30 Minute Toned Arms Workout (6 Arm Toning Exercises with Abs)

Six arm toning exercises with dumbbells in one 30 minute toned arms workout video. This arm workout hits every muscle in the upper body — biceps, triceps, shoulders, chest and back muscles — and you get bonus core work…it’s really a toned arms AND abs workout!

How Do I Get Toned Arms?

Lift weights (the heavier the better). 

Dumbbell strength training is the name of the game when it comes to arm toning exercises.

If you’re afraid of bulking up from strength training, know this: If you want arm definition, you need to train with a weight that actually stimulates your muscles and produces a training effect (Women’s Health).

To Get Toned Arms You Should:

  • Choose 4-6 weighted arm exercises (such as the six arm toning exercises with dumbbells outlined below).
  • Perform 8 to 12 reps of each exercise.
  • Repeat all exercises x 3-5 sets.
  • The last 2-3 reps of each arm exercises should be difficult to finish without losing your form (that means you’ve chosen the correct weight to stimulate your muscle and build arm definition).

I suggest dedicating at least one strength training day a week to upper body training

If you follow my Free Workout Plans, you know I like to split train arms and legs; paired with full body HIIT workouts.

Total body workouts usually tend to be ‘leg heavy’. So it’s important to have at least one training day dedicated to an arm workout with dumbbells in your weekly training routine if you want toned arms.

Arm Toning Exercises with Dumbbells Bicep Curl

What are the best arm toning exercises?

Multi-joint exercises, or excises that hit multiple muscle groups at once, paired with targeted isolated exercises.

Examples of the best arm toning, multi-joint exercises: 

  • Bent Over Rows
  • Overhead Press
  • Pull Ups

Examples of the best arm toning, isolated exercises: 

  • Bicep Curls
  • Tricep Extensions
  • Chest Press

The six arm exercises in this 30 minute toned arms workout are mostly multi-joint exercises. So you get the most bang for your buck hitting multiple arms muscles with one exercise.

Additionally you’ll alternate opposing muscle groups throughout the workout, so you don’t fatigue your muscle too early in the workout.

For example, you’ll perform a chest fly and narrow press, which works the chest, shoulders and triceps, followed by an overhead pull, which works the back and core.

This allows you to use heavy weights throughout the entire workout (remember you get toned arms from lifting weights).

30 Minute Toned Arms Workout with Weights

30 Minute Toned Arms Workout with Weights

Sculpt strong, toned arms with this STRENGTH-TRAINING upper body workout for women!

This toned arms workout targets every muscle in the upper body:

  • Biceps 
  • Triceps 
  • Shoulders 
  • Back
  • Chest
  • Core and Abs

The goal is to exhaust each of the above muscles in the upper body using heavy weights. The result, strong, toned arms. 

Workout Equipment: 

Medium-to-heavy set of dumbbells (or a couple sets of dumbbells to toggle between).

I suggest anywhere from 8-30 lbs. I’m using 12-15 lb dumbbells in the workout video.

Workout Instructions:

Let me be your certified personal trainer for the day! Click here to jump to the guided, toned arms workout video.

Alternatively, work through the 6 BEST arm toning exercises below at your own pace.

  • 6 exercises
  • 45 seconds per exercise, followed by 15 seconds rest between exercises 
  • Repeat all 6 exercises x3 sets for a ~20 minute workout (closer to 30 minutes with warm up and cool down)

Toned Arms Workout for Women pin for Pinterest

Toned Arms Workout FAQ’s: 

How many calories does this Toned Arms Workout Burn?

I personally burned ~300 calories during this 30 minute workout. Note: calorie burn will vary from person to person.

Why are the arm exercises repeated during the workout?

Repetition is an important part of strength training.

We repeat the 6 arm toning exercises (with the goal using the same weights each set) to push each muscle group to fatigue or even failure.

That’s how you build muscle; and strong, toned arms.

6 Arm Toning Exercises

For form cues and modifications, follow along with the video at the top of this post 

1. 3 Push Press + 3 Overhead Tricep Extensions

Targets: the shoulders, triceps and core. Pairing these two powerful ‘push exercises’ together to sculpt the upper arms — shoulders and triceps.

Push Press and Overhead Tricep Extensions

How to do a Dumbbell Push Press: 

  1. Stand with feet hip width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand at your shoulders, elbows pointing forward.
  2. Drop down into a shallow squat (about a 2-inch dip). Then press up through your heels, driving the dumbbells directly overhead until your arms are straight (locking out the elbows, biceps by ears).
  3. Lower the dumbbells back to the shoulders, or starting position.

How to do an Overhead Tricep Extension with Dumbbells: 

  1. Option to stand with feet shoulder-width apart or take a staggered stance. Hold one dumbbell with both hands, or one dumbbell in each hand.
  2. With a tight core, lift the dumbbell(s) overhead until your arms are fully extended.
  3. Bending at the elbows, slowly lower the dumbbell(s) behind your head. If looking in a mirror, thing ‘hide the dumbbells behind your head’.
  4. With a tight core and neutral spine, press the dumbbell(s) back overhead to return to the starting position.

Trainer Modification: If this exercises is too difficult to perform with two dumbbells, try dropping down to one dumbbell and holding it horizontally (the long way). 

