How To Tone Without Bulking Up Your Arms

Woman exercising with dumbbells
High-repetition, low-weight resistance exercises build muscle tone without bulking you up. (Image: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Many exercisers, especially women, are hesitant to do too many arm exercises for fear of gaining bulky muscle mass. If you want to have toned, trim arms without the bodybuilder look, high-repetition, low-weight resistance exercises are the key. There are several exercises that tone but don't bulk up each part of your arm if you use low-weight rather than heavier dumbbells.

Pump the Iron With Biceps Curls

Step 1

Woman using dumbells
Pump the Iron With Biceps Curls (Image: Roi Brooks/iStock/Getty Images)

Select your weights. Choose weights that are heavy enough to be challenging, but light enough that you can do 15 to 20 curls on each side and still feel able to do at least five more.

Step 2

Exercise 3
Lightly grip the dumbbells in each hand (Image: Jani Bryson/iStock/Getty Images)

Lightly grip the dumbbells in each hand. Let your arms hang by your sides, elbows straight and palms facing in.

Step 3

Dumbbell training
Raise your right arm slowly (Image: Ibrakovic/iStock/Getty Images)

Raise your right arm slowly, rotating your forearm as you lift. Your forearm begins the exercise facing your hip, but as you lift, it should begin to turn clockwise until it meets your biceps. Your palm should be facing your shoulder.

Step 4

Young woman traiing in the gym
Repeat on the left side (Image: boggy22/iStock/Getty Images)

Lower your right arm to its original position. Repeat on the left side.

Step 5

fitness training with dumbbell
Continue to alternate between right and left sides (Image: Benis Arapovic/Hemera/Getty Images)

Continue to alternate between right and left sides. Aim for 15 to 20 repetitions on each side.

Step 6

Building some muscle and smiling
Rest for about one minute and repeat the exercise (Image: Antonio_Diaz/iStock/Getty Images)

Rest for about one minute and repeat the exercise. Aim for three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions on each side twice a week to tone your biceps.

Kick It Up With Triceps Kickbacks

Step 1

Personal Trainer in gym
Kick It Up With Triceps Kickbacks (Image: Arne Trautmann/iStock/Getty Images)

Select weights that are heavy enough to challenge you but light enough that you can execute at least 10 to 15 repetitions with the capacity to do at least five more.

Step 2

Exercise class working out with free weights
Begin standing straight, holding one dumbbell in your right hand (Image: Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Begin standing straight, holding one dumbbell in your right hand. Bring your left leg forward about two feet, distributing your weight evenly between the heels of both feet.

Step 3

Woman working out
Bend forward slightly, keeping your back straight (Image: Roi Brooks/iStock/Getty Images)

Bend forward slightly, keeping your back straight. Place your left hand on your left thigh to support your back and pull your shoulder blades together, drawing them down your back.

Step 4

Exercise class working out with free weights
Bend your right elbow 90 degrees, tucking it close to your ribs (Image: Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Bend your right elbow 90 degrees, tucking it close to your ribs. Your forearm should hang relaxed from your bent elbow.

Step 5

Young woman lifting weights backwards standing up
Slowly begin to straighten your elbow as you exhale (Image: nPine/nPine/Getty Images)

Slowly begin to straighten your elbow as you exhale. Keep your upper arm and torso still.

Step 6

woman working out
Begin to bend your elbow as you inhale, bringing your arm back to the starting position (Image: Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Begin to bend your elbow as you inhale, bringing your arm back to the starting position.

Step 7

Young women exercising with small barbell in dance studio
Repeat 10 to 15 times on your left and right sides. (Image: Vico Images/Alin Dragulin/FogStock/Getty Images)

Repeat 10 to 15 times on your left and right sides.

Step 8

Men and women discussing in gym
Relax for at least a minute and repeat (Image: Chris Clinton/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Relax for at least a minute and repeat. Do at least three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions two times a week to tone your triceps.

Target Toned Shoulders With Lateral Raises

Step 1

Bodybuilder Doing Exercise For Shoulder
Target Toned Shoulders With Lateral Raises (Image: Ibrakovic/iStock/Getty Images)

Select your weights. Choose weights that challenge you but enable you to do at least 20 repetitions with the ability to execute a few more if you wanted.

Step 2

Military Press with Dumbbells
Keep your knees slightly bent to protect them from injury. (Image: Ibrakovic/iStock/Getty Images)

Grip one dumbbell in each hand. Bending over slightly from your hips, draw your weights in front of your thighs, keeping your elbows slightly bent. Keep your knees slightly bent to protect them from injury.

Step 3

Outstretched arm holding pink weight, close-up
Raise your upper arms slowly to the side (Image: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Raise your upper arms slowly to the side. When your arms are at shoulder height, stop for one second. Your body should look like a "T."

Step 4

Fit woman exercising with dumbbells in fitness studio
Repeat 10 to 15 times. (Image: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Lightwavemedia/Getty Images)

Lower your arms slowly. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

Step 5

Young woman lifting hand weights
Aim for doing shoulder raises at least twice a week to tone your shoulders without bulking up. (Image: moodboard/moodboard/Getty Images)

Complete at least three sets with one minute of rest in between each. Aim for doing shoulder raises at least twice a week to tone your shoulders without bulking up.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
Load comments
PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy. The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.