Studio portrait of excited afro american young woman flexing muscle. Pink background.

I feel like at one time or another we all struggle with our feelings towards our arms. We want strong, slender arms that look good in photographs, and we shyly opt for capped sleeves to cover up the bits we don’t like.

Stop hiding those beautiful powerful things! They’re how you eat things and lift things and it’s way easier than you think to tone them up!
I used to loathe arm day (plank up and downs are THE WORST and I hate burpees) but there are a million and one ways to work your arms effectively that don’t require pushups (thank God).
Here are five to try at home.
You will need: two cans of something, stairs or a step, a towel or a yoga mat

Tricep dips

Woman doing dips in the city.Start by sitting on the floor with your back to the stairs or the step. Put the palms of your hands on the step so that your fingertips are facing you and your elbows are bent. Keeping your legs straight (no knee bending!), straighten your arms and push up so that your butt is lifted but your heels remain on the ground. Make sure to keep your elbows parallel to your body, you don’t want them to jut outwards.


Overhead press

Fit young man in sportswear straining to lift weights above his head during a workout session in a gymGrab those two cans of La Croix, and standing with your feet hip-width apart, hold the cans at your shoulders. Push upwards, grounding yourself through your feet and bending your knees slightly as you thrust the cans straight up over your head until your arms are fully extended. Bring them down and repeat.


Bicep curl

A multi-ethnic group of young adults are lifting dumbbells together at the gym.Using the same two cans, once again stand with your legs hip width apart. This time hold the cans down by your sides with your palms facing forward. Bend your elbows, lifting the cans so that they almost touch your shoulders, hold for a second or two, and then lower slowly until they are down back by your sides.


Bent over row

Portrait of young mixed race working on her back muscles on the benchThis works the back of your arms. Start by leaning forward so that your upper body is at around a 70 degree angle from your lower body. Bend your knees, keeping your back straight, and holding a can in each hand, stretch out your arms so that they are almost parallel to your thighs. Bending your elbows, lift your arms up so that the cans are by your side, making sure to squeeze your shoulder blades and arms in towards each other. Return your arms to starting position and repeat.

Lateral arm raise
Standing with your feet hip width apart, hold a can in each hand, down by your sides with your palms facing inward. Slowly, keeping your arms straight and your core engaged, lift both arms up and out to the side so that you stand in a T shape. Slowly lower them and then repeat.

Femi A-Williams is a health and fitness convert trying to reconcile a healthy lifestyle and a happy food life. She is 80% whole grain and 20% donut.

All posts by Femi A-Williams