Easy Upper Arm Toning Exercises for Women

Learn how to tone your arms with these easy arm toning exercises.

These upper arm exercises help you firm and strengthen your upper arms safely.

Suitability: General – ideal for home exercise or gym/fitness centre

Duration: 4 minutes 13 secs

Please scroll down below this video for more Physiotherapy information and safety tips.

About Upper Arm Toning Exercises

This exercise video shows you two exercise variations for toning your upper arms.

These exercises help you reduce the risk of overloading your body (pelvic floor and shoulders in particular).

Which Muscles Are Trained?

The main muscles trained are the triceps muscles at the back of the upper arms.

Triceps extension exercises strengthen and tone the muscles at the back of the upper arm.

These upper arm exercises can help you strengthen your wrists, elbows and shoulders.

Benefits of Exercises Lying Down

The lying down technique demonstrated in this video allows you to strengthen your arms and progressively increase the load while minimising the risk of pelvic floor overload.

This lying down position can also reduce the risk of shoulder strain that’s sometimes associated with overhead arm toning exercises.

Technique Triceps Extension Exercises

Setting Up

  • Lie down on the floor or on a bench
  • Bend your knees for lower back comfort
  • Grasp each end of the dumbbell
  • Raise the dumbbell above your chest

Exercise Technique

  • Lower the dumbbell towards your forehead bending your elbows and moving only your forearms
  • Extend (straighten) your elbows and raise the dumbbell back towards the ceiling
  • Breathe in as you lower the weight towards your forehead and breathe with the effort of lifting the weight back towards the ceiling.

Exercise Tips

  • Keep your elbows close together throughout this exercise.
  • If you are prone to having shoulder problems, you may choose to start out with your elbows locked into your waist and lower the weight towards your chest.
  • You should feel the back of your upper arms working during this exercise.

Arm Toning Exercise – Barbell Variation

The arm toning exercise described above can be performed using a barbell rather than a dumbbell.

How Many Exercises?

  • Start out using a load that feels comfortable and progress the weight gradually over time with strengthening.
  • Repeat this lowering and lifting action up to 8-12 repetitions, up to 3 sets.
  • Try to perform strengthening exercises on 2-3 alternate days per week.

Next: Tricep Exercises With Resistance Bands (video)


  1. Thanks Michelle great exercises. Do you have to put legs up on the bench or will pressure on pelvic floor be minimal too if you have them on the floor. Look forward to seeing some bicep ones too!

    • Michelle Kenway Physiotherapist says:

      Hi Gill

      The pressure on your pelvic floor will be roughly the same with feet on the bench or ground. I raise my feet when I do this exercise as its far more comfortable for my lowerback. Choose the position that feels most comfortable for your body, your pelvic floor isn’t overloaded either way.


  2. Is it advisable to do 5lb weights on each arm for all your strength videos? I do 2lbs and I just don’t feel it unless I do 100 reps. Before prolapse I use to do 8 to 12lb weights. Prolapse happened about 4 months ago during postpartum.

    • Michelle Kenway Physiotherapist says:

      Hi Diana
      There’s definitely no one set weight for all exercises, in fact different muscles have different strength so it’s more beneficial to use the right load for the specific exercise. This exercise here lying down can be readily loaded, I don’t see any need to limit the weight to a set number. The weight will differ from one person to the next. Choose a weight for you that feels comfortable to start out with for the first few weeks and then increase the load so that you’re loading your muscles. This lying down triceps exercise is extremely unlikely to place excessive pressure on the pelvic floor.

  3. Hi Michelle
    Is there a substitute I can use for dumbbell for at home use

    • Michelle Kenway Physiotherapist says:

      Hi Maree

      Yes you can use a tin – maybe a long/tall one like the ones used for juice? Alternatively you might even use a bag of rice. Check your kitchen cupboard and you’ll be likely to find something starting at around 1-2kg or 2.2-4.4lb.

  4. yogawithgaileee says:

    So could I do this with my upper back on the big resist-a-ball? I don’t have a bench at home, but I do have one of those big resist-a-balls/therapy balls.

    • Michelle Kenway Physiotherapist says:

      Yes absolutely – lying back over the ball is a great way to do this with dumbbells provided you don’t have back pain

  5. Are you familiar with the Marie Osmond BodyGym? I’ve been using it, and all of the upper body exercises can be done seated in a chair. I was wondering if that was a safe pelvic floor exercise. Thanks so much for all of your information, it is wonderful to know there is help.

    • Michelle Kenway Physiotherapist says:

      Hi Denise

      My apologies I’m not familiar with this type of exercise so I really can’t comment but thank you for posting your question. Michelle