Let’s get one piece of business out of the way: you can’t spot-reduce fat in your arms or from any one area of your body. (Raise your hand if you’ve heard that one before!) “While working out a particular area is beneficial for the muscles, this doesn’t translate to targeted fat loss. Instead, it naturally comes off the whole body during exercise,” Amanda Russell, an ACE-certified personal trainer for Valeo Fit, told POPSUGAR.
So, if it’s toned, sculpted arms you’re after, work to create an exercise routine that’s equal parts cardio and strength training, which will help you shed pounds from head to toe. (High-intensity interval training is particularly effective for fat burning, and it’s relatively easy to squeeze into your day.) Then, along the way, try these moves trainers swear by for stronger arms.
Bicep curls are one of the most effective toning exercises you can do with some simple dumbbells, Amanda told POPSUGAR. “Make sure to keep your elbows tight to your sides and your arms curling in front of you, not to the sides,” she said.
•Hold a dumbbell in each hand, with your arms either at your side or resting in front of your thighs, palms facing up.
•Slowly raise the dumbbells toward your chest, keeping your elbows close to your sides and your shoulders down.
•Squeeze your arms at the top of the move, then slowly lower the dumbbells to complete one rep. Repeat for 12-15 reps.
The push-up is a classic move that will never lose its reputation for toning your arms. “For a modification, you can start with arms shoulder-width apart and knees on the floor, and then proceed through the movement the same way,” Amanda said.
•Start in a high plank position with arms shoulder-width apart, shoulders directly over your wrists, and feet slightly spread apart.
•Bend your elbows, lowering your chest toward the ground until your shoulders are about even with your elbows and your nose nearly touches the floor. Engage your core and squeeze your butt to keep your body flat throughout this movement.
•Push back up to complete one rep. Repeat for 12-15 reps.
Tricep kickbacks are another exercise Amanda recommends to tone that tricky area on the back of your arms. “Keep your elbows at your sides through the whole movement,” she said.
•Holding a dumbbell in each hand, hinge forward at the hips, with your knees slightly bent.
•Bend your arms, raising the dumbbells so they sit close to your chest, with your palms facing inwards.
•Kick your arms back until they’re fully extended and parallel with the floor; squeeze your triceps.
•Bring your arms back to starting position. Repeat for 12-15 reps.
Overhead Shoulder Press
“To efficiently tone your arms, your workout should include multijoint movements recruiting large muscles and maximizing your caloric burn,” Audrey Handelsman, an ACSM- and ACE-certified personal trainer in Austin, TX, told POPSUGAR. This includes overhead shoulder presses with dumbbells.
•Hold a dumbbell in each hand just above the shoulders, with your palms facing in.
•Straighten your arms above your head.
•Bend your elbows as you return to starting position. Repeat for 6-8 reps.
When you’re feeling stronger, try mastering pull-ups, another multipoint move Audrey recommends. (These three exercises can help you build up to it.)
•With your palms facing away from you, grip a pull-up bar with arms extended.
•Keep your core tight while engaging your back and lats and bring yourself up until your chin passes above the bar.
•Finally, lower yourself down into the starting position. Repeat for 10 reps.