Best Upper Arm Workouts for Beginners (tank top approved)

How to Strengthen Your Shoulders

Now that summer is upon us, it’s time to get your arm workouts in gear, so you can look and feel sexy in all the summery sleeveless attire you have lurking in your closet. Whether you’re male or female, having toned arms is a must. Besides looking smoking hot in whatever you’re wearing, having toned arms is going to help you feel healthier, more confident, and stronger. And the exercises and arm workouts for beginners provided below are designed to give you real results—fast!

What Muscles Define Your Arms?

When you talk about “arms,” you’re really talking about several muscle groups, namely the shoulders, biceps, and triceps. What exactly constitutes each of these areas, and how should you set up your arm workouts for beginners to make sure you hit the right muscle groups?

The shoulder is comprised of the front (anterior deltoid), side (lateral deltoid), and back (posterior deltoid) muscles. The front shoulder muscles connect to your chest muscles and perform “flexion” movements, for example, raising your arms overhead or raising your arms directly in front of you. Your side shoulder muscles perform “abduction” movements, which means they help you lift your arms up and out to the sides. Finally, your rear shoulder muscles perform “extension” movements, which include pulling your arms backwards behind your body.

There are also four smaller muscles which comprise the “rotator cuff.” These are the infraspinatus, supraspinatus, teres major, and the teres minor. These are known as “stabilizer” muscles and must be worked gently and strengthened as part of a good shoulder resistance training regimen.

The biceps is a muscle which runs along the front of your arm from your shoulder to your elbow area and has both a long head and a short head. Its main function is to move, lift, and twist your forearm.

Lastly, the triceps muscle is the largest muscle in your arm, and it’s made up of three heads and runs along the back of your arm from your shoulder area to your elbow. It works opposite of the biceps and helps extend the forearm and stabilize the shoulder joint.

Amazing Arm Workouts to Fight Flabby Arms

This workout focuses on all of the muscles in your arms that are revealed when you go sleeveless—your shoulders, biceps, and triceps. This routine is best done at a gym or fitness facility where you will readily have all the equipment available to you.

To complete these arm workouts for beginners, you’ll perform 10 repetitions of each exercise for each set. Depending on your level of fitness and time constraints, you can perform up to three sets of each exercise for a full arm workout.

Arm Workouts for Beginners

The Best Arm Workouts for Beginners


Shoulder Presses—sit up straight on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Raise your arms so your elbows are shoulder level with your hands facing forward. This is your starting position. Next, raise the weights straight upward until your arms are fully extended and the ends of the dumbbells touch each other. Pause and return slowly to the start position. This is one repetition. Repeat 10 times.

Lateral Dumbbell Raises—from a standing position with your feet hip-width apart, grasp a dumbbell in each hand with your arms straight down at your sides with your palms facing you. With a controlled movement, raise your arms out to your sides while keeping your arms relatively straight (with a slight bend in your elbows). Pause when your arms are parallel to the floor, and then return to the start position. This is one repetition. Repeat 10 times.

Front Plate Raises—grasp a weighted barbell plate with one hand placed on the outside of each side. Start with your arms straight down with a very slight bend in the elbows, bring the plate up straight in front of you, keeping your arms just slightly bent, until you can look through the hole in the middle. Pause at the top of this motion and then return the plate to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.

Rear Shoulder Face Pulls—this exercise can be tricky and must be performed with precision. Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart at a cable pulley machine. The cable should be set slightly above your head level. Using a rope, grab the ends with an overhand grip with your arms straight (with just a slight bend in the elbows) in front of you. Keep your knees slightly bent throughout the exercise. Squeeze your shoulder blades together while pulling your elbows back and the rope toward your face. Hold for a moment and return to start. Repeat 10 times.


Concentration Curls—this biceps exercise helps with your biceps’ peak and is a staple in any arm workouts for beginners. Sit on a bench with your feet wide apart. Holding a dumbbell with your hand facing upward, lean forward (keeping the back straight) until you can place your elbow on your thigh just above your knee, slowly lower the weight and then bring it back up to complete a biceps contraction. Do 10 repetitions on the first side and then repeat on the opposite side.

Hammer Curls—from a standing position, hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing your body. Maintain this position as you lift the weight by contracting your biceps muscles to bend your arms at the elbows. Pause at the top movement and then return in a controlled manner to the start position. You can lift both arms together or alternate arms back and forth until you have completed 10 repetitions on each side.


Triceps Kickbacks—with your left knee on a bench and the other leg straight with your foot flat on the floor, bent over at the waist and support your weight with your left arm. Grasp a dumbbell in your right hand, and keeping your elbow tucked into your side throughout the exercise, straighten your right arm until your arm is parallel to the ground. Hold for a moment and return to the start. Repeat on the right side for 10 repetitions and then switch to the opposite side and repeat for 10 repetitions to complete one set.

Triceps Pushdowns—while standing at a cable pulley machine, grab either a rope, angled bar, or a straight bar with your palms facing downward. Start with your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle and your forearms parallel to the ground. Tuck your elbows to your sides and slowly, under control, straighten your arms completely. Pause and squeeze your triceps once your arm is straightened and then return your arm to the starting position. Repeat 10 times and then duplicate the movement on the opposite side.

Best Arm Workouts for Beginners: A Follow-Up

A special note: you’ve heard it said that “the hip bone is connected to the leg bone which is connected to the…” Well, it’s true. Everything in the body is connected, and thus, everything works together. So, just working your arms is great, but working your entire upper body is even better and includes other key areas like your chest and back. And, of course, best of all is to work your entire body including your core and legs. Working your full body will help to prevent muscular imbalances and will give you much-needed muscle mass and overall strength and will help you fight flabby arms even more.