Looking for a workout to tone those troublesome arms? These arm workout exercises will get you in shape without bulking up.

Women frequently ignore the importance of including an arm workout to your weekly gym routine. But if you feel self conscious about fat pockets and bingo wings, then instead of just hitting your usual cardio equipment or only doing to the bicep machine, try this arm workout to get those guns looking show-worthy. 

We all have our body insecurities, but if yours are untoned or maybe flabby arms, then picking up the weights will be an easy fix to change the shape and feel of your arms. Targeting your biceps, triceps and shoulders will not only give you the sexy toned arms you desire, but develop upper body strength and even help improve fitness and stamina. 

How can you change the shape, firmness and strength or your arms? Hitting those weights! To develop muscle you have to push yourself and lift weights heavier than what they're used to. Don't fret that you’ll turn into Popeye; women possess about 40-60 per cent of the upper body strength and one tenth of the testosterone, the muscle-building hormone, than men. So let’s pump some iron with this workout! 

How often should you workout arms?

Aim to do the upper body workout three to four times a week, and use the alternate days to do 30-60 minutes of aerobic exercise; see the ‘Strong arm tactics’ later in this article for some ideas. Muscles need time to recover between workouts as the muscle fibers have been ripped, so working your arms for two consecutive days isn't a great idea. Also ensure you take one day off completely a week from exercise, as you entire body needs time to rest. Start with two sets, using light weights, most use around 3kg, in order to master correct technique.

As you progress, increase to three sets and use a weight that you can only do eight to ten repetitions with. As soon as you feel comfortable with the weight, repetitions and sets you are performing, it’s time to up the ante. Do not settle into a comfort zone. You want to aim after a while of training to rep until failure, this is where your muscles have nothing left to give, then you know you've pushed your muscles and given them a sufficient workout. 

1. Incline push-up

Muscle worked : Chest, shoulders, triceps and abdominals.

Technique: Find a sturdy support between waist and knee height (the lower, the harder). Anything from a kitchen counter, coffee table, sturdy chair or exercise step. Form a straight line from head to toe, with arms straight and shoulder-width apart or a little wider, abdominals contracted and head in line with spine. Lower the body towards the support by bending the arms. When your arms reach a right angle, pause and straighten to repeat. Many women think doing push-ups will decrease chest size, a touchy topic for most women, but building the muscle underneath the breast will actually make them appear perkier and firmer, perfect! 

Progress: The lower you go the harder it is, so gradually make your way closer to the floor when you need more of a challenge. Moving your hands closer together is also great to hit your triceps more, provided you keep your elbows in, close to your body. 

2. Single-arm row

Muscle worked: Latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, trapezius, biceps and back of the shoulders.

Technique: Stand side-on to a bench or low table with your right hand and knee on the support, back parallel to the floor (neck in line) and a weight in your left hand, arm hanging straight down. Bend the left arm to bring the weight up to the front of the shoulder – don’t twist the body around or move anything other than the working arm. Repeat on the other side when you have finished all your repetitions. This exercise is great for working all core arm muscles while also toning the upper back and lats, where pesky bra fat can gather. 

Progress: Gradually increasing the weight is the key to improving at this exercise, once technique is correct don't be afraid to go for the heavier dumbbells, you would be surprised how strong these muscles are. 

3. Dips

Muscle worked: Chest, shoulders and triceps.

Technique: Hold yourself off the edge of a sturdy chair or step, your bottom hovering off the edge of the chair, supporting your weight with your arms. Knees slightly bent with feet on the floor and fingers facing forwards, keep you shoulders down and relaxed through the entire movement. Now slowly bend the arms to lower the body, whilst keeping the arms parallel to the body, don't let your elbows swing out to the sides. Keep the bottom close to the chair edge, and continue down until arms hit a right angle. Straighten up and repeat. This is the best exercise to tighten those annoying bingo wings and define the outside and lower shoulder area. 

Progress: The most efficient way to increase difficulty in this exercise is to straighten out your legs, the further your feet are away from your body, the harder it will be. And if this is still too easy for you, put a weight or dumbbell in your lab to weight-load and make your muscles work harder.

4. Shoulder press

Muscle worked: Deltoids, chest, triceps and upper back.

Technique: Sit on an upright bench or chair with back straight and a weight in each hand, resting the weights in front of the chest with palms facing outwards. Extend the arms up and over your head; you can rotate the hands on the upward and downward motions to get a harder workout for your shoulders. Think of the arms reaching up but the shoulder blades reaching down. You should be able to see your arms in your peripheral vision as they are raised – don’t take the arms behind the line of the head.

Progress: To add the little bit extra, doing the same movements with a bar can provide a harder workout and increasing dumbbell weight to ensure you muscles are being pushed. Plus you arms and shoulders will feel extra pumped after this exercise, move aside super-woman!

5. Externally rotated bicep curl

Muscle worked: Biceps, shoulders and upper back.

Technique: Sit or stand with a weight in each hand or one at a time, arms ready at right angles at your side, palms facing each other or inwards. Move the weight outward, pivoting from your elbow making an ‘L’ shape with your arm. Return back to the neutral position and repeat. This isnt a commonly used exercise in the gym so it is a great way to pump up those biceps without having to do boring curls, whilst increase other muscle strength. 

Progress: Using heavier weights or using resistance bands and cable machines to select your heavier weight is a great way to push these muscles. 

6. Tricep kickback and straight-arm combo

Muscle worked: Triceps, rear shoulder and upper back.

Technique: Stand side-on to a bench or low table, with your right knee and hand supported on it, your back parallel to the bench and a weight in your left hand. Start with the upper arm parallel to the body, elbow at a right angle, and lower arm dangling down. Keeping the upper arm still, straighten the arm, taking the dumbbell past your thigh and bringing your arm alongside your body. Think of doing the robot where only the lower moves and the upper stay stiff and in place. Now bring the arm all the way down (perpendicular to the floor); then extend it again, this time keeping it straight (trying to take the arm slightly beyond the line of the body). Bend the elbow back to the start position and repeat the combo. Swap sides. This is a double whammy for those bingo wings, helping getting rid of troublesome upper arm fat. 

Progress: This exercise can be done with dumbbells or using the weighted cables to add that extra bit of weight. 

Fit in some cardio

It’s also worth remembering that even the sleekest, most sculpted muscles will go unseen if your body fat levels are higher than they should be. Combine resistance training with cardiovascular exercise and a sensible eating plan and you’ll soon have the toned arms you've longed for.

Boxercise or cardio kickboxing classes are a great cardio workout with lots of upper-body work. Punching and quick arm movements are perfect to attack the whole upper body whilst getting some aerobic exercise in to burn some fat.

The rowing machine burns 90 calories in ten minutes, uses all the upper body muscles and improves posture. A great way to lose weight but also very demanding of a vast selection of muscles; from abs to legs to upper body, rowing is great to finish off a workout as it hits the full body. 

Nordic walking, in which you use special flexible poles to propel yourself along, burns up to 46 per cent more calories than normal walking and strengthens the back, chest, shoulders and arms. In fact, hitting your target of 10,000 steps a day is like doing 10,000 triceps extensions!

Swimming is great all-round exercise, but backstroke and front crawl are both 'front-wheel drive' strokes meaning that most of the work is done by the upper body. Thirty minutes of front crawl burns 320 calories. Plus swimming can be a great break from our bog standard gym routines, maybe even try out a water aerobics class in place or your arm weight workout, if you're in need of mixing it up a bit.