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Leslie McNabb

A former professional ballet dancer with over 25 years of experience in the health and wellness industry. As a Pilates Instructor (Pilates Mat & Pilates Apparatus) a Restorative Exercise Specialist, and NKT practitioner, I teach others how to be healthy and pain-free.

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Tone Flabby Arms

Ask the Expert


I use weights to work my biceps, but my arms still look flabby. What other exercises will help?


Losing fat—in your arms and throughout your body—is only accomplished by burning more calories than you consume.

That said, strength training your triceps muscles (located on the back of your arm) as well as your biceps will help tone the muscles for a less flabby appearance. What's more, don't forget about your shoulders! Toned shoulders play a vital role in total upper body strength, posture and overall appearance.

The exercises below will help shape your arms. Tips:

  • You'll need a pair of hand-held weights (2 pounds to 5 pounds) and a small bench or chair.
  • Perform all movements in a slow and controlled way.
  • Do not let the hand holding the weight swing with momentum—this makes the exercise less effective and could cause injury.
  • For proper tempo, take three counts to do the movement, hold for one count, and then take three counts to return the arm to the start position.

Arm Exercise #1: Triceps

  • Keep the back and head straight and abdominal muscles pulled in.
  • Bend at the hips. Place one hand on a bench or chair.
  • Hold a weight in opposite hand with your elbow bent by your side.
  • Slowly straighten the arm by moving the weight toward your hip.
  • Repeat 10 times on each side.

Arm Exercise #2: Middle Deltoid

  • Stand with knees slightly bent, feet hip-distance apart and abdominal muscles tight.
  • Hold a weight in each hand with your thumb pointing forwarding.
  • Slowly lift the weights up and to the side until they reach shoulder height.
  • Hold for one count, then return arms to your sides.
  • Repeat 10 times.
    Middle DeltoidMiddle Deltoid

Arm Exercise #3: Rear Deltoid

  • Keep the back and head straight and abdominal muscles pulled in.
  • Bend at the hips. Place one hand on a bench or chair.
  • Look at the ground; looking up will stress your neck. Keep shoulders square, weighted arm hanging straight to the ground.
  • Bend your elbow up to the ceiling and to the side until it is lined up with your shoulder.
  • When done correctly, your arm should create a right angle with your body.
  • Hold position for one count, and then return to start position.
  • Repeat 10 times on each side.
    Rear DeltoidRear Deltoid
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