15 Exercises To Tone Your Arms Fast (With & Without Weights)

Are you looking for the best exercises to tone your arms?

You have come to the right place!

After reading this post, you’ll learn:

  • how to tone your arms with weights,
  • without weights, and
  • how often you should exercise to see the best results.

Let’s get started!

how to tone your arms with and without weights cover image

What is the quickest way to tone the arms?

The quickest way to tone your arms is to do strength-training exercises that target the biceps and the triceps while decreasing your body fat percentage.

You can do these exercises with dumbbells, resistance bands, or even your bodyweight.

Here are the best exercises to get you started!

How To Tone Your Arms At Home Without Weights

First, I will show you the best exercises to tone your arms without weights.

You can do all these exercises at home using just your own body weight and everyday household items.

The Foot Assisted Triceps Dip

The first movement is foot-assisted tricep dips. This exercise is a scaled-back version of the regular dip as you can use the assistance of your feet.

Here’s how to do it.

brittany dipping between two chairs with both her feet still on the ground
  • Place two chairs facing each other with enough space for you to fit in between them.
  • Squat down and place your hands flat on each seat.
  • Keep your elbows straight and your chest proud.
  • Begin bending at the elbow and keep them tucked and close to your body.
  • Lower yourself until your triceps are horizontal.
  • Using the assistance of your feet, extend your elbows back to the starting point.

Kneeling Close-Grip Push-Ups

The kneeling close-grip push-up is an excellent way to target the triceps muscle and the chest and shoulders.

Here’s what it looks like:

brittany doing a kneeling push-up
  • Start in a kneeling position with your hands on the floor close together.
  • Start the movement by bending your elbows and keeping them tucked close to your body.
  • Retract your shoulder blades together as you lower yourself.
  • Extend back up to starting position while squeezing the triceps at the top.

Plank Rows (AKA Renegade Rows)

Next is the plank row. This exercise will strengthen your core and your arm muscles.

You can do this movement with your body or light weight.

Here’s how to do it.

brittany performing a plank row
  • Get into a push-up position with your hands shoulder-width apart.
  • Keep your core muscles activated and your glute muscles engaged.
  • Lift one hand off the ground and bring it toward your chest.
  • Rotate your upper back and lift that hand toward the sky.
  • Slowly return to the starting position and repeat with your other arm.
  • If this variation is too difficult, you can do it from a kneeling position.

Wall Pull

Next is the wall pull. This exercise aims to activate the bicep muscles using just your body weight.

brittany pulling herself toward a door frame while leaning back
  • Find a sturdy pole or door frame that you can grab on both sides at your chest level.
  • Place your feet close to the base of the wall and lean back while maintaining your grip.
  • Pull yourself toward the wall by squeezing your biceps.
  • Hold the top position and focus on the bicep contraction.
  • Slowly return to the starting position.

Pike Pushups on An Incline

Next is the incline push-up. This push-up variation strengthens the shoulders and the tricep muscles.

The higher the incline, the easier the exercise becomes.

Here’s how to do it.

  • Find a sturdy chair or bench that can support your total body weight.
  • Place your hands on the bench with a shoulder-width grip.
  • Walk your feet as close to the bench as possible.
  • The goal is to create a semi-upside-down “V” shape in your hips.
  • Bend your elbows and keep them close to your body while bringing your forehead towards the bench.
  • Try to maintain the same body alignment throughout the movement.

Side-Lying Tricep Extensions

Next is the side-lying tricep extension, aka the tricep side push-up.

This movement is harder than it looks!

Here’s how to do it.

brittany doing a side-lying-tricep-extension
  • Lie on your side with your knees bent and feet on top of each other.
  • Place your bottom hand across your abdomen as if you are hugging yourself.
  • Place your top hand flat on the floor by your chest with your fingers pointing toward your head.
  • Extend your top elbow which will lift your upper half off the ground.
  • Squeeze your tricep muscle at the top.
  • Slowly lower yourself down to the starting position.

The Incline Close Grip Push-up

The incline close-grip push-up is another variation that changes the angle from where you press.

