- You can train your arms using a variety of equipment including dumbbells, ropes, bands, and kettlebells.
- A lot of arm exercises work your biceps, triceps, and shoulders all at the same time.
- Some exercises that may help you to tone your arms include push-ups and single-arm floor presses.
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Whether you’re trying to achieve toned triceps and buff biceps or are simply trying to boost your strength, training your arms is oftentimes an essential part of any overall workout.
Fortunately, there are a lot of simple exercises that both workout novices and fitness pros can use to target their arms.
Here are 11 exercises that can help you strengthen and tone your arms, according to experts.
To do the Arnold press you’ll need some weights
Nikki Pebbles, founder of PebbleREBEL Fit and NYC-based fitness instructor, told INSIDER that the Arnold press, which works your shoulders, triceps, and biceps, is one of her go-to arm exercises. For this move, you need some weights.
To do: While standing, slightly bend your knees and engage your core. If you’re a beginner or have lower back problems, feel free to do this move while sitting in a chair.
Hold your weights in front of your shoulders with your palms facing your body. Curl the weights up to shoulder height then turn the weights outward (your palms should now also be facing outward) and lift them up over your head. Bring the weights down to your starting movement. Pause, reverse the movement, and repeat. Do three sets of 15 reps each or as many as you’d like.
The band tricep kickback targets the back of your arms
It’s a great exercise for traveling, said Pebbles, since resistance bands can fit in your suitcase. For this exercise, you’ll need a resistance band with handles.
To do: Start with your feet hip-width apart, standing on top of your resistance band while holding a handle in each hand. Make sure your palms are facing inward.
With your core engaged and your back flat, hinge forward at the waist and bend your arms to 90 degrees. Your elbows should be close to your sides. Extend your arms straight behind you and then return to your start position. Do three sets of 15 reps each or as many as desired.
To do overhead triceps extensions, you’ll want a dumbbell
Fitness expert Nikki Kimbrough, CEO of Get Fit with Nik, Inc, told INSIDER that triceps exercises are a great way to tone your arms and enhance your joint movements.
To do: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, slightly bend your knees, and hold the dumbbell with both of your hands. Then reach your arms overhead while holding the dumbbell vertically.
Making sure your wrists are straight, bend your elbows to lower the dumbbell behind your head. Be sure to keep your upper arms close to your head and your elbows pointing upward. Then straighten your arms upward.
You can also do this move from a seated position. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps or as many as you’d like.
Challenge yourself with some 7-7-7s (21s)
Kimbrough said this challenging arm exercise can help strengthen your biceps, which are crucial in the bending and extending of your joints.
To do: Stand shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand, keeping your hands by your side with your palms facing forward. Keeping your elbows close to your side, curl your arms upward, stopping halfway when your forearms are parallel to the floor. Then lower your arms back down to the starting position.
Complete seven reps of that move and, without stopping, curl the weight up to your shoulders, then lower your hands back down, stopping halfway.
Complete seven reps of that move and then, without stopping, lower your hands all the way down. Finish with seven more reps of full dumbbell curls, using the full range of motion. To complete the move using your full range of motion, begin with your arms fully extended and finish with the dumbbells at your shoulders with your palms facing inward and your elbows flexed and tucked into your sides.
Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps or as many as desired.
Push-ups are a popular move for a reason
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Kimbrough said she likes push-ups because you can do them anywhere. This popular, challenging movement works your chest, arms, and core.
To do: Begin with your body in a high-plank position by placing your palms flat on the floor, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
Keep your body straight and long, your core tucked in, and your feet about 15 to 20 centimeters apart. Start with your arms fully extended and then slowly bend your arms at the elbows and lower your chest toward the floor. Stop roughly 10 to 15 centimeters above the ground.
Make sure you keep your back and legs straight and in a single plane. Push back up into the original position. Repeat.
If this move is too difficult, you can also do a modified push up by resting your knees on the floor.
Read More: 5 different ways you can modify push-ups
Beginners may want to do three sets of eight to 10 push-ups and those who are more advanced may want to do three sets of 12 to 15 push-ups.
If you have access to battle ropes, try doing some double waves
If you want an arm exercise that doubles as a cardio workout, Kimbrough said to grab some battle ropes and pump out a set of double waves.
“I love battle ropes since you are working your upper and lower body, engaging your core muscles and raising the heart rate at all at the same time,” Kimbrough said. They also add an extra boost to your biceps, shoulders, and triceps.
To do: Stand facing the anchor point of the ropes with your feet shoulder-width apart and your body in a squat position. Make sure your glutes are back and body is lowered so it is nearly parallel to the ground.
Grab one end of the rope in each hand so that your palms are facing inward. Keeping your chest up, begin to quickly move both of your arms up and down, creating “waves” in the rope.
Beginners may want to start with three sets of 15 to 30 seconds of exercise with 15 to 30 seconds rest between each burst of waves. Intermediate and advanced individuals may want to try doing three sets of 30 seconds to one minute with 30 seconds of rest between each burst of waves.
If you have a kettlebell, try doing a few high-pulls
Corey Phelps, NASM-CPT, fitness expert, and high-impact performance coach, told INSIDER that kettlebells and resistance bands are a few of her favorite pieces of equipment to use when training her arms. She said that one of her favorite moves to do when using a kettlebell is the high-pull.
To do: Begin by standing with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, keeping your toes pointed outward about 45 degrees. Using both hands, hold a kettlebell in front of your body.
Keeping your core engaged, pull the kettlebell up to shoulder height. Your elbows should rise just slightly above your shoulders. Then lower the kettlebell and return back to your start position. Repeat for 10 to 15 repetitions or as desired.
Single-arm floor presses can help you to tone your arms
Phelps said she also likes this move when it comes to training one’s arms.
To do: Begin by lying flat on your back with your knees bent 90 degrees. Hold a kettlebell in one hand, keeping it close to your shoulder and chest. Press the kettlebell upward until your arm is completely straight. Keep the kettlebell aligned with your chest and shoulder and lower it back to the starting position.
Repeat this move 10 to 15 times before switching to the other side, completing more repetitions as desired.
Criss-cross pulls can help you to build your strength, according to Phelps
To do: To do this move you’ll want to stand on the center of an exercise band. Cross the band so the left end is in your right hand and the right end is in your left hand. Pull straight up, bending your arms in front of your chest. Repeat as desired.
Phelps said she also suggests doing criss-cross lateral raises, which are quite simple
To do: Keeping the bands crossed from the criss-cross pulls, extend your arms straight out to opposite sides, keeping your arms straight as you squeeze your shoulder blades together. Repeat as desired.
A combination of bicep curls and hammer curls could help you to strengthen your arms, said Phelps
To do: Hold one dumbell in each hand with your palms facing inward. Curl each dumbbell up toward your shoulders while rotating your palm upward to complete a bicep curl. Lower back to the starting position. Now, perform a hammer curl by doing the same movement but keeping your palms facing inward the entire time. Lower back to the starting position.
Perform one of each variation to equal one repetition and continue alternating your bicep curls and hammer curls. Complete 10 to 15 repetitions or as many as you’d like.