2. Isometric Bicep Hold + Alternating Half Curls

Targets: the long and short head of the bicep muscle.

Isometric Bicep Hold and Half Bicep Curls

How to do an Isometric Bicep Hold and Half Bicep Curl: 

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent; holding a dumbbell in each hand at your sides, palms facing away from the body. And elbows off the body.
  2. Perform a half curl and hold this static position with your arms bent at 90-degrees and your biceps fully flexed.
  3. Lower one or both arms all the way down and then curl half way up and repeat.

3. 4 Single Arm Plank Rows + Plank Walk

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

Single Arm Plank Rows and Plank Walk

How to do a Single Arm Dumbbell Row in High Plank:

  1. Start in high plank position with one hand on a dumbbell and the other hand on the ground. You can always modify your plank with both knees on the ground.
  2. From this plank position, pull the dumbbell back towards your hip, elbow up towards the ceiling; focus on keeping both hips square to the ground as you perform this row.
  3. Lower the dumbbell back to the ground slow and controlled.

Trainer Modification: Perform the plank and row from the knees (instead of toes). Option to omit the plank walk and just perform the rows. 

4. Dumbbell Chest Fly + Narrow Chest Press

Targets: the chest muscle (pectoralis major), shoulders (deltoids), and triceps. Also known as your ‘push muscles’.

Note, the dumbbell chest fly is great for posture and can help reduce upper back pain, increase range of motion, and reduce tightness in the upper body.

Dumbbell Chest Fly and Narrow Chest Press

How to do a Dumbbell Chest Fly: 

  1. Lay flat on your back (on the ground, on a bench, or on a stability ball) with one dumbbell in each hand, arms extended directly above your shoulders, palms facing in towards each other. Press your feet firmly into the floor.
  2. Activate your core by pressing your lower back into the ground.
  3. Inhale as you slowly open your arms, lowering the dumbbells in a wide arc until they reach shoulder level, parallel to the floor. Your elbows should remain soft and not over-extended.
  4. Exhale as you pull the dumbbells back to starting position. Keeping your chest puffed out and your elbows slightly bent.

How to do a Narrow Chest Press: 

  1. Lay flat on your back (on the ground, on a bench, or on a stability ball) with one dumbbell in each hand, elbows glued to your sides, dumbbells at mid-chest point, and palms facing in toward one another. Press your feet firmly into the floor.
  2. Activate your core by pressing your lower back into the ground.
  3. Exhale as you push both dumbbells up in a straight line, ending with your arms straight overhead, wrist over shoulders.
  4. Lower back to starting position and repeat.

5. Dumbbell Overhead Pull or Dumbbell Pullover

Targets: the lats (latissimus dorsi), more commonly known as your upper back. While also targeting the chest, core and abs for stability.

The dumbbell pullover is a great exercise to get rid of back fat under your bra.

Dumbbell Overhead Pull

How to do a Lying Overhead Dumbbell Pull or Dumbbell Pullover:

  1. Lying on your back, with legs bent at 90 degrees, hold one or two dumbbells in your hands with arms extended overhead.
  2. Maintaining straight arms, with a slight bend in the elbows, slowly lower the dumbbells overhead towards the ground. Try to keep your low back pressed into the mat/ground.
  3. Then pull the dumbbells back overhead, engaging the lats, to return back to the starting position.

Trainer Modification: If this exercises is too difficult to perform with two dumbbells, try dropping down to one dumbbell and holding it horizontally (the long way). 

6. Sit Up + Alternating Shoulder Press

Targets: the shoulders, chest, triceps, core and upper abs.

sit up and alternating dumbbell shoulder press

How to do a Sit Up + Alternating Shoulder Press (Neutral Grip Shoulder Press): 

  1. Lie down on your back. Bend your legs and place feet firmly on the ground to stabilize your lower body.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height, palms facing in towards each other (neutral grip).
  3. As you exhale, curl your upper body all the way up toward your knees. Simultaneously, press one dumbbell overhead until the arm is fully extended.
  4. With control, lower back down to starting position.
  5. Repeat, pressing the other dumbbell overhead.

Trainer Modification: If this exercises is too difficult to perform with two dumbbells, try dropping down to one dumbbell and holding it horizontally (the long way) at the chest.

If you’re still reading this post to avoid grabbing your dumbbells. The below information on why strength training is so important for women should get you moving!

Why is Strength Training Important for Women?

  • Maintaining Muscle Tissue — we start losing muscle mass at age 30.
  • Increase Strength — strong, toned arms. Training your back and shoulders can improve your posture, and reduce back pain in some cases (SHAPE).
  • Improved Bone Density + Health — women have smaller, thinner bones than men, and after menopause they lose estrogen, a hormone that protects bones. Strength training also comes with the less visible benefit of lowering risk for several diseases (Time).
  • Control Body Fat + Weight Loss — weight training is more effective than cardio at building muscle, and muscle burns more calories at rest than some other tissues, including fat (NCBI). Because of this, it is commonly said that building muscle is the key to increasing your resting metabolism — that is, how many calories you burn at rest.
  • Decreased Risk of Injury — we use our upper body strength every day — pulling a door open, pushing a stroller, putting away groceries in the fridge.

So grab your dumbbells; don’t be afraid to go heavy, and give this 30 minute toned arms workout a try!

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6 comments
  1. 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!

  2. 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