I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked the fastest way to get toned arms, or how someone can get rid of their ‘bingo wings’ (their words, not mine!). We all have a body part that, no matter how much we try, the changes just don’t seem to come.

As the weather warms up and the layers come off, getting rid of flabby arms can be a real challenge for a lot of people. So, if you are ready to fight the arm flab, once and for all, I am going to share some simple ways you can tone your arms (without spending hours at the gym)!

Why do you gain weight on your arms?

You gain weight on your arms for the same reason that you gain weight on any part of your body: either you are eating too many calories or you are burning too few calories (or a combination of both reasons!). Where you store your fat is predominantly due to your genetics, and that’s why some people store more stubborn fat on their arms compared to any other area.

Why do women get flabby arms more often than men?

In one word: estrogen. Thanks to this sex hormone women store fat more efficiently and, on average, women have 6 to 11 percent more body fat than men 1. So, as a woman, you’ll generally have more fat sitting over your arm muscles than a man would, and this means the outline of your arm muscles are being softened, creating a flabbier appearance.

Can you lose weight off your arms?

Yes! But, the bad news is that you cannot spot reduce, or burn fat off of a specific body area. If you want to lose weight from your arms, you will need to achieve an overall weight loss first, and then as your muscle outline begins to show, you’ll need to do specific arm toning exercises.

How long does it take to get toned arms?

There really is no exact answer to this, as it depends on a lot of factors. But the good news is that if you are being disciplined with your food and training – you will get there! Consistent training and a healthy, balanced diet contribute to your overall weight loss which will result in a reduction of fat all over your body – including your arms.

Mixing strength-based moves with high-intensity bouts of cardio in the same workout will burn fat and tone your arms much faster than if you did your strength and cardio separately.

Do I have to hit the gym to get toned arms?

No. You don’t need to place a foot inside a gym to improve the tone on your arms. I have some great arm-sculpting home workouts you can do anytime… just keep on reading!

Best workouts to get rid of flabby arms… fast!

If you are looking to lose that arm jiggle, and you’re wondering what kinds of workout you should be doing, it’s not as black and white as choosing cardio over strength training, or vice versa. We all need a bit of yin to our yang, and the reality is you will get the best arm-toning (and all over body results) when you combine cardio AND strength together. That’s why I love home HIIT workouts as it gives you both benefits, and this is the kind of arm workout that will give you results in the least amount of time.

Try these two HIIT workouts for an epic arm and upper-body blast that will help to give you lean, defined arms… just in time for summer!

Exercise Routine #1: Tone your arms with resistance bands!

Here are 7 arm exercises you should include in your weekly workout routines, and it won’t be long before you have lean and toned arms. Read the instructions below, or follow along with Snez as she shows you how they’re done!

VIDEO: Exercise your arms at home with Snez.
Follow along with Snez, in this resistance band arm workout!

Resistance Band Shoulder Press

  • Loop a resistance band around your hands with your hands up at chest height, shoulder-width apart, with your palms facing inwards.
  • With the back of your hands creating resistance against the band, extend your arms up above your head to ‘press’ up from your shoulders.

Resistance Band Bicep Curls

  • Loop your resistance band around a couch leg, door or another stable low surface.
  • Underhand grip the resistance band with both hands side by side and curl the band towards your chest.
  • Keep your elbows in by your side to ensure you are engaging your biceps.

Overhead Dumbbell Tricep Extension

  • Stand shoulder-width apart with dumbbells held out in front of you.
  • Lift the dumbbells up above your head until your arms are completely straight.
  • Keeping your elbows tucked in by your ears, slowly lower the dumbbells back behind your head.
  • Once your forearms have gone beyond parallel, slowly return your arms to the starting position by bringing the weights back up.

Close-grip push-up

  • Lie on your front face down and position your hands slightly closer in than shoulder-width apart.
  • Push your body up so you are in a high plank position
  • Slowly lower yourself down until your chest almost touches the ground.
  • Using your triceps, push your body up until you form a straight line from your head to your toes.

