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The Super Sweaty 30-Day Arm Challenge That Will Sculpt Your Hottest Arms Ever

  • Peter Ardito

    The 30-Day Arm Challenge: How It Works

    This arm challenge is broken down into four weeks: Week 1 is all about body-weight basics, Week 2 adds dumbbells, and Week 3 mixes body-weight and dumbbell moves to build can't-stop-won't-stop endurance. Week 4 combines body-weight ~flows~ with some weighted moves to tone your arms to perfection.

  • Not So Fast

    The first day of each week, you'll only do one exercise. But on the second day, you'll do exercises from both Day 1 and Day 2. On Day 3, you'll do the exercises from Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3, and so on. On Day 6 of each week, you'll ditch the exercises from earlier in the week and focus on fine-tuning work, and on Day 7 of each week you'll do a push-up challenge, so you can gauge your progress and start feeling strong AF. Following along? Post your progress and get motivation using the hashtag #FlexForFitness!

  • Peter Ardito

    Day 1: Wide-Grip Push-Up

    • Start in plank position with hands wider than shoulder-width, and feet hip-width.
    • Keeping core tight, lower chest toward the ground, then push through palms to return to plank.
    • Inhale as you lower, exhale as you push.
    • Do 3 sets of 15 reps.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 2: Triceps Dip

    • Sit on the floor, hands behind you with thumbs pointing forward and fingertips on a slight diagonal.
    • Lift hips up, shift weight onto hands, opening chest and rolling shoulders back.
    • Bend at the elbows, shooting them straight back, until butt taps the floor, and push to straighten.
    • Do 3 sets of 15 reps.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 3: Triceps Push-Ups

    • Place hands shoulder-width on floor, rotate elbow creases forward, and shift shoulders over wrists.
    • Lower chest to elbow height, elbows skimming sides of ribcage, then push through palms to return to plank. Inhale as you lower, exhale as you push. (Drop to knees for an easier variation.)
    • Do 3 sets of 10 reps.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 4: Plank Taps

    • Start in plank position with hands shoulder-width. Keep core tight and hips stable by drawing navel in and squeezing glutes.
    • Alternate tapping shoulders with the opposite hands.
    • Continue for 30 seconds.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 5: Crouching Tiger Push-Up

    • Start in plank position with hands wider than shoulder-width.
    • Lower chest toward floor in a regular wide-grip push-up. Then bend knees and shift hips back so knees are 2 inches off floor and arms are extended.
    • Lift hips up into downward dog position. Then tucking tailbone and rounding spine, roll back into plank position.
    • Do 3 sets of 10 reps.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 6: Fine-Tuning with Dolphin Push-Up

    Straight-Arm Fine-Tuning Work

    • Using 2.5-lb dumbbells, water bottles, or soup cans, lie on stomach, arms extended backward with weights in hand, palms facing down.
    • Squeezing glutes, lifting chest, and extending neck neutrally forward, tap the floor with the weights and lift. Do 15 reps.
    • Keeping arms lifted, squeeze arms in toward your body, tapping pinkies to hips, pressing in and out. Do 15 reps.

    Dolphin Push-Up

    • Start in elbow plank position with fingers interlaced. Drive through shoulders and lift hips toward the ceiling, then pull hips back down into plank position.
    • Continue for 25 seconds.

    Do circuit 3 times.

  • Peter Ardito

    Day 7: Endurance Push-Up Challenge

    • Start in plank position, hands wider than shoulder-width.
    • Lower down into a push-up, inhaling while lowering and exhaling while pushing up. Do 8 reps.
    • Rest in child's pose for 5 seconds.
    • Do 7 reps, then rest in child's pose. Do 6 reps, then rest in child's pose. Continue decreasing reps until you do just 1 push-up and finish in child's pose.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 8: Skull Crushers

    • Lie down, feet flat on the floor with arms extended above you. Hold moderately heavy dumbbells (5 to 10 lbs) with arms extended, elbows in line with shoulders.
    • Rotate elbows in, and extend the weight back to form a 90-degree angle with forearm and biceps. Press the weight back up and straighten arm completely, squeezing triceps.
    • Keeping the movement slow and controlled. Inhale while lowering the weight, exhale while extending.
    • Do 3 sets of 15 reps.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 9: Close Grip Press

    • Lie on the floor, arms extended perpendicular to the ground. Hold dumbbells over shoulders, palms facing in.
    • Lower the weight down to chest-level, keeping elbows in tight, until triceps are parallel to the floor. Exhale while pressing back up.
    • Do 3 sets of 15 reps.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 10: Overhead Pull