The higher the incline, the easier the exercise.

brittany doing an incline push-up with her hands elevated on a bench
  • Find a sturdy chair or bench that can support your entire body weight.
  • Place your hands on the bench with a closer than shoulder-width grip and assume a standard push-up position.
  • Bend your elbows and keep them close to your body while your chest gets closer to the bench.
  • Keep your core tight and glutes engaged to maintain a neutral spine the entire time.

Up and Down Planks

Next is the up and down plank. This amazing exercise will transition from a low plank on your forearms to a high plank on your hands.

This exercise is tricky, and you will feel the burn in your abs and arm muscles.

Here’s how it looks:

  • Start in a low plank position with your forearms flat on the ground.
  • Keep your core tight and your glute muscles engaged.
  • Start transitioning into a high plank position by extending one arm at a time.
  • Try not to move from side to side while transitioning.
  • Do not let your hips sag either.
  • Once you reach the top, slowly lower back down and repeat.

The Chair Tricep Dip

The more challenging version of the kneeling foot-assisted dip is the chair tricep dip.

Here’s how to do it.

brittany doing chair-dips with her hands behind her on a bench with her knees bent and feet flat on the floor
  • Sit in front of a chair, bench, or sofa and place your hands behind you on the bench.
  • Bend your knees and keep your heels flat on the floor.
  • It is important that you turn your hands out to the side. This hand position keeps your shoulders externally rotated which is a safe position.
  • Bend your elbows and descend until your triceps make 90-degree angles to the floor.

Kneeling Sphinx Push-Up

The kneeling sphinx push-up is another excellent exercise to isolate the triceps muscles.

Here’s how to do it.

brittany performing a kneeling sphinx push-up
  • Get into a quadruped position (on your hands and knees) and your back flat.
  • Place your hands on the floor slightly out in front of your body.
  • Bend your elbows toward the floor so that your forearms become flat on the floor.
  • Extend your elbows back to the starting point.

The Diamond Push-up

The diamond push-up is one of the most challenging arm exercises for the triceps.

Your thumbs need to be physically touching. The closer hand position activates the tricep muscles more than the standard push-up.

brittany doing a close-grip-pushup on the floor

How To Tone Your Arms With Weights

Now let’s go over the best arm toning exercises with weights.

Remember that you can do these exercises with dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, or a resistance band.

Ok, let’s get started.

Curl To Shoulder Press

The curl to shoulder press is a double exercise that trains the biceps and the shoulders.

Here’s what it looks like.

curl to shoulder press exercise
  • Get two dumbbells and hold them down at your sides with your palms facing forward.
  • Keep your elbows close at your sides and curl the dumbbells up.
  • At the top, rotate your hands, so your palms face forward again.
  • Press the dumbbells straight overhead and squeeze your triceps.

*If you don’t care much for the shoulder press, you can also just focus on the bicep curls!

Dumbbell Floor Press

Next is the dumbbell floor press. This exercise also strengthens the shoulders, the triceps, and the chest.

Here’s how to do it.

brittany doing a floor-press, pressing dumbbells up to the sky while on her back
  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Hold two dumbbells in your outstretched arms over your chest.
  • Retract your shoulder blades together and maintain this retracted position.
  • Lower the dumbbells and keep your elbows tucked close to your body.
  • Keep going until your triceps are flat on the ground.
  • Press the weight back up by extending your elbows and squeezing your triceps at the top.

Clean To Single Arm Shoulder Press 

The clean to single-arm shoulder press is another great movement that trains the arms in multiple planes.

You can do this movement with a kettlebell or a dumbbell.

Here is how the exercise looks:

  • Hold a kettlebell or dumbbell in your outstretched arm in front of your thighs.
  • Set your stance with your feet hip-width.
  • Next, use momentum (such as a small jump) to drive the kettlebell up toward your shoulder.
  • Then, press the kettlebell up directly overhead in a straight line by squeezing the triceps.
  • Slowly lower the kettlebell back down to the starting position.