NOTE: You can do this from your knees to make it easier or alternatively you can do them with your hands against the couch or the kitchen bench..

Tricep kick-back left side

  • In a four-point kneeling position, on your hands and knees, hold a dumbbell in one hand.
  • Keeping your back straight, bend the arm that is holding the dumbbell to 90 degrees so that your triceps are in line with your back and your biceps are perpendicular to the ground.
  • Keeping your elbow tucked in by your side, hinge at the elbow to straighten your arm out behind you. (Your triceps should not move, the hinge comes from the elbow but you should feel the burn in your triceps) 

Tricep kick-back right side

  • Repeat as above, just on the other side!

Bicep Boxing Uppercuts

  • With a dumbbell in each hand, punch upwards one arm at a time like you are punching someone in the chin. Alternate arms at a quick pace to elevate your heart rate.

Exercise Routine #2: Sculpt Your Upper Body (at home!)

Mixing strength-based moves with high-intensity bouts of cardio will turn you into a lean, mean fat-burning machine and it will create lean tones arms much more efficiently than just doing your strength and then cardio sessions in isolation.

Alternating renegade row (20 reps, 10 each side)

  • Start in a push-up position with the dumbbells on the floor.
  • Hold your push-up position while performing alternating rows, keeping your body nice and stable, nice and strong.
  • Be sure to get your shoulder blade back and not shrug and keep your core nice and tight.

Push-ups (20 reps)

  • Start in a high plank position with your body in a straight line from your head to your toes. 
  • Keep your back straight and make sure your hips and chest are going down and up as one.
  • Breathe in on the way down, and breathe out on the way up.
  • If you can’t do push-ups on your toes yet, you can try them on your knees.

Curl & Press (20 reps)

  • Stand up tall with your feet hip-width apart, with a dumbbell (or a can of baked beans!) in each hand
  • Ensure your hands are facing up, and bend your arm at the elbows to curl the weights up towards your shoulders
  • Push the dumbbells up above your head, making sure you extend your arms all the way up

Hammer Curls (20 reps)

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and a dumbbell (or can of baked beans!) in each hand
  • Ensure your palms are facing towards your body like you’re hitting a hammer
  • Keep your elbows close to your body and slowly curl the dumbbell up to your shoulders

Overhead Tricep Extension (20 reps)

  • Kneeling with a dumbbell in each hand
  • Lift the dumbbells up above your head until your arms are completely straight
  • Keeping your elbows tucked in by your ears, slowly lower the dumbbells back behind your head.
  • Once your forearms have gone beyond parallel, slowly return your arms to the starting position by bringing the weights back up.

Lat Rise (20 reps)

  • Lie on the floor in a hip bridge position.
  • Take one dumbbell up above your chest
  • Keep your arms straight, and slowly lower the dumbell over your head, to gently touch the floor above you,
  • Bring it back up, with a straight arm, back to above your chest.
  • Remember, you should always control the movement, and if it is too tough to control, reduce the hand weight.

Alternating Side Plank (20 Reps, 10 each side)

  • Starting in a high plank or pushup position.
  • Open your chest up and rotate into a t-hold
  • Then bring that arm down to the floor and open up and rotate into a t-hold on the other side.  
  • Hold at the top of the movement for 2 seconds each rep and continually swap sides for 20 reps.

VIDEO: Watch how Sam sculpts his upper body at home

Work out with Sam Wood and this upper body sculpt session

Remember, you can’t spot reduce but consistent training will help you to burn fat all over, and then you can do targeted arm exercises to further tone your arms.


1 University of New South Wales. “Why Do Women Store Fat Differently From Men?.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 March 2009.

Posted by Sam Wood

Father and husband, on a mission to help people move more, eat better and make a positive change to their lives. Sam Wood has over 20 years experience as a personal trainer and is recognised as one of Australia’s leading experts and media commentators in the health & fitness industry. Sam is the founder and personal trainer of 28, Australia’s #1 home fitness and nutrition program, and he's also the proud owner of Australia’s largest personal training studio, The Woodshed, based in Brighton, Melbourne.