    • Lie on the floor with arms extended perpendicular to the floor, holding dumbbells pressed together over chest.
    • Keeping tailbone tucked, core engaged, and arms straight, slowly extend weight overhead until it taps the floor. Inhale while pulling the weight back toward belly button.
    • Do 3 sets of 15 reps.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 11: Plank Up/Down

    Plank Up/Down

    • Start in plank position with hands shoulder-width.
    • Keeping core tight and glutes engaged, place right elbow on ground, then left elbow on ground to lower down to elbow plank. Then place right hand under right shoulder, and left hand under left shoulder to return to high plank position. Repeat with left side first.
    • Continue for 30 seconds, alternating which arm goes first.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 12: Biceps Curl

    • Stand with feet hip-width, tailbone tucked, holding dumbbells by sides with palms forward.
    • Lift weight up to shoulder, squeezing biceps. Lower slowly back to start.
    • Do 3 sets of 25 reps (10 full reps, 5 reps lowering halfway, and 10 more full reps).
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 13: Fine-Tuning

    Straight-Arm Fine-Tuning Work

    • Using 2.5-lb dumbbells, water bottles, or soup cans, lie on stomach, arms extended backward with weights in hand, palms facing the floor.
    • Squeezing glutes, lifting chest, and extending neck neutrally forward, tap the floor with the weights and lift. Do 15 reps.
    • Keeping arms lifted, squeeze arms in toward your body, tapping pinkies to hips, pressing in and out. Do 15 reps.

    Plank Up/Down

    • Start in plank position with hands shoulder-width.
    • Keeping core tight and glutes engaged, place right elbow on ground, then left elbow on ground. Then place right hand under right shoulder, and left hand under left shoulder. Repeat with left side first.
    • Continue for 25 seconds, alternating which arm goes first.

    Repeat 3 times.

  • Peter Ardito

    Day 14: Endurance Push-Up Challenge

    • Start in plank position, hands wider than shoulder-width.
    • Lower down into a push-up, and press back up with core tight. Inhale while lowering and exhale while pushing up. Do 8 reps.
    • Lower into an elbow plank and hold for 20 seconds.
    • Do 7 push-up reps, then hold the elbow plank for 20 seconds. Do 6 push-up reps, then hold elbow plank for 20 seconds. Continue decreasing the number of push-ups until you do just 1 push-up and finish with an elbow plank.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 15 Part 1: Overhead Triceps Extension

    • Stand with feet hip-width, tailbone tucked, and drawing navel in.
    • Hold dumbbells overhead pressed together. Rotate elbows in, and lower the weights down so they're touching between shoulder blades. Straighten arms and squeeze triceps to raise dumbbells back overhead.
    • Do 3 sets of 20 reps (8 full reps, 8 reps pulsing at the lowest point, then 4 more full reps), alternating sets with following Day 15 Part 2 exercise.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 15 Part 2: Body-Weight Triceps Extension

    • Start in downward dog position. Rotating elbows in, tap forearms to the floor, then press through the palms to extend elbows and return to downward dog. Keep hips in downward dog position throughout movement.
    • Do 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps, alternating sets with Day 15 Part 1 exercise.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 16 Part 1: Biceps Curl

    • Stand with feet hip-width, tailbone tucked, holding dumbbells by sides, palms forward.
    • Lift weight up to shoulder, squeezing biceps. Lower slowly back to start.
    • Do 3 sets of 20 reps (8 full reps, 8 reps only lowering halfway, and 4 more full reps), alternating sets with Day 16 Part 2 exercise.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 16 Part 2: Wide-Grip Push-Ups

    • Start in plank position with hands wider than shoulder-width, and feet hip-width.
    • Keeping core tight, lower chest toward the ground, then push through palms to return to plank.
    • Inhale as you lower, exhale as you push.
    • Do 3 sets of 15 reps, alternating sets with Day 16 Part 1 exercise.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 17 Part 1: Triceps Kick-Backs

    • Stand with feet hip-width. Hinge forward while keeping core tight, back flat, and sticking butt out.
    • Lock elbows by sides, press the weight back and straighten arms to lock completely. Pull back in to 90-degree angle, careful not to swing weight. Squeeze and hold for 2 seconds while extended for extra burn.
    • Do 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps, alternating sets with Day 17 Part 2 exercise.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 17 Part 2: Triceps Push-Up

    • Start in plank position with hands shoulder-width on floor. Rotate elbow creases forward, and shift shoulders over wrists.
    • Lower chest to elbow height, elbows skimming sides of ribcage.
    • Inhale as you lower, exhale as you push. (Drop to knees for an easier variation.)
    • Do 3 sets of 10 reps, alternating sets with Day 17 Part 1 exercise.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 18: Plank Up/Downs and Plank Jacks

    Plank Up/Downs:

    • Start in plank position with hands shoulder-width.
    • Keeping core tight and glutes engaged, place right elbow on ground, then left elbow on ground. Then place right hand under right shoulder, and left hand under left shoulder. Repeat with left side first.

