Strong, sculpted arms are always in season. Whether we’re rocking our favorite workout tanks at the gym or slipping into a glitzy sleeveless dress for a holiday party, our arms are a staple accessory — and we want them to look good.
With that in mind, we asked a few Aaptiv trainers to share their favorite upper body exercise for toned arms. These moves target everything from your biceps to your triceps, and some even work your core and glutes too. As always, when completing any strength exercise, be sure to focus on form and posture over weight. It’s better to start with lighter dumbbells and work your way up from there. Plus, good form can seriously improve any strength workout.
Read on for our trainers’ favorite arm exercises and, if you’re looking for more ways to build strength and sculpt your arms, we got you! There are hundreds of upper body workouts for every fitness level in the strength training section of the Aaptiv app — and new effective and fun classes are added every week. Sign up here!
1. Aaptiv Trainer Candice Cunningham: Up-Down Body Planks
Targets your shoulders, triceps, and core.
Start in a regular plank position on your palms. Then, keeping your core and legs still, drop down to your elbows, one arm at a time. Pick yourself back up to your beginning plank position, starting with the same arm you lowered first. Aim to keep your hands and elbows directly under your shoulders the entire exercise to keep everything in line.
Complete 10 reps starting with each arm.
2. Aaptiv Trainer Jennifer Giamo: Resistance Band Overhead Tricep Extensions
Targets your triceps.
Stand up straight with your feet hips-width apart. Step on one end of your resistance band and hold the other hand with the same arm as leg. Extend the arm fully overhead with your palm facing up. Bend your elbow back to a 90-degree angle. Then, press toward the ceiling, squeezing your tricep muscle. Switch sides and repeat.
Complete 10 reps per arm.
3. Aaptiv Trainer Rochelle Moncourtois: Hammer Curls
Targets your biceps.
Grab a set of medium to heavy dumbbells. Place your arms by your side with a weight in each hand. Lift and curl your right arm toward your bicep, keeping your palm wrapped around the weight facing inward. Don’t turn your palms to the ceiling as you would for a bicep curl. Squeeze at the top of the lift and release, resisting the pull on your arm’s way back down. Switch arms and repeat.
Complete 20 reps, alternating right and left sides.
4. Aaptiv Trainer Kelly Chase: Tricep Kickbacks
Targets your triceps, core, and glutes.
Grab a set of light to medium dumbbells. Stand with feet hip distance apart (or lean against a bench for added support). Place your arms by your side with a weight in each hand. Bend your knees slightly and fold your torso over so your arms fall near knees. Engage your core, keep your shoulders pulled back, and pull your upper arms level with the sides of your body. Hold your elbows tucked into your sides and bend your arms so your fists and weights are level with your chest. Extend your forearms behind you, creating a straight line from your hand to your shoulder. Squeeze your triceps at the top of the motion for one second before releasing back towards your chest.
Complete 15 reps.
5. Aaptiv Trainer Sultan Malik: Reverse Bicep Curls
Targets biceps and triceps.
Grab a set of light to medium dumbbells. Stand up straight with your feet hips-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and turn your hands so your palms are facing downward or in a backward direction. In a normal curl, your palms face upward. Curl the weights toward your biceps, ending at your shoulders. Return back to the starting position and repeat.
Complete 15 reps.
(Photos via Getty)