Lying Dumbbell Tricep Extensions

The lying dumbbell tricep extension is one of the best ways to isolate the long head of the triceps muscles.

Try this movement with lighter weights, as it can be pretty challenging.

Here’s how it looks.

brittany doing a tricep-extension overhead while lying on the ground
  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them up in your outstretched with your palms facing each other.
  • Begin bending your elbows so your hands start falling behind your head.
  • Lower the dumbbells until they touch the floor above your head.
  • Slowly extend your elbows back to the starting position.
  • As always, focus on squeezing your triceps at the top of the movement.

The Biceps Focused Row

The row is one of the best compound movements for strengthening the upper back muscles, and it is also a great way to strengthen the biceps muscles.

I will demonstrate this exercise using a resistance band.

  • Sit on the floor with your feet and legs straight out in front of you.
  • Place a long resistance band around your feet and grab the two ends.
  • Keep your back straight and brace your core.
  • Begin by pulling the band toward your upper abdomen.
  • Drive your elbows back and focus on squeezing your biceps at the top as you retract your shoulder blades.
  • Hold this position for 1-2 seconds.
  • Slowly return to the starting position.

How Many Reps Should You Do?

When training your arms, you should find exercise variations that will fatigue your muscles in the 8 to 12-repetition range.

However, it is essential that you feel the muscles working during the exercise to ensure that you are doing them properly.

A Simple Arm Toning Workout Routine You Can At Home

Here is a simple exercise program you can do to train your upper arms from home.

Workout 1 uses only body weight exercises. Feel free to mix and match the tricep-specific exercises with the ones above.

Workout 1

Foot-Assisted Dips38-10
Up and Down Plank38-10
Wall Pulls312-15
Incline Pike Push-Ups38-10

Workout 2

The second workout focuses on the use of dumbbells or resistance bands.

Dumbbell Floor Press310-12
Curl to Shoulder Press38-10
Biceps Focused Row38-10
Lying Tricep Extensions210-12

If you would like a complete upper body workout, check out my Arm Toning PDF!

It includes 30 different exercises to tone and develop lean arm muscle, as well as a 6-week workout plan to get you started!

Other Related Questions

What causes flabby arms?

Flabby arms result from weight gain, inactivity, and a lack of muscle tone.

As we age, we lose muscle mass, and our metabolism slows down, which can cause us to store more fat.

In addition, specific hormonal changes can also lead to an increase in body fat.

Unfortunately, the back of your upper arms is a common location for you to store fat.

Can you actually tone your arms?

To achieve a toned look, you need to reduce your body fat and build lean muscle tissue in your arms.

Both components are absolutely necessary!

The most effective way to tone your arms is through a combination of resistance training, proper nutrition, and monitoring your calories.

How long does it take to tone arms with weights?

It takes approximately two to three months of consistent strength training and proper dieting to see visible results.

The less body fat you have, the quicker you will see results.

If you are new to exercise, starting slow and focusing on proper form is essential. As you become more comfortable with the exercises, you can gradually increase the intensity and frequency of your workouts.

How often should I lift weights to tone my arms?

If you are looking to tone your arms fast, you should train your arms two to three times per week.

It is essential to give your muscles time to recover between workouts.

Lifting weights every day will not lead to faster results; it can actually be counterproductive.

The best way to set up your exercise routine is to lift two to three days per week with at least one rest day in between.

Final Words On How To Tone Your Arms

By doing these arm-toning exercises consistently, you can expect improvement in your bat wings within two to three months.

But consistency, along with proper nutrition, is the name of the game!

Without fat loss, you won’t be able to see your newfound muscle definition.

Now I want to hear from you.

Which exercises are you most excited to try?

Comment below and let me know!

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Brittany Robles, MD, MPH, CPT

Brittany Robles is a full-time OBGYN physician, a NASM certified trainer, and a prenatal and postnatal fitness specialist. She holds a Master of Public Health degree in maternal health with a special interest in exercise and nutrition. She is also the co-author of The White Coat Trainer. Learn more about her here.

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