Best upper body workouts for arms?

I have rather large arms, that need some serious toning. I have just finished the couch to 5k program with my local running group and try to get out for a run 4 times a week and am aiming to be able to run a 10k by the end of the summer.
In the past I have followed the 21 day fix program for toning and have found it's given me great results around my abdomen and my legs but my arms have remained large and flabby and make me feel incredibly insecure.
I use 3kg dumb bells and have a 4kg kettle bell. Does anyone know of good upper body workouts to help tone them up and how often I should work them out?
Many thanks

Replies

  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,529 Member
    By toning do you mean growing muscle or losing fat?
    You do realise that you can target muscles by exercise but can't target areas to lose fat?
    Are you at goal weight or are you seeking to lose weight?

    Your weights seem very low for an adult and that will be very limiting. A set of adjustable dumbbells might be a sensible investment if you intend adding some muscle.
  • nighthawk584
    nighthawk584 Posts: 1,979 Member
    to lose the fat, diet is most important. to tone/build muscle in arms/biceps, good old fashioned dumbbell curls work great. Also, push ups or chin ups hit the arms, shoulders, triceps , chest...etc. I do full body weight training 3 times a week and cardio on the off days.
  • devon2014uk
    devon2014uk Posts: 4 Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    By toning do you mean growing muscle or losing fat?
    You do realise that you can target muscles by exercise but can't target areas to lose fat?
    Are you at goal weight or are you seeking to lose weight?

    Your weights seem very low for an adult and that will be very limiting. A set of adjustable dumbbells might be a sensible investment if you intend adding some muscle.

    I'm aware that you can't target areas to lose weight, I am still on my weight loss journey. I'm down 15lb so far and ideally am hoping to lose a further 10 - 14lb.

    I got low weights as the programs I had been following were plyo-training with weights and lifting heavy when doing that felt impossible and was not advised. If you recommend heavier weights, how heavy are you talking? I'm not looking to bulk up, just tighten up the muscles.
  • devon2014uk
    devon2014uk Posts: 4 Member
    to lose the fat, diet is most important. to tone/build muscle in arms/biceps, good old fashioned dumbbell curls work great. Also, push ups or chin ups hit the arms, shoulders, triceps , chest...etc. I do full body weight training 3 times a week and cardio on the off days.

    Thank you, I never know how often to workout or what workouts to do. I want to stick with running 4 times a week as I really enjoy it, I'm also trying to incorporate some light yoga to help stretch out my leg muscles afterwards but the weight training side of things I am totally clueless, I have no idea how heavy my weights should be, how many reps of what exercises I should do and how many times per week. I'm a woman who doesn't want to bulk up, I'm down 15lbs so far and am still trying to lose another 10 - 14lbs but would like to try and get a firmer body at the same time, especially my arms.
  • dewit
    dewit Posts: 1,372 Member
    edited March 2020
    @sijomial can one find adjustable dumbbells who cost under 100$/€/£ or are those rubbish? What weight would you advice women to get? Would up to 20kg suffice?
  • devon2014uk
    devon2014uk Posts: 4 Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    sijomial wrote: »
    By toning do you mean growing muscle or losing fat?
    You do realise that you can target muscles by exercise but can't target areas to lose fat?
    Are you at goal weight or are you seeking to lose weight?

    Your weights seem very low for an adult and that will be very limiting. A set of adjustable dumbbells might be a sensible investment if you intend adding some muscle.

    I'm aware that you can't target areas to lose weight, I am still on my weight loss journey. I'm down 15lb so far and ideally am hoping to lose a further 10 - 14lb.

    I got low weights as the programs I had been following were plyo-training with weights and lifting heavy when doing that felt impossible and was not advised. If you recommend heavier weights, how heavy are you talking? I'm not looking to bulk up, just tighten up the muscles.

    Muscles get stronger or weaker, bigger or smaller. They don't tone or tighten, that's just the diet & fitness industry using inaccurate language.
    The fear of accidentally adding a lot of muscle (bulking up) is completely unfounded, especially for women, even more so in a calorie deficit. The few women with big muscular arms have worked extremely hard over a very extended period of time - they could also stop building muscle any time they wanted.

    Heavy enough weights to cause enough stress to your muscles to cause them to have to adapt and that weight is both personal and progressively goes up as your strength improves. Which is why adjustable dumbbells are a good option for home use to avoid a house full of equipment.

    Bodyweight exercises are a good option too, push ups and pull ups for example, you want to do both pull and push movements to work all the muscles and not just some.

