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Get Toned Arms With This 30-Minute Gym Workout


What does ‘toned’ really mean and how to get toned arms

When someone says they want a toned physique or to tone a body part, they are referring to a certain look involving good muscle definition and lower levels of body fat, which together creates an athletic appearance.

Skip straight to our toned arms workout here .

The best way to get toned arms is to build muscle through resistance training and progressive overload, which means continually adding reps or weight to your workouts to challenge the muscles. It is a myth that lifting heavy weights will create big, bulky muscles. In fact, it is actually notoriously difficult to build a bulky, muscular appearance – you need to dedicate months, if not years, to training hard and eating at a caloric surplus to bulk, with genetics also playing a part.

Luckily, creating a ‘toned’ muscular definition takes much less time and doesn’t require eating at a caloric surplus.

If you do want to build muscle mass and size, check out our beginners guide to bulking and cutting.

How long does it take to get toned arms?

There are two factors that play a part in building lean toned arms:

  1. How much muscle you have
  2. How much fat you have

Depending on your starting point, you may only need to build arm muscle to create lean toned arms, or you may need to lose weight in addition to working on your muscle definition.

If you are training arms twice a week, eating enough protein, and (if weight loss is required) following a moderate calorie deficit (find out how many calories you should be eating to lose weight here), you should begin to see improvements in around 4-6 weeks.

It’s important to remember that you can’t spot reduce fat, so depending on where you genetically store fat you may not be able to achieve super lean toned arms while maintaining an overall healthy weight. Fortunately, building muscle will help to create a more toned look even if you do tend to store fat on your arms. Plus, building your arm muscles has many functional benefits, from helping you to carry more shopping through to preventing injuries.

Want toned arms? Try this gym workout with weights

For this workout, do 3-4 sets of the following exercises, with 45 seconds rest between sets.

  1. Curl to Press

    The dumbbell curl to press works your biceps, triceps, and shoulders, particularly your delts and rotator cuff, making it a great upper body exercise.

    1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing inwards.
    2. Use your bicep muscles to hammer curl the dumbbells up to your shoulders, keeping your elbows tucked close to your side to avoid swinging the weight.
    3. From here, press the dumbbells towards the ceiling, keeping the dumbbells directly above your shoulders.
    4. Lower the dumbbells back towards your shoulders, and then slowly reverse the hammer curl by lowering the dumbbells back to your starting position while keeping your elbows tight tucked close to your side.
    5. Repeat for 10 – 12 reps.
  2. Tricep Kickbacks

    Tricep kickbacks target your triceps, the muscles which make up the back of your arms. This exercise can be done with dumbbells (as we have done here) or on the cable machine.

    1. Stand with your feet hip width apart and a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing inwards.
    2. Slightly bend your knees and hinge at your hips until you’re just above parallel to the floor. Make sure to engage your core and maintain a neutral spine throughout.
    3. Row the dumbbells up towards your chest, keeping your elbow angled at about 90 degrees. This is your starting position.
    4. Hinge at your elbow and use your triceps to drive the dumbbell back and straighten your arm.
    5. Pause at the top, squeezing your triceps tight before slowly returning the dumbbells back to the 90-degree angle.
    6. Try to keep your arms tucked tight to your side throughout to concentrate the movement through your triceps muscles.
    7. Repeat for 10 - 12 reps.
  3. Plank With Shoulder Taps

    Like all planks, the plank with shoulder taps works your core and glutes, but this variation also strengthens your arms and shoulders.

    1. Begin in a plank position. Your feet should be slightly wider than hip-width apart for stability and your wrists should line up under your shoulders.
    2. Aim for your shoulders, hips and toes to be in line, with a nice neutral spine.
    3. Bring your left hand up to touch your right shoulder, making sure to engage your core and press down through your right hand to maintain balance.
    4. Lower your left hand and then do the same movement but using your right hand to touch your left shoulder.
    5. One shoulder tap on both your right and left shoulder counts as one rep. Aim to complete 10 – 12 reps.
  4. Around The World

    The dumbbell around the world works your shoulders, chest, and triceps.

    1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing towards your body.
    2. With your chest up and shoulders back and down, lift your arms in a semi-circle motion, rotating your palms to face forward until they touch above your head.
    3. Lower the dumbbells back down in a semi-circle motion to the starting position.
    4. Repeat for 10 – 12 reps.
  5. Tricep Dips

    Tricep dips are a great bodyweight exercise for toning the triceps, and they also work the shoulder and chest. You can increase and decrease the difficulty by moving your feet further away or nearer the bench, or by sitting a plate or dumbbell on your lap.

    1. Start by sitting on the edge of a bench and placing your hands either side of your legs.
    2. Place your feet on the floor in front of you around hip width apart. Walk your feet out, extending your legs. The further away from the bench your feet are the harder the exercise will be.
    3. Hinging at your elbow, lower your body down off the bench towards the floor, stopping when your arms are at a 90-degree angle.
    4. Use your triceps to push yourself back up to your starting position.
    5. Repeat for 10 – 12 reps.
  6. Barbell Bicep Curl

    The biceps are the large muscle on the front of your upper arm. They play an important part in creating toned arms and are also responsible for stabilising the elbow and shoulder joints. The barbell bicep curl is great at building toned arms.

    1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, with your chest up and shoulders back and down.
    2. Hold the barbell with your palms facing outwards, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width.
    3. Hinge at your elbow and curl the barbell up towards your shoulders, making sure to keep your elbows tight by your side to avoid using momentum to the lift the barbell.
    4. Pause before lowering the barbell back to your starting position.
    5. Repeat for 10 – 12 reps.

If you want to build toned arms, you’ll need to work out your arms twice per week. We’ve shared some of our favourite arm workouts here, including bodyweight workouts which can be done at home.

Getting a toned, athletic look can take a lot of hard work and patience. Why not work with a Personal Trainer who can help keep you accountable, as well as make sure you have the right nutrition and correct form to ensure you are building muscle effectively?                                                          

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