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Is it possible to lose arm fat? 9 best exercises for toned arms

There are no magic moves to slim your arms, but these exercises that target the biceps, triceps and shoulders can help.
Tricep dips home workout
wilpunt / Getty Images

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Whether it's the back of the arms, the midsection or the thighs, losing weight or reducing fat in a specific area is a desire I hear often from clients.

It's important to note that spot reduction from one body part is really not possible. If you’re looking to lose fat in a specific area, like your arms, you need to focus on full-body workouts (not just arm exercises!) and a healthy diet. Reducing overall body fat will help you slim down desired areas. However, if you’re looking to tone the arms and build some upper body muscle, there are a lot of arm exercises you can do to help achieve that goal.

The arms are composed of several key muscles, including the biceps, triceps and shoulders. The biceps are located on the front of the upper arm and are responsible for flexing the elbow joint. The triceps, on the other hand, are found on the back of the upper arm and are responsible for extending the elbow joint. Lastly, the shoulder joint has the most extensive range of motion in the human body, enabling your arms to move up, down, forward and backward. By targeting and working these muscles, you can achieve stronger and more defined arms. 

Aside from the aesthetic benefits, exercises that work the arms offer a range of functional advantages. Strengthening the arms can improve your overall upper-body strength, making daily activities like lifting, carrying and pushing easier. It can also enhance your athletic performance in sports that require arm strength, such as tennis or swimming.

If losing arm fat and toning the arms is one of your goals, here are 9 effective exercises to start with. For the strength-training moves, start with 3-5 pound dumbbells and increase the weight as you build strength.

Shoulders exercises 

How to lose arm fat arm circles

Arm circles

Stand tall and straighten your arms straight out to your sides. Begin rotating your arms forward in small circles. Complete 10 rotations and them switch directions, performing 10 rotations backward. 

How to lose arm fat Overhead Press

Overhead press

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your elbows bent at 90 degrees in a goal-post position. Keep your wrists and palms facing forward. While maintaining good posture and engaging your core, extend your elbows and push the weights up overhead, slightly in front of you. Return to starting position and repeat 10 times. 

How to lose arm fat Side Lateral Raise

Side lateral raise

Stand with feet hip-distance apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand. Allow your arms to rest at your sides with palms facing your body. Then, extend your arms straight up and out to the sides until they reach shoulder height. Slowly lower the arms back to the starting position. Repeat for 10 reps

Bicep exercises

How to lose arm fat Bicep Curls

Bicep curl

Grab a dumbbell in each hand. Flip your palms so that they face away from the body. Keep your elbows tucked into your ribs. Squeeze your core while bending at the elbow, slowly raising your forearms up toward your shoulders. Slowly lower your forearms back down to the starting position. Repeat for 10 reps. 

How to lose arm fat hammer Curls

Hammer curls

Stand with your feet hips-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms at your sides and your palms and fingers facing in toward your body. Keep your elbows glued to your sides and your palms facing inward as you lift both weights up toward your shoulders. Slowly lower both arms back down to your sides. Repeat 10 times.

Tricep exercises

How to lose arm fat Tricep Kickback

Tricep kickback

Holding a dumbbell in each hand, hinge forward at the hips with a flat back. Hug your elbows in toward your sides. Extend the arm at the elbow to kick the weight up and back. Feel the back of your arm tighten as you press the arm back. Then release it back to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.

How to lose arm fat Tricep Dip

Tricep dip

Sitting on the ground, place your palms on the floor behind you with your fingertips facing your body. Move your butt back toward your hands and press down through your feet to lift your butt up. Keep your knees bent. Bend your elbows straight back to lower your butt toward the ground a few inches, then press down through your hands to straighten tour arms (back to the starting position). Repeat 10 times.

How to lose arm fat cobra


Lying on your stomach, place your hands next to your chest and extend your legs straight behind you. Pull your navel in toward your spine and push an imaginary marble forward with your nose to lift up your head, neck and chest. Press down through your hands and draw the shoulders down and back. Hold this for one breath, and then release. Repeat 5 times.