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9 Exercises for Strong, Sculpted Arms

  • Alex Palombo

    How This Workout Works

    Hot Arms Made Simple

    "You don't need fancy equipment to get strong, sculpted arms and shoulders," says trainer Todd Durkin, who created this 360-degree arm-toning routine exclusively for FITNESS. "You just need the right moves." And here they are, using only a set of 5- to 12-pound dumbbells, a handled resistance tube, and a sturdy bench or chair. His rules for speedier results: (1) Opt for heavier weights, not the three-pounders. (2) Do two rear-delt moves for every front-delt exercise; we've labeled these specific targets so you can shuffle the moves.

    Do these exercises three times a week every other day, along with your usual cardio. Perform one or two sets per move in the first two weeks and add weight every two weeks. Starting with week three, do two or three sets of the biceps and triceps moves. Bye-bye, arm jiggle!

    Watch the workout video

  • Alex Palombo

    Three-Point Row

    Targets back, medial deltoid, and rear deltoid

    • Stand with feet staggered, right in front of left, holding an 8- to 12-pound dumbbell in left hand.
    • Bend forward from hips and place right hand on a bench. Extend left arm down, palm facing right.
    • Draw left hand up to rib cage. Lower arm, then bring elbow out 45 degrees from side.
    • Lower arm again, then draw elbow out perpendicular to ribs, turning palm to face left. Lower arm and repeat entire series 5 to 10 times. Switch sides; repeat.
  • Alex Palombo


    Targets back, anterior deltoid, medial deltoid, and rear deltoid

    • Loop the center of a handled resistance tube around a sturdy object at waist level, hold a handle in each hand, and turn so that left hip is facing anchor.
    • Bring both arms by left hip so right arm is across body, palm turned away from you, thumb down.
    • Keeping torso and left arm still, draw right arm across body and over to right so that thumb is pointing up (keep right arm straight, not locked).
    • Return to start. Do 10 to 15 reps. Switch sides; repeat.
  • Alex Palombo

    Goalpost Rotation

    Targets medial deltoid, rear deltoid, and rotator cuff

    • Anchor the center of a resistance tube around a sturdy object at waist level and stand facing it, holding a handle in each hand.
    • Bend elbows 90 degrees and raise arms to shoulder height so that arms are parallel to floor, palms facing down.
    • Keeping torso still, rotate arms up so that forearms are perpendicular to floor and palms face forward. Lower and repeat. Do 10 to 15 reps.
  • Alex Palombo

    Triangle Push-Up

    Targets shoulders, chest, triceps, and core

    • Kneel and place hands on floor under chest.
    • Turn hands in so that index fingers and thumbs form a triangle (they don't have to touch).
    • Straighten arms and step feet back so that body is straight from head to heels. MAKE IT EASIER: Place palms on a counter, a bench or the seat of a sturdy chair.
    • Bend elbows about 45 degrees out to sides as you lower chest toward floor. Press up and repeat.
    • Do 10 to 15 reps.
  • Alex Palombo

    Bench Dip

    Targets chest and triceps

    • Sit on front edge of a sturdy bench or chair, palms on either side of hips. Straighten arms and shift hips forward just in front of seat.
    • Bend knees so that they're aligned over ankles. MAKE IT HARDER: Extend legs, heels on floor. Lift right leg parallel to floor. (Beginners: feet on floor.)
    • Bend elbows 90 degrees behind you, lowering hips toward floor. Straighten arms; repeat.
    • Do 10 to 15 reps. (Switch legs for next set.)
  • Alex Palombo

    Triceps Extension

    Targets triceps, butt, and legs

    • Hold a 5- to 8-pound dumbbell in right hand and stand with feet staggered, left in front of right.
    • Lower into a lunge, knees bent 90 degrees and left knee aligned over ankle.
    • Maintaining lunge, lean forward and place left forearm on thigh. Draw right elbow toward rib cage, palm facing left and elbow bent 90 degrees.
    • Extend right arm behind you. Lower to 90 degrees again; repeat. Do 10 to 15 reps. Switch sides; repeat.
    • Alex Palombo

      Stork Stance Curl

      Targets biceps, abs, and butt

      • Loop the center of a resistance tube around instep of right foot once or twice; hold a handle in each hand.
      • Balance on left leg and raise right leg as high as you can while still feeling stable. Extend arms forward, palms facing up. MAKE IT EASIER: Keep both feet on floor.
      • Draw hands toward head, maintaining balance and keeping upper arms still. Extend arms again and repeat. Do 10 reps, then switch legs and repeat.
    • Alex Palombo


      Targets biceps, brachialis, and brachioradialis

      • Hold an 8- to 12-pound dumbbell in each hand at sides, palms facing forward. Bend right elbow 90 degrees, palm up, and keep it there.
      • Curl left hand to shoulder for 10 reps.
      • Switch arms (left stays bent, right arm curls); do 10 reps. Finally, do 10 complete curls with both arms.
      • For second set, change grip so that palms face each other. For third set, start with palms facing down.
    • Alex Palombo


      Targets back and biceps

      • Stand with feet staggered, right in front of left, and hold one handle of a resistance tube in left hand. Wrap about half the tube tightly around other handle, then hold wrapped handle in right hand.
      • Extend both arms forward at shoulder height and pull left arm back slightly, as if you're holding a bow and arrow. (Choke up on the tubing if you need to.)
        With right arm straight, pull left hand toward chest.
      • Release; repeat. Do 10 to 15 reps. Switch sides; repeat.
    • Video: Your Workout for Strong Arms

      Ready to tone and strengthen those guns? Follow along with Nike master trainer Traci Copeland for the full workout. (Want more from Traci? Next up, try her video on the 9 best moves to strengthen your core.)