We select and review products independently. When you purchase through our links we may earn a commission. Learn more.

5 Simple Exercises to Tone Those Arms

A man doing an overhead press with barbells in a gym.
Max kegfire/Shutterstock.com

The majority of workout programs tend to focus on the lower body, but working your upper body is just as important. Your arms also need some resistance training to get toned and sculpted, and these five exercises will help you do just that!

If you’re just getting started, it’s a good idea to start with a lower weight or a lighter resistance band, and then slowly increase over time. It’s not about how much you can lift; it’s about tiring those muscles out and causing hypertrophy, so they’ll grow and burn fat. Work these five moves into your routine to get those arms ready for summer!

Overhead Presses

One of the best exercises for your arms, shoulders, and the entire upper chest area is the overhead press. It’s actually a compound movement that involves your entire body—core and legs included. You use the power from your glutes and quadriceps to drive the weight up, while focusing on your form and maintaining a straight back.

If this is your first time doing this exercise, start with a resistance band, slowly progress to dumbbells, and then, finally, a barbell. No matter what level you’re at, your form and technique will always be the same.

Start with your feet hip-width apart and slightly bend your knees, being careful not to lock them, and keeping your back straight and your core active. Bring your resistance band, dumbbells, or barbell to chest height.

Inhale, and then exhale as you press the weight straight upward toward the ceiling. Inhale and slowly bring the weight back down to your chest with control. Repeat 10-12 times, rest for 30 seconds, and then repeat the entire series twice more.

Whatafit Resistance Band Set

Work out wherever, whenever.

Lateral Presses

Another great exercise for your arms, and more specifically, your shoulders, is the lateral press. This is one of those easy-looking moves that gets harder the more repetitions you do.

You can start in a standing or seated position with your resistance band or a dumbbell in each hand. If you’re using a resistance band, either step on it or attach it to something low enough that you can lift with resistance.

Inhale and brace your core, keeping your spine straight, and your chest open and relaxed. Exhale and lift a weight to shoulder level. Inhale back to the starting point. Repeat 10-12 times, rest for 30 seconds, and then repeat the entire series twice more.


Take your home exercises to a new level.

Tricep Extensions

Your triceps are involved in basically every exercise you do with your arms, but isolating them makes it easier and more efficient to sculpt.

There are a million and one exercises you can do for your triceps, but the tricep extension is one you can do anytime, anywhere—no gym required. You can use a dumbbell, resistance band, or even a heavy water bottle, to get a really nice tricep burn.

You can start standing or sitting, holding your exercise equipment of choice. If you’re using a resistance band, you’ll either need to step on it, or attach it to something on the floor or at a low enough level to supply the right amount of resistance.

While bracing your core and avoiding arching your back, lift the weight over your head and bring your elbows close to one another (try to prevent them from opening throughout the exercise).

Inhale and drop the weight behind your head, as if you were trying to reach the space between your shoulder blades. Exhale, and then slowly extend your arms over your head. You’ll feel your triceps doing all the work. Inhale and return to the starting position.

Repeat 10-12 times, rest for 30 seconds, and then repeat the entire series twice more.

Pike Push-Ups

Push-ups are amazing exercises for your entire upper body, but pike push-ups really target your shoulders and triceps, while also being more accessible for everyone, including beginners.

Start in an inverted V shape or downward-facing dog to set up a good foundation. Activate your core and feel your hands and the balls of your feet firmly pressed into the floor.

Inhale and bend your elbows, moving your weight slightly downward and your chin toward the floor. Exhale and push your hips back upward, as you straighten your arms. Repeat 15-20 times, rest for 30 seconds, and then repeat twice more.

You can modify this exercise by lifting your legs on an elevated surface. This makes the move a bit easier if your flexibility isn’t yet up to it.

Push Up Stand

Challenge your push-ups.

Front Raises

Front raises are another simple exercise you can perform with pretty much anything, from dumbbells to a bag of rice. They’re perfect for isolating your front shoulders, while also making your triceps and biceps get to work.

You can stand or sit down to begin and grab your desired exercise tools. Again, if you’re working with a resistance band, either step on it or attach it to something low enough to provide the appropriate amount of resistance.

Activate your core and avoid arching your back as you inhale. On your exhale, lift the weight straight in front of you to shoulder level, and then inhale and slowly lower it back down. Repeat 10-12 times, rest for 30 seconds, and then repeat the whole series twice more.

So many exercise routines focus on the lower body, it’s high time those arms got some attention! These amazing moves will tone those biceps, triceps, and your entire upper bod. And whenever you’re ready to take it to the next level, just add in some of these push-up variations.

Karla Tafra Karla Tafra
Karla is a certified yoga teacher, nutritionist, content creator and an overall wellness coach with over 10 years of international experience in teaching, writing, coaching, and helping others transform their lives. From Croatia to Spain and now, the US, she calls Seattle her new home where she lives and works with her husband. Read Full Bio »
LifeSavvy is focused on a single goal: helping you make the most informed purchases possible. Want to know more?