tone arms.jpgArms are like the cover of a book: if the cover of the book is attractive, the book instantly becomes more appealing. The author/artist of the book feels confident and proud of his masterpiece and rightfully so. Though I strongly believe in being fit and healthy from the inside first, why not sculpt your arms in the process to give yourself something extra to feel good about! So here we go, let’s get into exactly how to tone your arms!

  1. Stay away from 3 & 5lbs dumbbells

dumbbell-3lb-hexagon-family-fitness-dumbbell-556171-small.jpgThere is a common misconception with some women that lifting heavy weights will make you bulky. The truth is, most women simply do not naturally have enough testosterone to build large bulky muscle.

I sometimes get clients who are afraid to lift heavier weights and say that normally they don’t lift more than 5 or so pounds. The problem with super-light weights is unless they become challenging after 5-8 repetitions (reps), it is likely not stimulating your muscle fibers enough for your muscle to experience any change at all. If you are a beginner, definitely start with a lower weight and work your way up.

Some men also tend to think that doing lighter weights will give them the lean 007 look they are going for. Same principle goes here, if you are lifting weights and completing sets no problem, reevaluate your program to something more efficient for the time you are spending in the gym vs. benefit.

Doing 20+ reps only if you have been lifting heavy for a while and are switching it up. This is only true for a small population of people, most people will experience way more benefits following the next tip.

  1. Stick to a rep range between 10-15

Whether using free weights or weight machines, a rep range that will be worth your time and that will cause significant changes in muscle fibers in order to tone will be around 10-15 repetitions.

How do you know you are doing the correct number of repetitions with the correct weight?


If you are aiming for 15 repetitions, you know you are using the correct weight when the last few repetitions are challenging to complete. If you can complete the 15 repetitions without much struggle, it is time to increase the weight to the next higher weight. I have used these free weights before and they are amazing as you can easily switch the weight to get maximal benefits! Also you don’t need to keep buying numerous sets of dumbbells for your home as you get fitter.

  1. Vary your exercises for maximum definition

bicepexercises.jpegThere are many different muscles that make up our arms—the main ones being biceps, triceps, and shoulders. Within these muscles there are various muscle fibers. Doing various exercises, you are able to hit all portions of each muscle to give you more muscle definition.

Check out various ideas for unconventional exercises you don’t normally see in my blog on The 10 Best Shoulder & Arm Exercises using Resistance Bands


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  1. Do Overhead Tricep Exercises

best-arms-exercise-triceps.jpgBeing an expert at human movement and anatomy, I spent much of my university degree learning about all the different muscles in the body, to what bones they attach, and what action the muscle does. As I mentioned, each muscle has various muscle fibers. Since we are talking about arms: the tricep muscle (back of the upper arm) makes up the majority of the arm. The tricep muscle has 3 parts: the “long head” is the largest and it is best to train it with at least 2-3 different overhead exercises. Overhead tricep exercises engage the long head portion maximally. Here are some examples of overhead tricep exercises:

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Standing Tricep Extension with Dumbbell


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Tricep Skull Crusher



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Overhead Cable Tricep Extension































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  1. Burn Fat in general

Part of having arms that look defined is to minimize the layer of fat sitting on top of your muscles. Do exercises that engage multiple muscles as working more muscles will increase your heart rate and your body will burn more fat. Here are some ideas to help burn fat:

Battle Ropes for 30 seconds


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  1. Squeeze in 2-minute bouts of bicep and tricep exercises at home

Adding in small bouts of arm exercises will shock your muscles unexpectedly. The muscle fibers will be stimulated more than ever! Keep a set of resistance bands or dumbbells in your living room and do these while dinner is cooking, while watching a show, or really whenever you can squeeze them in!

Tricep extension using Tricep Crunch cables:                                         


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Alternatively you can also do Tricep Dips on a chair, couch, or stairs:


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Bicep Curls using Resistance Bands



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  1. Portion Control

webmd_photo_of_healthy_portions_on_plate.jpgYou may eat a healthy diet but remember portion control applies to even healthy foods. Evaluate the foods you are eating. Keep your diet high in whole, unprocessed foods, high in protein and low in saturated fats. Then evaluate your portion sizes. Best to eat smaller meals and eat more frequently to decrease blood sugar spikes. The more blood sugar spikes you have the more your body stores fat, which is definitely not conducive to getting toned arms!

I hope these tips are helpful and you are able to apply each of them. I strongly believe following these 6 tips, you will see the change in your arms. So up the motivation meter and get started!

Asma Kassam
Asma is a Registered Kinesiologist and Personal Trainer at AK Fitness Inc. She teaches bootcamps, personal training and active rehabilitation. She trains at a studio in Burnaby—Capitol Hill Athletics—as well as a studio in Downtown Vancouver. She is also passionate about nutrition as is a Certified Sports Nutrition Advisor. Visit my webpage at