Fitness + Well-being

The Most Effective Ways to Tone Your Arms


The fight against arm flab requires more than just optimism and a dumbbell.

Let's face it — our triceps and biceps can be one of the most tedious areas to tone — especially as we get older.

With pushups ranking last on my list of favorite things to do at the gym and with the prospect of slipping back into sleeveless dresses and tops right around the corner, I needed some extra motivation. 

I turned to, celebrity trainer and author of "Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy” for some tips. Here's what she had to say:

Why is it so hard to tone the back of the arms?The back of your arms is one of your body’s go-to places to store fat. Muscle is your metabolic Spanx that holds everything together to make you look tight and toned.

What is the most effective arm exercise I can do?I recommend multi-joint exercises like pushups, pull ups, dips, and rows. You can do many of these at home with minimal or no equipment. Squeeze them in during commercials or while taking a work break. 

Should I work out my arms every day?No. Overtraining can become counter-productive, since recovery is a vital component of exercise. You need 48-72 hours of recovery depending on your level of intensity.

What’s the best way to get rid of “bat wings?” Eating a clean diet with lean protein, healthy fats, lots of leafy and cruciferous veggies, and slow-release high-fiber starches help you burn fat to get lean and toned.  I’m also a fan of burst training and intense multi-joint exercises. Get seven to nine hours of high-quality uninterrupted sleep for hormonal balance and muscle recovery. Deal with stress: get a massage, practice deep breathing, or walk your dog in the park to unwind and rejuvenate.

What are some easy exercises to do at home?Pushups, pull-ups, dips, and military pushups are great. So are bent-over rows, overhead press, upright row, and one-arm rows.

For those who want to tone but avoid bulk, what do you suggest?I rarely see a problem with women getting bulky. Burning fat is the best way to avoid that problem.

If you were to choose one exercise at the gym for your arms, what would it be?I would use the assisted pull-up machine and do close-grip pull-ups and dips.