Are you afraid to wear sleeveless shirts or dresses because you’re embarrassed of your shoulders and upper arms? While you can’t target this or any other part of your body for weight loss, there are some simple dumbbell exercises you can do at home to fight the flab. A targeted workout featuring dumbbell exercises for arms can turn some of that fat to fit, helping you tone up and trim down.
Many people (especially women) avoid upper body exercises because they are afraid of getting too bulky. While strong is certainly the new skinny, you can still work on getting toned arms without a significant increase in size. It’s all about the type of exercises you do and how many repetitions of each. Performing a higher number of reps at a lower weight will lengthen your muscle fibers to give you that lean look you crave.
Wondering how to get toned arms? Here are the best dumbbell exercises for arms you can do to get lean and toned arms. The best thing is you can do these workouts in the comfort of your own home!
The Best Dumbbell Exercises for Toned Arms and Shoulders
The three major muscles you’ll be focusing on with this workout are your shoulders, biceps, and triceps. All you need are a pair of light dumbbells or two pairs at different weights to get you started. Here are the ten best dumbbell exercises to start toning those arms.
1. Main Bicep Curls | 25 reps
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Grip a light dumbbell in each hand. With your arms at your sides, have your palms facing forward away from your body. Raise the dumbbells in a controlled motion, bending at the elbow. At the top of the motion, squeeze your biceps then slowly lower the dumbbells. Repeat for a total of 25 reps.
2. Shoulder Press | 15 reps
You can perform this move standing or seated. If you are standing, position your feet about hip-width apart with your knees slightly bent. If seated, sit on the edge of a chair or bench with your back straight and your feet planted on the floor. Grip a light dumbbell in each hand and swing your arms out to either side, your elbows bent to 90 degrees. Lift the dumbbells overhead, straightening your arms until the dumbbells touch. Slowly lower to the starting position then repeat for 15 reps.
3. Up and Outs | 15 reps
Stand comfortably with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Hold a light dumbbell in each hand (no more than ten pounds) with an overhand grip. Start with your arms at your sides then raise them straight in front of you, palms facing down until your arms are parallel to the ground. Return to the starting position then lift your arms straight out to either side again, palms facing down until your arms are parallel to the ground. That is one repetition – repeat for 15 repetitions.
4. Seated Bent-Over Raises | 15 reps
Hold a light dumbbell in each hand and sit on the edge of a chair or bench with your feet planted firmly on the ground in front of you. Begin with your arms hanging down, elbows slightly bent, so the dumbbell rests against the outside of your mid-calf on either leg. Bend forward to a 45-degree angle without rounding your back. Keeping your upper body stationary and your elbows slightly bent, lift the dumbbells straight out to the sides until both arms are parallel to the floor. Lower back to the starting position then repeat for 15 repetitions.
5. Standing Triceps Extensions | 15 reps
Stand with your feet about hip-width apart, your knees slightly bent, and hinge slightly forward at the waist while keeping your back straight. Grab a light dumbbell in each hand. Bring them up to either side of your chest, bending the elbows and keeping the palms facing in toward each other. Extend your arms out behind you, keeping your palms facing in and engaging your triceps until your arms are straight. Without locking your elbows, pause for a moment then return to the starting position. Repeat for 15 reps.
6. Angled Bicep Curls | 25 reps
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent. With your arms at your sides, have your palms facing forward away from your body. Lift the dumbbells to a 45-degree angle out from the body instead of straight ahead of you. Pause at the top of the motion then slowly lower the dumbbells and repeat for a total of 25 reps.
7. Hammer Curls | 25 reps
Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Have your arms at your sides with a dumbbell in each hand. Rotate your hands so your palms are facing in, with the dumbbells perpendicular to your body. Curl the dumbbells up, bending at the elbow until they reach chest height. At the top, squeeze your biceps and slowly lower the dumbbells. Repeat for 25 reps.
8. Chair Dips | 10 reps
This may not technically belong in a list of dumbbell exercises but it’s such a great one to do at home that it had to be included. Find a sturdy chair or bench and stand in front of it, facing away from the seat. Sit down on the very edge of the chair and place your hands just behind your hips. You can curl your fingers around the edge of the chair for stability. Walk your feet forward, lifting your butt off the chair while keeping your upper body straight and your knees bent about 90 degrees. Your knees should not be past your toes. Lower your body with your arms, keeping your elbows bent behind you (don’t let them swing out to the sides). Bend until your elbows reach 90 degrees then raise yourself back up and repeat for a total of ten repetitions. You can make this exercise harder by moving your feet further forward.
9. Overhead Press | 20 reps
Lie on your back on a yoga mat with your knees bent, feet planted firmly on the ground. Grab a light dumbbell in each hand. Raise them straight up perpendicular to the ground. Keeping the backs of your arms straight, bend at the elbow to lower the dumbbells toward the ground on either side of your head. Raise the dumbbells to the starting position and repeat.
10. Triceps Extensions | 20 reps
Stand comfortably with your feet hip-width apart with your knees slightly bent. Grip a light dumbbell in each hand. Raise your hands over your head, forming a straight line with your body. Keeping your upper arms stationary, bend at the elbow, lowering the dumbbells backward behind your head. When your elbows reach slightly more than 90 degrees, raise the dumbbells back up to the starting position. Repeat for 20 reps.
Start Doing Dumbbell Exercises Today
These ten dumbbell exercises for arms are simple to perform and they will help you get those toned arms you want! The key is to perform the moves slowly in a controlled fashion and with good form. When you are first starting out, it is a good idea to begin with a lower weight. Something in the five to ten-pound range is most suitable. For other exercises, however, you may be able to use more. Keep in mind that the heavier the weight you use, the more strength you will build, but you may also increase the size of your muscles. If toning is your goal, keep the weight manageable and go for as many repetitions as you can.