    Thank you, I've never heard of adjustable dumbbells so that's a good tip! I am completely clueless when it comes to weight training, I have no idea what exercises are good, how many reps I need to be doing etc. I google exercises and I just get overloaded with "information" and routines.
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,529 Member
    dewit wrote: »
    @sijomial can one find adjustable dumbbells who cost under 100$/€/£ or are those rubbish? What weight would you advice women to get? Would up to 20kg suffice?
    @dewit
    Can easily get a good set well under that budget. For example.
    https://www.fitness-superstore.co.uk/weights-and-barbells/dumbbells/adjustable-spinlock-selectable-dumbbells

    Good workout for the postman doing the delivery too. :smiley:

    Worth looking for secondhand/used sets too, online or locally.

    Total weight depends to a degree what exercises you do with them, compound lifts require more weight but are (generally) more beneficial.
    Isolation lifts don't require a lot of weight until you get strong. You can also buy more/bigger plates later.

    ( @devon2014uk Isolation lifts tend to target one muscle group/move one joint, compound lifts target multiple muscle groups/move multiple joints.)
  • kristingjertsen
    kristingjertsen Posts: 238 Member
    Swimming laps has worked well for me. It tones everything--arms, shoulders, back muscles, abdominal muscles, legs. I mix it up--breaststroke, backstroke, frog crawl, pool exercises like walking forward, backward, and side to side, ballet style exercises to build strength and flexibility in the legs, back and arms. You can get an excellent workout with minimum equipment (mask or goggles , hand paddles, foam board, foam weights, pull buoy, and a snorkel). My physical therapist suggested I start swimming for exercise after I had two back surgeries to take the pressure off arthritic joints. To my surprise I quickly realized that it was a great form of cardio exercise and created longer, leaner, stronger muscles from head to toe.
  • mom23mangos
    mom23mangos Posts: 3,071 Member
    Swimming is great. ^ You can't go wrong with simple pushups, pullups and dips. No weights needed.
  • RCPV
    RCPV Posts: 342 Member
    I agree with @mom23mangos. I started doing counter pushups and triceps dips as part of a NEAT challenge in the group I belong to. Every time I went into the kitchen I'd knock out 10 of each against the countertop. As that got easy, I simply upped the reps. I now do full pushups on the floor and triceps dips with legs fully extended. My arms have never looked better. Requires no weights or special equipment and is very effective.
  • mom23mangos
    mom23mangos Posts: 3,071 Member
    edited March 2020
    RCPV wrote: »
    I agree with @mom23mangos. I started doing counter pushups and triceps dips as part of a NEAT challenge in the group I belong to. Every time I went into the kitchen I'd knock out 10 of each against the countertop. As that got easy, I simply upped the reps. I now do full pushups on the floor and triceps dips with legs fully extended. My arms have never looked better. Requires no weights or special equipment and is very effective.

    Once you are comfortable with feet elevated tricep dips, you can move onto standard dips. Push two chairs together about shoulder width apart of slightly more, place hands on the chair seat (or the backs if stable), bend your knees and cross your ankles so you are only supported on your arms, lean forward slightly and lower down until your hands are close to your shoulders and push back up. Keep your shoulder blades depressed and don't allow them to shrug up by your ears.

  • RCPV
    RCPV Posts: 342 Member
    @mom23mangos, thanks!
  • beastier
    beastier Posts: 1,908 Member
    Change is the key - not just the actual exercises but also the ways you hit them...eg sometimes go heavy with longer rests...other lighter, upping the reps with shorter intervals (eg supersets, dropsets, trisets..)

    But also vary the angles, vary the exercises

    There’s plenty on YouTube of proficient lifters showing their routines - just don’t stick to the same one more than a few times would be my best advice
  • happysquatter
    happysquatter Posts: 91 Member
    beastier wrote: »
    Change is the key - not just the actual exercises but also the ways you hit them...eg sometimes go heavy with longer rests...other lighter, upping the reps with shorter intervals (eg supersets, dropsets, trisets..)

    But also vary the angles, vary the exercises

    There’s plenty on YouTube of proficient lifters showing their routines - just don’t stick to the same one more than a few times would be my best advice

    Random programming yields random results

    What you are suggesting is incorrect and flies in the face of most successful, progressively loaded, systematic programs
  • beastier
    beastier Posts: 1,908 Member
    beastier wrote: »
    Change is the key - not just the actual exercises but also the ways you hit them...eg sometimes go heavy with longer rests...other lighter, upping the reps with shorter intervals (eg supersets, dropsets, trisets..)

    But also vary the angles, vary the exercises

    There’s plenty on YouTube of proficient lifters showing their routines - just don’t stick to the same one more than a few times would be my best advice

    Random programming yields random results

    What you are suggesting is incorrect and flies in the face of most successful, progressively loaded, systematic programs

    I didn’t say random - I said variation
  • littlegreenparrot1
    littlegreenparrot1 Posts: 590 Member
    You mentioned yoga already, I find it's a great complement to running.

    Is there a class you could do, and do it more regularly? A lot of it requires arm strength.
    People are often dismissive of it and I don't know why, it can be very challenging.