    Plank Jacks:

    • Start in plank position, feet together.
    • Keeping core tight, hop feet apart and back together.

    Do 1 plank up/down 2 plank jacks alternating for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.

  • Peter Ardito

    Day 19 Part 1: Hammer Curls

    • Start standing with dumbbells in hand, palms facing in.
    • Soften knees, tuck tailbone, and keep core tight while raising the top of the dumbbell to shoulder, squeezing biceps. Lower to start.
    • Do 3 sets of 20 reps (8 full reps, 8 reps going halfway down, and 4 more full reps). Alternate set with Day 19 Part 2 exercise.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 19 Part 2: Crouching Tiger Push-Up

    • Start in plank position with hands wider than shoulder-width.
    • Lower chest toward floor in a regular push-up. Then bend knees and shift hips back so knees are 2 inches off floor. Then lift hips up into downward dog position.
    • Tucking tailbone and rounding spine, roll into plank position.
    • Do 3 sets of 10 reps, alternating sets with Day 19 Part 1 exercise.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 20: Fine-Tuning with Hand Release Push-Ups

    Straight-Arm Fine-Tuning Work

    • Using 2.5-lb dumbbells, water bottles, or soup cans, lie on stomach, arms extended backward with weights in hand, palms facing the floor.
    • Squeezing glutes, lifting chest, and extending neck neutrally forward, tap the floor with the weights and lift. Do 15 reps.
    • Keeping arms lifted, squeeze arms in toward your body, tapping pinkies to hips, pressing in and out. Do 15 reps.

    Hand Release Push-Ups

    • Lie on stomach and bend knees so legs form a 90-degree angle. Place hands by ribcage like in a triceps push-up.
    • Push torso off the floor with elbows squeezing sides. Lower back to the floor. Then lift hands and extend arms straight in front, hovering off the floor. Continue for 25 seconds.

    Repeat the circuit 3 times.

  • Peter Ardito

    Day 21: Endurance Push-Up Challenge

    • Start in a plank position, hands wider than shoulder-width.
    • Lower down into a push-up, inhaling while lowering and exhaling while pushing up. Do 10 reps.
    • Lower into an elbow plank and hold for 20 seconds.
    • Do 9 push-up reps, then hold the elbow plank for 20 seconds. Do 8 push-up reps, then hold elbow plank for 20 seconds. Continue decreasing the number of push-ups until you do just 1 push-up and hold the last elbow plank.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 22: Triceps Push-Up to Body-Weight Triceps Extension Flow

    • Start in plank position with hands shoulder-width. Rotate elbow creases forward, and shift shoulders over wrists. Lower chest to elbow height, elbows skimming sides of ribcage, then exhale while pushing back up to plank. Drop to knees for an easier variation.
    • Then shift hips back into downward dog position. Rotating elbows in, tap them to the floor, then press through the palms to extend elbows. Keep hips in downward dog position.
    • Tuck tailbone, round spine, and roll forward into start position.
    • Do 10 reps.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 23: Triceps Dips to Panther Flow

    • Sit on the floor, hands behind you with fingertips on a slight diagonal. Lift hips up, shift weight onto hands, opening chest and rolling shoulders back. Bend at the elbows, shooting them straight back, and push to straighten. Do 5 reps.
    • Flip over onto all fours, with knees hovering 2 inches above the ground. Keeping back flat and core tight, move opposite arm and leg forward 2 inches, rotate elbow in and dip toward the floor. Repeat with the other side. Move forward for 4 total steps, then backward for 4 steps.
    • Flip over and begin the next set of triceps dips. Repeat circuit 5 times.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 24: Plank Triceps Extension to Triceps Push-Up Flow

    • Plank Triceps Extension: Start in an elbow plank position. Move elbows slightly forward, 2 inches in front of shoulders. Plant palms firmly, rotate elbows in, and press through elbows to straighten arms. Touch elbows back to floor, and straighten. Do 3 reps.
    • Triceps Push-Up: Step hands back so they are under shoulders, rotate elbow creases forward, and shift shoulders over wrists. Lower chest to elbow height, elbows skimming sides of ribcage, then exhale while pushing back up. Drop to knees for an easier variation. Do 2 reps.
    • Lower onto elbows and move them 2 inches forward to begin the next set of plank triceps extensions. Complete the circuit 5 times.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 25: Plank Up/Down to Plank Jack to Mountain Climbers Flow

