You can tone and strengthen your arm muscles in just a few short weeks with regular repetition of some simple exercises.
Here are 10 of the best and simplest arm-strengthening exercises. All exercises must be tailored to suit your fitness level for comfort and safety, so simply discover the right number of reps and timed sets that sufficiently work your body without causing injury, and gradually increase them as your strength improves.
1. Lateral Raise (Side Raise)
- Standing tall with your knees slightly bent, hold a dumbbell in each hand and hang your arms down by your sides.
- Maintaining a slight bend at your elbows, raise your arms up and out to the sides, until they are level with your shoulders – make sure that your palms remain downward-facing).
- Lower your arms slowly, and repeat 8-12 reps.
2. Overhead Extension
- Standing with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bend, grip a dumbbell with both hands.
- Reach your hands up, over, and behind your head, holding the dumbbell in a vertical position, keeping your wrists straight.
- Bending your elbows, lower the dumbbell further behind your head – make sure to keep your elbows pointing towards the ceiling and your uppers arms in close to your head.
- Straighten your arms back upwards and repeat.
- Lying face down on the floor with your feet approximately 15-20 cm apart, place the palms of your hands flat on the ground, holding them slightly further apart than shoulder-width.
- Keeping your body long and straight, move up onto your toes and raise your body off the floor using your arms until they are extended fully.
- Then, slowly bend your elbows and lower your chest back towards the ground.
- Stop approximately 10-15 cm before touching the floor with your stomach. Maintain a straight back and legs as you do.
- Push yourself back up into the original position and repeat.
- If this is too difficult to start, you can do an easier version with your knees on the floor. Even simpler still, you can use a wall and do this exercise standing up, with your feet positioned approximately 50 cm from the wall.
4. Tricep Push-Ups
- Get into the push-up position with straight arms, but with your knees on the ground and your feet in the air – your hands need to be closer together than a regular push-up and under your chest.
- Tightening your core muscles, bend your arms, and bring your chest down towards the ground. Keep your back straight and your upper arms closer to your body – your elbows should be pointing back behind you, not out to the side.
- Straighten your arms back to the starting position and repeat.
5. Bicep Curl
- Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold the dumbbell in your hand.
- Holding your palms forwards, bend your elbows and raise the dumbbell up towards your shoulder.
- Slowly lower your arm back down to the starting position and repeat.
6. Dumbbell Row
- Holding a dumbbell in one hand with your other hand and knee resting on a bench, keep your back straight and your elbow slightly bent with your palm facing inward.
- Ensure that your bent knee (on the bench) is aligned under your hips and your hand under your shoulder.
- Engage your core and squeeze your shoulder blades together, lifting the dumbbell upwards until your upper arm is parallel to the ground, with your elbow behind you.
- Return to the starting position and repeat, followed by switching sides for another set.
7. Two-Arm Kettlebell Swing
- Standing with your feet apart by a shoulder-width, hang your arms in front of you whilst holding a kettlebell with both hands.
- Bending your knees, lower the kettlebell downwards between your knees.
- In one swift movement, straighten your legs out of the squat whilst swinging your arms forwards and up to eye level – the kettlebell should feel practically weightless as it reaches the top of the movement.
- Either repeat for a set number of reps or continue the movement to time sets.
8. Plank To Push-Up
- Beginning in a high planking position (i.e. on your hands instead of your elbows), keep your arms directly beneath your shoulders and maintain core engagement.
- One at a time, lift your arm and place your elbow down, ending in a traditional plank position.
- Return your arms one at a time to the starting position and repeat.
9. Tricep Dips
- Sitting on the edge of a bench, bend your knees at 90 degrees and have your feet firmly planted on the floor.
- Gripping the bench with your hands on either side of your hips, push your glutes up and off the bench, and then lower your body 2-3 inches down as you bend your elbow whilst keeping them close to your body.
- Then, slowly raise your body back to the starting position and repeat.
10. Dumbbell Punch
- Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold your dumbbells and keep your knees loose (slightly bent – not locked back).
- Lift your arms and punch them straight out in front of you, alternating each and keeping the dumbbells at shoulder level as you do.
- Avoid jerky movements by allowing your hips to naturally move with your body as to punch, and repeat sets for a timed period.
All of the exercises can be done with just a bench, a dumbbell set, and a kettlebell – and all are easily achievable in the comfort of your own home as well as the gym, so even less excuse not to do them! They are simple yet effective with consistent commitment, increasing your arm strength in no time!