The Best Arm Exercises

What kind of exercises are best for strengthening and toning the arms?

By Barbara Russi Sarnataro
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Admit it. It feels great when you can lift a child without a second thought, open a jar without asking for help, or carry in a 40-pound dog-food bag by yourself. You can thank your arm muscles, which is a huge part of many activities of daily life.

Unfortunately, we often neglect our arms until sleeveless season rolls around. But when you're ready to take that step, just what are the best arm exercises for strengthening and toning? WebMD asked fitness experts to share some of their tips for building stronger, tighter arm muscles.

The Benefits of Upper Body Strength

Arm toning and strengthening exercises are important throughout life, says Dan Agresti, exercise physiologist and owner of ProActive Health and Fitness in Denver. And the benefits go way beyond looking good in a tank top.

Life is a lot better when you're strong," says Agresti. "It's fun to know I can do just about any task."

Having upper body strength also helps us combat the physical pitfalls of our culture.

"We live in such a flexed-posture society, says Lori Incledon, athletic trainer and author of Strength Training for Women.

Being hunched over the computer, in front of the TV, and at the steering wheels of our cars takes a toll, she says. The shoulder girdle becomes stretched, the chest muscles get tighter, and we set ourselves up for decreased range of motion and potential injury.