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Tone Those Arms

Friday, October 13, 2017

You use them for practically everything — from heavy lifting to fine, delicate movements. So it’s important to keep your arms primed for every task. Trisha Ghoroi brings you a few exercises that will help you tone your arms

Whether it is doing the weekly shopping, preparing dinner, writing things down or gesticulating while we are talking, practically all our movements require the use of our arms. If you’ve been focusing only on core fitness, you’ve been neglecting your arms. Here, we’re talking about exercises to tone your arms to build strength, and so we spoke with Leandi van Zyl, sports scientist at ProSport Fitness Centre, who shares a few simple workouts with us. However, these exercises don’t target just the arms; they also work on other muscles. So get toning.


Leandi says, “Even though a push-up primarily targets the chest muscles, it works on your biceps, triceps and lower arm muscles too.” A push-up is a popular exercise that you can perform without any equipment.

How to perform it

  • Get into a prone position and place your hands palm-down on the ground next to your shoulders.
  • Keep your body (from head to toe) straight and get up on your toes. (The only parts of your body making contact with the floor should be your palms and your toes. However, beginners can start by resting their knees on the floor too.) 
  • Keep your body as straight as possible when doing push-ups and make sure that your whole body moves together. Keep your core activated throughout the exercise sequence.


This is one of the most challenging exercises to perform. It works on your back muscles, biceps and shoulder muscles. You don’t need gym equipment per se; you just need a horizontal bar.

How to perform it

  • Stand below a sturdy horizontal bar and grab hold of it with both wrists.
  • Pull yourself up by bending your elbows, before slowly lowering your body back to the ground.
  • You can even do this exercise in the gym using equipment (called Lat pull down machines or cable machines) to help strengthen your arm muscles.

Renegade rows

This exercise helps you strengthen your arms, back muscles and core muscles. All you need to perform this one is a pair of dumbbells.

How to perform it

  • Get into a push-up position and make sure that your back is straight.
  • Lift your right hand off the ground and move it towards your hip before bringing it back to the ground.
  • Repeat this movement with your left hand.
  • To increase complexity, hold a dumbbell in each hand while performing the exercise.

Shoulder press

This exercise involves weights, so it is important to learn the proper technique and maintain proper balance, otherwise it can lead to injuries. You should start this workout using light weights. Once you know the right technique you can move on to heavier weights.

How to perform it

  • Sit on a bench or stand with your back straight. Hold weights in both hands.
  • Lift your hands up above your head, keeping them in line with your shoulders, and then slowly bring them down.
  • Increase the complexity of this exercise by increasing the weight.

Equipment you can use

Dumbbells: Basic bicep curls can help tone your arms. Pick dumbbells that are 5 to 8 pounds or lighter. Choose according to what suits you.

Resistance bands: These are strong elastic bands and can be used for various toning exercises. One of the easiest ways to use a resistance band is to put your foot in the middle of the band and pull both ends towards your chest.

Pull-up bars: These are rigid bars that can be fixed between walls, at doorways or even in a passageway to practise push-ups at home.

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