So you want toned arms? You’ll have to work them hard — biceps, triceps and shoulders. All you need to turn those arms into sculpted works of art is a pair of free weights. Not quite sure what to do? Well, here are 17 free weight exercises that will tone your arms in no time. Combine these exercises with a healthy diet and detox water for success.
1. Hammer Curl:
This exercise is great if you’re looking to add a little bump to your bicep!
- Step 1: Standing upright with core engaged, weights resting at sides with palms facing in.
- Step 2: Curl the dumbbells up, thumbs on top, until they reach shoulders. Lower to start position with control.
2. Concentration Curl on Stability Ball:
If multitasking comes naturally to you, you’ll love this combination of biceps and core stability!
- Step 1: Sit on a stability ball holding a dumbbell in right hand.
- Step 2: Lean forward, placing right elbow on inside of right thigh, arm extended with thumb up.
- Step 3: Slowly curl weight toward shoulder, rotating hand until palm faces up. Hold, then slowly lower back to start. Complete all your reps on one side and then repeat on opposite side.
4. Crossover Hammer Curl:
This great alternative to your average Joe hammer curl is sure to hit some of those hard-to-reach places.
- Step 1: Stand with a dumbbell in each hand. Your hands down at your sides with palms facing in.
- Step 2: Without twisting your arm and keeping palms facing in, curl the dumbbell of the right arm up towards your left shoulder. Touch the top of the dumbbell to your shoulder and hold.
- Step 3: Slowly lower the dumbbell along the same path as you inhale and then repeat the same movement for the left arm.
5. Reverse Bicep Curl:
In just one exercise you can tone the back of your biceps and your forearms! You may need to swap out for some slightly lighter dumbbells during this move!
- Step 1: Begin standing with feet shoulder-width apart, palms face down on the tops of thighs, grasping a dumbbell in each hand.
- Step 2: While keeping your upper arms stationary, curl the weights up to shoulders by only moving the forearms.
- Step 3: In a controlled motion, begin to lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position.
6. Horizontal Bicep Curl:
This move will really work your biceps, as long as you keep your upper arms around shoulder level and only bend from the elbow.
- Step 1: Stand with legs shoulder-width apart. Keep chest up and back straight. With a dumbbell in each hand, lift arms out to your sides even with your shoulders and palms facing upward.
- Step 2: Bend arms at the elbows curling the weight in toward your ears. Pause and then slowly uncurl the arms. Do not drop the arms back to your side. Keep the arms extended out to your sides and repeat the curl.
6. Overhead Triceps Extension on Stability Ball:
This exercise engages your core and your triceps! Just make sure you keep your elbows pointed at the ceiling.
- Step 1: Sit on a stability ball with both feet firmly placed on the floor, hip-width apart or wider. Hold a dumbbell overhead with both hands. Brace your abdominal/core muscles to stabilize the spine, pulling your shoulder blades down and back.
- Step 2: Inhale. Bend your elbows in a slow and controlled manner, lowering the dumbbell behind your head. Do not allow the upper arms to move. Continue to bend the elbows to a 90 degree bend or until your upper arms begin to move backward. Do not make contact with the back of your head. Do not change the position of your head, torso, upper arms, wrists or feet. Slowly straighten the elbows and return to start position. Repeat.
- Modification (Beginner): Grab a lighter set of weights and try to first master this move on a stable bench or chair.
7. Skull Crusher:
Sounds pleasant, doesn’t it? At least you can lie down for this one! There is no actual skull crushing involved, but it sure makes you feel like one bad mama jama.
- Step 1: Lie on the ground with knees bent, feet flat on floor.
- Step 2: Holding a heavy dumbbell in both hands, straighten arms until the weight is directly over your shoulders.
- Step 3: Keeping arms tights to body, bend your arms only at the elbow, lowering the weight slowly toward your forehead. Hold for a beat.
- Step 4: Squeeze the back of your arms to press back into the start position.