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25-Minute Toned Arms Workout for Women

Build strong, sculpted arms with this 25-minute toned arms workout for women. Six dumbbell arm exercises to strengthen and tone every muscle in the upper body. Challenge your biceps, triceps, chest, back and shoulder muscles in this arm toning workout.


Biceps, triceps, back, chest and shoulders – build total upper body strength at home with this toned arms workout.

These are the best dumbbell arm exercises to build strength, muscle and definition in the upper body. Ultimately, building strength and muscle definition will give you “toned” arms.

While I love a good upper body push workout or pull workout, this efficient dumbbell arm workout targets every upper body muscle group. It’s my go to arm workout when I’m short on time, but want to target the total upper body.

All you need is a set of dumbbells to effectively target the arms in under 30 minutes. Bonus: there are no push-ups in this home workout!

two women performing a quarter get up as part of toned arms workout for women

Toned Arms Workout FAQs

How Do I Get Toned Arms?

Lifting weights is essential for achieving muscle growth and burning body fat (which results in that “toned” look). If your goal is to improve definition in your arms, reach for heavy weights. You’ll know you chose the right weight if the last 2-3 reps in a set are challenging (The American Council on Exercise).

How Long Does It Take To Get Toned Arms?

This depends on how often you are training arms and at what intensity. If you are lifting heavy, challenging weights and following a well-rounded strength training program, you can expect to feel a change after 4-8 weeks of consistent lifting.

What Are The Best Arm Toning Exercises?

The most effective arm toning workouts combine isolation exercises and complex multi-joint exercises. For example, a bicep curl targets the front of the arm (isolation exercises) while a plank row exercise targets the chest, back, triceps and core (complex exercise). This arm workout includes both isolation and complex exercises.

Can I Tone My Arms Without Weights?

While lifting weights is the most effective way to build muscle, bodyweight exercises like planks and push ups can be effective, too. A comprehensive fitness program will challenge you in a variety of ways, including through bodyweight arm exercises.

two women performing a dumbbell pullover as part of Arm Toning Exercises for Females workout

25-Minute Toned Arms Workout For Women

Build upper strength and muscle definition with this 25-minute arm workout.

A complete arm workout designed to sculpt every muscle group in the upper body: the shoulders, back, chest, biceps and triceps.

Bonus: constant core engagement means your abs will get a sneaky workout as well.

I suggest adding an upper body workout like this one to your weekly fitness routine once a week.

Workout Equipment:

Medium-to-Heavy Pair of Dumbbells. We’re using 10-20 lbs.

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woman performing an overhead tricep extension with dumbbell

Workout Instructions:

Follow along with the guided 25-Minute Arm Toning Workout on YouTubeled by certified personal trainer, Lindsey Bomgren. 

Your Arm Workout Looks Like This:

  • 3 Circuits (2 arm toning exercises per circuit)
  • Timed Intervals (30 seconds of work per exercise, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Perform as many repetitions as you can in the timed interval.)
  • Repeat Each Circuit x3 Sets

Workout Outline


  1. Half Bicep Curls
  2. Overhead Tricep Extensions


  1. Dumbbell Chest Press
  2. Single Arm Plank Rows and Plank Walk


  1. V-Sit Hold and Shoulder Press
  2. Dumbbell Pullover

two women performing a bicep curl with dumbbells as part of Arm Toning Workout

Prefer to Watch On YouTube?

youtube icon Arm Workout

6 Arm Exercises for Women

Half Bicep Curls

Targets: Biceps (the front of the arm).

Increased time under tension strengthens the biceps muscle and increases the biceps hypertrophy (muscle growth).

two women performing half bicep curls as part of Arm Toning Exercises for Females

How To Do Half Bicep Curls

  1. Start standing, feet hip-width apart and core engaged. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing out away from the body (underhand grip or supine curl).
  2. Keeping your elbows locked by your sides, perform a half bicep curl, curling the weights up to around belly button height. Pause at the top to hold both arms at a 90-degree angle. Think about keeping your shoulder blades back and down to avoid neck strain.
  3. Then, slowly lower the dumbbells with control, returning the weights to your thighs.

Overhead Tricep Extension

Targets: The triceps (back of the arm). This move also engages all the stabilizing muscles in the shoulders, core, glutes and lower back muscles.

two women performing overhead tricep extensions as part Arm Toning Workout

How To Do Overhead Tricep Extensions

  1. Start standing with feet hip-width apart, core engaged and knees slightly bent. Hold one dumbbell vertically between your palms overhead.
  2. Slowly bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle, bringing the dumbbell behind your head. Think ‘hide the dumbbell, show the dumbbell’, if you were watching yourself in a mirror. Keep your elbows close to your ears throughout the entire movement (don’t let your elbows flare out as you fatigue).
  3. Squeeze through the back of your arm as you exhale, pressing the dumbbell overhead, arms fully extended.

