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How to Successfully Tone Your Arms

Updated on July 15, 2021
Kenna McHugh profile image

Kenna works with doctors and natural healthcare professionals. Her experience as a fitness instructor helps her share positive health tips.



If you think about it, your arms work most of the time. Like when you work at your computer or talk on the phone, your arms work.

Understanding how your arms work helps you understand how to shape and tone your arms.

Each arm is attached to each of your shoulder blades at the upper back corner of the rib cage. Three bones make up the arm. The two bones that work below your elbow are the radius and ulna. The humerus works above the elbow. The center of each bone is skinny but gradually widens toward the end. Their design gives the bones strength to stay connected to each other. The radius and ulna attach to the wrist bones. The wrist consists of eight small bones that move together. Whenever you wave your hand or turn your wrists, you use every bone in your arm.

Arms Workout With Dumbbells

Myths follow weightlifting. Being aware of these myths is part and parcel of learning how to work out with successful results.

One such myth is lifting heavy dumbbells that make your arms bulky. The weight of the dumbbell does not determine if your arms bulk up. The truth is, pushing hard and purposeful at 10 to 12 repetitions per set while properly using heavy dumbbells shapes the arms stunningly. Of course, you need to use the proper form as you lift the dumbbells, isolating the movement of the muscles.

I recommend this dumbbell set because they have a connecting rod. It becomes a barbell for upper and lower body workouts, which helps tone and sculpt your arms, back, chest, shoulders and legs. Plus, the adjustable weight plates can let you customize the weight of the dumbbell and barbell. You can do your set of exercises at home or office rather than buying multiple sets.

The truth is, pushing hard and purposeful at 10 to 12 repetitions per set while properly using heavy dumbbells shapes the arms stunningly. Of course, you need to use the proper form as you lift the dumbbells, isolating the movement of the muscles.

One aspect of keeping good form is contracting your stomach muscles to support your lower back. Then, you lift the dumbbells, do so steadily but slowly with absolute control. You must never snap or extend your elbow. Always keep the arms bent like a hinge.

Tricep Workout Dumbbell

The muscles at the back of your upper arm are known as the triceps. It`s a pretty nifty muscle that stretches the lower arm outward while it contracts. The triceps work with the biceps, controlling almost every arm movement.

To tone triceps, extensions need to be applied, eliminating the soft jingles. You either sit or stand and hold a dumbbell with your hands facing back behind the head.

Concentrate on keeping the elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. Extend your arms up while contracting the triceps and lower the dumbbell back down.

You can even try using a band or tube by hooking it up to a chair behind you and perform the same exercise, contract, and lower.

I recommend using the bands. They are easy to use and take up less space when I do my tricep workout at home. I use the MOKOSS Resistance Bands because they are three different bands -- each a different level of resistance. They are long enough to double up on strength.

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More Arm Exercises

Tricep Workout at Home

These two triceps workouts are done anywhere, even at home. They are excellent and done every other day. These triceps workouts require no equipment, and I do them first thing in the morning after finishing my core exercises.

First Tricep Exercise

The first one is similar to a push-up but done on both sides of the body with one arm.

  1. You lie down your mat
  2. Rest on your left side
  3. You stack your legs
  4. Bend your knees little
  5. You place your left hand on the right shoulder cup
  6. Place your right hand facing down on the mat near your body
  7. You press your right hand down on the mat
  8. Lift the upper part of your body
  9. You extend your right arm until it straightens

Perform 12 repetitions and repeat the same steps on the right side of the body.

Second Tricep Exercise

Now, you do a push-up on the mat.

  1. Set your body in a position to perform a push-up
  2. Your hands are evenly beneath your shoulders
  3. Keep your elbows near your side
  4. Tighten your core muscles and glutes
  5. Perform a push-up
  6. Lower your body to the mat
  7. Feel your triceps become engaged
  8. Raise the body back up

Repeat these steps until you complete 12 repetitions.


Triceps Dips

My favorite triceps exercise is the bar dips. Parallel bars are where you perform the bar dips. Most gyms and athletic clubs offer parallel bars for their members because the task is traditional. If you work out at home, you can create the same effect by using two solid chairs from your dining room.

To perform the exercise:

  1. Grab the parallel bars on each side with your hands facing down
  2. Lift your body up
  3. Lock your elbows
  4. Let your lower body hang
  5. Balance until the hips are even with the bar
  6. Tighten your core muscles
  7. Slightly lean your body forward
  8. Bend your arms
  9. Gradually dip your body until your elbows are at 90 degrees angle
  10. Your chest is even with the parallel bars
  11. Lift your body back up to the original position by locking your elbows

Work up to 12 repetitions. If you are weak, use a Gravitron machine. Most gyms offer this machine. It allows you to lift a percentage of your weight. You do more dips building your strength up until you dip your full body weight.

Toned Arms

Because the triceps are so hard to work out, you need to work them every other day. Along with biceps and forearm exercises to keep the arms balanced. Shaping Arms With Weights suggests exercises that work your biceps and forearms. You will see positive results within six weeks, then keep at it and never stop.

People compliment my arms and ask how I keep my arms tone. I tell them about these exercises, and some do these exercises with success, while others don't bother.

The point is you need to exercise your arms regularly. Keep at it until you see an improvement in the tone of your arms and never stop.

The sooner you start working on your arms. The sooner they will look more shapely. It is never too late to start.

© 2015 Kenna McHugh


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