The Exercises that Make the Arms Look the Most Tone

You might be surprised!

We’re all about a long-term fitness lifestyle, but we know that every now and then you want to target one specific area. We asked our members which area they’d like the most tips on how to target for that toned look, and they overwhelmingly agreed, MY ARMS! To answer that, Cat Kom is joined by SSoD Trainer Angela to show off their top 3 favorite exercises to make the arms look tone. 

Now don’t confuse these with the best exercises for your arms, because that’s a whole other topic, and really part of your long-term plan. This VLOG is all about getting some quick toning for date night, beach day, or that new tank top you can’t wait to show off. And here’s a quick hint: we are talking arms, but might be showing you some shoulder and back exercises to really make some definition.

Cat’s Top 3 Arm-Toners

  • Tricep Dip – The triceps are the biggest part of the upper arm, so this exercise really hits the whole back of your arm.

-Sit your bum at the edge of a bench or chair with your hands on the bench just outside your hips.

-Drop down below the bench edge, and back up, keeping your bum and back close to the bench.

-Vary the difficulty based on your foot positioning. Feet further from the bench is harder, so the move gets easier if you move your feet closer to the bench (up to a 90-degree angle).

-Honorable mention for fave tricep exercise is the TRX tricep extension. For those of you with TRX straps at home, give this one a try.

  • Bicep Burnout – Just hearing this from the trainer might make you groan, but only because it hurts so good! Think of this as a version of a ladder drill.

-First, let’s talk weights. Cat usually uses 15# dumbbells for biceps. Not for these babies. The average female who does weight training will use 8-10# for this burnout (Cat usually grabs 10s).

-Each “round” cycles through three bicep moves:

    • Starting with your arms at mid-point, do a half-curl up.
    • Starting with your arms at mid-point, do a half-curl down.
    • Starting at the bottom, do a full curl.

-This is usually done as a countdown, and we like to start with 8 reps.

    • 8 half-curls up, 8 half-curls down, 8 full curls.
    • Then 7 half-curls up, 7 half-curls down, 7 full curls.
    • Then 6, and 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

-You’ve picked the right weights if you can barely complete the 8 rounds.

HUNDREDS OF BODY-SCULPTING CLASSES | Sign up for your 7-day free trial now!
  • Lateral Raise – If you paid attention at the beginning, it wouldn’t surprise you that Cat’s throwing in what’s technically a shoulder exercise in the quest for toned-looking arms. In fact, this one is her favorite. If you’ve got a hot date and a strapless dress, this is your top toner to pop that delt.

-Holding dumbbells with arms straight down, palms facing your hips, raise arms straight out to the side, ending at shoulder height.

-This is a lever exercise, meaning the further away from your body, the heavier the weights will feel. So it’s ok to go a little lighter on this one.

Angela’s Top 3 Arm-Toners

  • Around the World – Strong shoulders lead to hot, toned arms, so Angela has a favorite shoulder move on her top three also.

-For weights, Angela uses 10# dumbbells, but many women will go with 5-8 pound sets, or even 3 pounds if you’re a beginner.

-Holding your arms straight down in front of your body, with palms facing out and weights together, sweep both arms out to the sides, meeting straight up above your head. You’re essentially creating a broad circle around your upper body.

-Keep an even travel speed as on the incline and descent.

-You’ll hit almost all the shoulder muscles and lats with this exercise.

  • Bicep Pullout – This is a fun alternative to traditional curls.

-With 10-12 pound weights, tuck your elbows in at your side, and hold the weights out in front (palm up) with your lower arms parallel to the ground.

-Extend palms out to your sides and back in.

-The last few reps should really challenge you.

  • Reverse Fly – Angela loves this one because it makes her feel strong in her shoulders, and carves her back (hey, racerback tank, this one’s for you!).

-Focus on both the ascent and descent for the maximum impact.

-Angela likes lifting with heavier weight and keeps a fluid motion, but if you go with lighter weights, hold a short pause at the top of the fly.

For all of these exercises (except the Bicep Burnout), aim for 8-15 reps, and choose weights that make that just doable. And for more body-sculpting, fat-torching workouts including lots of amazing arm exercises, check out Studio SWEAT onDemand! Download the app, or if you happen to live in southern California, visit us in our San Diego studio.