The best way to achieve toned arms

19 October, 2023 / words by Imane Dodo

Image via: @ajodudu

Upper body tends to be a major struggle area for many women. Many women aspire to achieve toned arms but do not see results despite their hard work and dedication.  These challenges are due to biological factors differentiating men and women, which makes it harder for women to achieve that lean, toned arm look, and suboptimal workout methods. However, these obstacles can be overcome with the right training, nutrition and mindset.

But what are these biological differences between men and women? Have you ever wondered why a man can get toned arms after a couple of weeks of training while you may have struggled all your life to tone your arms? Right, two biological factors explain this (very unfair) dynamic. First, women have lower levels of testosterone than men, which is crucial for muscle growth and repair. Women tend to have high levels of testosterone during ovulation, but still significantly less than men. In addition, hormonal variations also make it even harder to build muscle as easily as men. Second, fat distribution also plays a role in your ability to build toned arms and women tend to store more fat in the arms, particularly in the upper arms, compared to men. As a result, women unfortunately need to work harder and longer to achieve the same level of muscle development as men but it is totally achievable with the right approach. 

Progressive overload your arm workouts

Progressive overload is the concept of gradually increasing the resistance or intensity of an exercise over time. Without this crucial element, the muscles may become complacent and fail to grow or tone effectively. To overcome this hurdle, you should incorporate a variety of resistance training exercises and increase the weight or intensity as they become stronger. By consistently challenging the muscles, they can stimulate growth and achieve greater muscle tone. Including a mix of exercises, such as dumbbell curls, tricep kickbacks, and push-ups, can help target different arm muscles and avoid stagnation.

Emphasize strength 

Many women avoid lifting heavy weights, thinking that it will make their arms appear larger and less toned. This misunderstanding often prevents women from reaping the benefits of resistance training and developing the lean and sculpted arms they desire.

In reality, women do not possess the same levels of testosterone as men, which means that they are unlikely to bulk up like male bodybuilders. Instead, strength training can help create lean and well-defined muscles, enhancing the overall appearance of the arms. To address this fear, you should focus on lifting weights that challenge them without overexerting themselves. Gradually increasing the weight and intensity of workouts will lead to the desired results without excessive bulk. You can dedicate a day of the week when you only train your upper body, and another full body day with arm exercises to ensure your arms are challenged as much as possible.

Cardio is also your friend 

To achieve toned arms, a well-rounded fitness routine should include both cardiovascular and strength training components. Cardio helps burn excess fat and improve overall endurance, while strength training is essential for building and defining arm muscles. A common mistake many Huns make is emphasizing cardio too much, at the expense of strength. While cardio is important, finding the right balance between the two is key to achieving the desired results.

Consistency is key

Consistency is a crucial element of any fitness journey. Inconsistent training is a common obstacle that prevents women from achieving their goals of toned arms. Irregular workouts and lapses in commitment can slow down progress and make it challenging to see meaningful results. Stick to a regular workout schedule that fits into your daily routine. Setting achievable goals and tracking progress can also help maintain motivation and ensure consistent training. Joining a fitness class or finding a workout partner can provide additional support and accountability. Building toned arms requires consistency and patience more than any other body part.


Protein is essential for muscle development and you should consume enough of it. A diet rich in lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats is critical to achieving any fitness goal. 

Ladies fear not bulking up. With the right workout regime, you will start seeing arm definition in no time as long as you are consistent and fuel your body appropriately.


Imane Dodo


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