    • Plank Up/Down: Start in plank position with hands shoulder-width. Keeping core tight and glutes engaged, place right elbow on ground, then left elbow on ground to lower down to elbow plank. Then place right hand under right shoulder, and left hand under left shoulder to return to high plank position. Do 1 rep.
    • Plank Jack: Keeping core tight in high plank position, hop feet apart and back together. Do 2 reps.
    • Mountain Climbers: Staying in plank position, drive right knee into chest, then left knee into chest, with core tight and hips in line. Do 4 reps on each side.
    • Continue the circuit for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 26: Couching Tiger Push-Up to Dive Bomber Push-Up Flow

    • Crouching Tiger Push-Up: Start in plank position with hands wider than shoulder-width. Lower chest toward floor in a regular push-up. Then bend knees and shift hips back so knees are 2 inches off floor and arms are extended. Lift hips up into downward dog position. Then, tucking tailbone and rounding spine, roll back into plank position. Do 3 reps.
    • Dive Bomber Push-Up: Push back from plank into downward dog. Lower head toward the floor, then face, chest, belly button, and push through back to downward dog. Do 3 reps.
    • Do this circuit 5 times.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 27: Fine-Tuning with Hand Release Push-Ups

    Straight-Arm Fine-Tuning Work

    • Using 2.5-lb dumbbells, water bottles, or soup cans, lie on stomach, arms extended backward with weights in hand, palms facing down.
    • Squeezing glutes, lifting chest, and extending neck neutrally forward, tap the floor with the weights and lift. Do 15 reps.
    • Keeping arms lifted, squeeze arms in toward your body, tapping pinkies to hips, pressing in and out. Do 15 reps.

    Hand Release Push-Ups

    • Start in plank position with hands shoulder-width. Perform a triceps push-up with elbows squeezing torso. (Drop to knees for an easier variation.) Lower to the floor, lift hands, and extend arms straight in front, hovering off the floor. Continue for 30 seconds.

    Repeat circuit 3 times.

  • Peter Ardito

    Day 28: Endurance Push-Up Challenge

    • Start in a plank position, hands wider than shoulder-width.
    • Lower down into a push-up, and press back up with core tight. Inhaling while lowering and exhaling while pushing up. Do 12 reps.
    • Lower into an elbow plank and hold for 20 seconds.
    • Do 11 push-up reps, then hold the elbow plank for 20 seconds. Do 10 push-up reps, then hold elbow plank for 20 seconds. Continue decreasing the number of push-ups until you do just 1 push-up and hold the last elbow plank.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 29 Part 1: Skull Crushers

    • Lie down, feet flat on the floor, holding dumbbells with arms extended above you,elbows in line with your shoulders.
    • Rotate elbows in, and extend the weight back so you form a 90-degree angle with your forearm and biceps. Then press the weight back up and strengthen the arm completely, squeezing triceps.
    • Do 3 sets of 15 reps, alternating sets with Day 29 Part 2 exercise.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 29 Part 2: Triceps Push-Up to Bodyweight Triceps Extension Flow

    • Start in plank position with hands shoulder-width and shoulders over wrists. Lower chest to elbow height, elbows skimming sides of ribcage, then exhale while pushing back up to plank. (Drop to knees for an easier variation.)
    • Then shift hips back into downward dog position. Rotating elbows in, tap them to the floor, then press through the palms to extend elbows. Tuck tailbone, round spine, and roll forward into start position.
    • Do 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps, alternating sets with Day 29 Part 1 exercise.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 30 Part 1: Triceps Kick-Backs

    • Stand with feet hip-width. Hinge forward while keeping core tight, back flat, and sticking butt out.
    • Lock elbows by sides, press the weight back and straighten arms to lock completely. Pull back in to 90-degree angle, careful not to swing weight. Squeeze and hold for 2 seconds while extended for extra burn.
    • Do 3 sets of 15 reps, alternating sets with Day 30 Part 2 exercise.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 30 Part 2: Panthers

    • Start on all fours, with knees hovering 2 inches above the ground. Keeping back flat and core tight, move opposite arm and leg forward 2 inches, rotate elbow in and dip toward the floor. Repeat with the other side.
    • Move forward for four total steps, then backward for four steps. That's 1 rep.
    • Do 3 sets of 5 reps alternating sets with Day 30 Part 1 exercise.

 

Lauren Mazzo

Lauren Mazzo is a digital editorial assistant for FITNESS and SHAPE. She's an Ithaca College alumna, a Rochester, NY, native and an NYC transplant.  More →

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