Arm Workout Routines


Strong, toned arms look good in a tank top and help you carry out daily activities like hauling groceries or toddlers. Your ability to develop muscle tone in the arms depends on your genetics and body composition–the less fat you have on your body, the more your arm muscles will show. Using a combination of techniques and tools effectively trains your arms.

Muscles of the Arms

The two-headed biceps muscles, at the front of the upper arm, lifts and curls the arm as well as helps the wrist twist downward. The triceps lay at the back of the upper arm and are composed of three heads. They help the arm straighten and to turn the wrist upward.


When strength training, you may be tempted to emphasize the biceps over the triceps because they are more visible and react quickly to stimulation. The triceps, according to Body Building For You, make up about two-thirds of the total mass of the upper arm. You should spend at least as much time training the triceps as you do the biceps.


Train your arms two or three times per week. Perform three sets of eight to 15 repetitions of chosen exercises. Choose two or three biceps exercises per workout–like the preacher curl, e-z bar curl, or hammer curl–and two or three triceps exercises, like the overhead triceps press, dips or kickbacks. Rest one or two minutes between each set and use weights heavy enough to make the last two or three repetitions in a set barely sustainable with good form. The American Council on Exercise offers a free exercise library that details how to execute these moves with proper form.


Dumbbells, barbells, cable machines, resistance tubing and medicine balls are all effective tools to help you train your arms. If you do not have access to weights, perform dips, triceps push-ups and pull-ups to train your arms.


Try training your arm muscles in combination with other body parts to expedite your workout. Perform squats while executing bicep curls or lunge with an overhead triceps press. Remember to give your muscles at least 48 hours between resistance workouts so the muscles can rest and rebuild. The time between workouts is when the synthesis of muscle fibers occurs and you obtain results.

About this Author

Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.