are back in the "up" position of a push-up.
#3. Tricep Swing
Great for: getting rid of 'bat wings'
You'll need two 5-lb dumbbells for this move. Lie face-up upon the floor with your feet on the floor and your knees bent. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, keeping them a few inches off the floor. Keep your arms straight as you raise your left arm over your chest whilst your right arm stays over your head. Now lower to start and repeat. Aim for 15 reps with each arm and a total of 2 to 3 sets.
#4. Side-Plank Press
Great for: Strengthening your shoulders and your back
You want to start in a modified side-plank position with your legs stacked and your knees bent. You can use a kettlebell, or water bottle, as a weight for this move. Hold your kettlebell (or water bottle) in your right hand, right elbow bent and your bodyweight resting on your forearm. Lift your hips so your body is in a straight line from your knees to your shoulders and press the kettlebell up to the ceiling. Aim for three sets on each site.
#5. Split Squat Rotation
Great for: Strengthening your glutes, arms and legs
You will need a 5 to 10-lb medicine ball, or a stack of books for this move. Stand with your feet together, holding the ball or books at chest level. Now step your left foot back, lowering into a squat with your right knee bent. Push into your right leg as you straighten both legs and twist your torso. Push the medicine ball over your right shoulder then return to your previous position. Continue for 30 seconds before switching sides and repeating.
#6. Alternate Arm and Leg Lift
Great for: Toning arms and legs whilst stretching your back
Get down on all fours on an exercise mat, then reach your right arm forward as you stretch your left leg back and flex your foot – hold this for 5 seconds. Release, then repeat using your left arm and right leg. Congratulations; that's one rep – now you want to do 10 to 15!
#7. Dumbbell Curl
Great for: Toning and strengthening your biceps
The simple dumbbell curl makes this list because it's just so damn good at toning and strengthening your arms! For added bulk, you can increase the weight you're lifting as you gain strength, or stick with lighter weights, if you don't want to add too much muscle.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing out. Bend your left arm 90 degrees so your left arm is parallel to the floor. Now curl your right hand towards your shoulder and lower it back to starting position whilst keeping your left arm in place. Do 8 curls before switching sides. Make sure you keep both elbows close to your ribs.
#8. Chair Dips
Great for: Targeting the backs of your arms
We don't recommend you try this with an office chair with wheels – but any other type of chair is fine!
Sit on the edge of your chair with your feet together and place your hands on the seat, either side of your thighs. Bend your elbows 90 degrees, lowering yourself towards the floor. Now straighten your arms and raise your body back to the start. Aim for 8 reps.
#9. The Cobra
Great for: Easing shoulder pain and relieving stress
This is a great move to do before your upper-body workout, or afterwards, to relieve tight shoulders and help you relax.
Lie face-down on the floor, palms near your chest. Now lift your head, shoulders and chest off the floor as you pull your shoulder blades down and together. Hold for a count of 2 then lower. Complete 8 to 10 reps.
#10. Dumbbell Pullovers
Great for: Toning your jiggly arms
Lie on an exercise bench or couch cushion on the floor and hold one dumbbell with both hands, extending your hands above your chest. Slowly raise your arms over your head, lowering the weight behind your head, then returning to the start. The key here is to take it slowly, to avoid injury. Aim for 15 slow, steady reps – you'll feel the ache in your armpits with this move!
#11. Wide Push-Up
Great for: Toning your chest, triceps and shoulders
Begin in a push-up position with your legs extended and your palms flat on the floor, 6 to 12 inches outside your shoulders; make sure you keep your core engaged. Now bend your elbows to 90 degrees and lower your chest towards the floor, press back up to start and then repeat. We like to do 10 to 12 reps.
#12. Balancing Biceps and Triceps
Great for: Strengthening your core and glutes whilst working your arms
Stand with your feet together and a dumbbell in each hand, palms forward. Lift your right foot and balance on your left leg, knee slightly bent. Now curl the weights towards your shoulders, lower and repeat. Try for 10 to 12 reps.
Now switch legs, balancing on your right leg. Hinge forward and bend your elbows, keeping the weights near your chest. Press your weights behind your body and keep your arms close to your sides. Return to the centre and repeat for 10 to 12 reps.