Dumbbell Chest Press

Targets: Pectoral muscles (chest) and both the anterior and lateral heads of the deltoid (upper arms and shoulders).

two women performing dumbbell chest presses as part of Toned Arms workout for women

How To Do A Dumbbell Chest Press

  1. Lie flat on your back (on the ground, on a bench, incline bench, or on a stability ball) with knees slightly bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold one dumbbell in each hand (palms facing knees), elbows bent at a 90-degree angle.
  2. Exhale as you push both dumbbells overhead at the same time; dumbbells stacked over shoulders at the top of the press. Make sure your wrists are strong and in line with your shoulders.
  3. Lower the dumbbells back towards your chest with control.

Single Arm Plank Rows and Plank Walk

Targets: All of the arm muscles, specifically engaging the upper back, biceps, triceps, shoulders and core.

Plank and rows, or renegade rows, are an effective way to build muscle definition in the arms and abs; simultaneously building upper back strength and core strength.

two women performing a plank row (or renegade row) and plank walk

How To Do Single Arm Plank Rows and Plank Walk

  1. Place your dumbbells 2-3 feet apart on the ground.
  2. Start in high plank position in front of the dumbbell on your right. Right hand is on the dumbbell and left hand is on the ground. Core is engaged, forming a straight line from your heels through the top of your head.
  3. From this plank position, perform a single arm back row by pulling the dumbbell back towards your right hip, elbow up towards the ceiling. Focus on keeping both hips square to the ground as you perform this row.
  4. Lower the dumbbell back to the ground slow and controlled. Repeat x4, performing 4 plank rows on one side of the body.
  5. Then, perform a lateral plank walk over to the dumbbell on your left: moving laterally to the left by stepping your left hand and left foot out, right hand and right foot to follow.
  6. Holding the dumbbell in your left hand, right hand planted on the ground, perform 4 plank rows on the left side of the body.
  7. Then, reverse the plank walk, moving to your right and returning to starting position.

Modification: Perform standing bent over rows rather than renegade rows. Stand with feet hip width apart and hinge at the hips to perform a single arm back row.

V-Sit Hold and Shoulder Press

Targets: Deep transverse abs, rectus abdominis, lower abs, shoulders, top of the thighs and hips.

two women performing a v sit and shoulder press as part of Toned Arms Women workout

How To Do A V-Sit Hold and Shoulder Press

  1. Start sitting on your mat on your “sit bones”, knees bent at 90 degrees and feet planted on the floor. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your collarbones.
  2. Engage your core as you lean back and lift your heels off the ground. Your body should form a “V” shape between your torso and knees.
  3. Exhale as you press the dumbbells overhead, performing a shoulder press.
  4. With control, lower the dumbbells, returning the dumbbells to shoulder height and returning to the starting position.

Modification: Keep one or both heels on the ground rather than floating your legs for additional core support.

Dumbbell Pullover

Targets: Mainly the triceps, lats (latissimus dorsi) and pecs (pectoralis major and pectoralis minor) while also targeting the core and abs for stability.

This is one of the best arm exercises you can do to strengthen the muscles you need to develop for pull ups as well.

two women performing a dumbbell pullover as part of Arm Toning Exercises

How To Do A Dumbbell Pullover

  1. Start lying on your back, with legs bent at 90 degrees, feet hip width apart. Hold a dumbbell horizontally between your hands, elbows slightly bent, hands shoulder width apart, palms facing in.
  2. Press through your heels and squeeze your glutes to lift your hips into the air, performing a glute bridge.
  3. Keeping arms straight, with a slight bend in the elbows, slowly lower the dumbbell overhead towards the ground.
  4. Then pull the dumbbell back overhead, engaging the lats, to return to the starting position.

Modification: Omit the glute bridge, performing the dumbbell pullover from a lying position with your lower back pressed into the ground.

Pin these Arm Toning Exercises for Females

Arm Toning Workout Pin for pinterest

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  1. I really liked this format, and really appreciated your thorough instructions – especially for the bonus core move. I always struggle with the v-sit or a boat pose. When I did it, I immediately felt a sharp pain in my low back, so I came here to read the precise instructions. What am I doing wrong?
    Also, I am really glad that you now can film workouts at your home. I’ve been following along for a while, and I know you had to film a lot in one day for the studio space. This change made me really happy for you! wishing you all the best!

    • So happy to hear you have been part of the NML community for years and are loving the new format! I would suggest doing seated press instead of the v-sit to protect your lower back! Thanks for sweating with us and keep coming back for more!

  2. Great workout! I did it twice as I never know when I’ll get to workout for longer than 20min – mom life!! Thanks again for the awesome content.

  3. Just wanted to say that I really appreciate all your efforts and the amount of work you put into make these videos AND to give free access! You are awesome and I whole heartedly wish you nothing but the best!

  4. I look forward to giving all these 6 exercises a try and then continuing to do it weekly! I was doing weight work with my upper body today and it hurt way to much, need some major strengthening to occur!

    • Hi Amanda! Yes, these 6 exercises are staples in my upper body training routine and a fun way to mix things up! Women are usually weaker in our upper bodies because we focus on them less + there are so many benefits to strength training! Keep up the great work! -Lindsey