This 30-Day Arms Challenge Will Transform Your Upper Body in Just 4 Weeks

This workout will help you strengthen and tone your arms, plus you’ll work your core and get a quick hit of cardio, too.

If you want your arms to be strong and toned, then this workout is for you. The routine will help strengthen you from your shoulders down to your wrists while upping your muscular endurance. What's more, we've also snuck in a little bit of core and cardio work, just for fun. Now, let's get armed and dangerous!

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strong arm challenge moves
Yeji Kim

The workout schedules a day of rest every 5 days. The rest days allow your muscles to regenerate and will help you avoid injury.

You also build up to doing more exercises. For example, on Day 1, you only do the exercises from day 1; on Day 2, you do the exercises from day 1 and 2; on Day 3, you do the exercises from days 1, 2, and 3; and so on.

You'll be doing 3 sets of each exercise using 10 to 15 repetitions of the movements on each set. You should choose a weight that will challenge you overall so that on the last few repetitions, you'll feel the fatigue.

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Bicep Curls + Isometric Hold

Meredith

Stand tall with feet hip-width apart, a dumbbell in each hand at the sides, palms facing forward. Without moving upper arms, bend elbows and, slowly and with control, curl weights toward shoulders. Pause and then slowly lower back down to start. On the last rep, pause when weights reach 90 degrees and hold for 10 seconds.

Triceps Pulses + Hold

Meredith

Stand with feet hip-width apart, a dumbbell in each hand at the sides, palms facing in. Bend knees slightly and hinge at waist to lower torso slightly. Reach arms straight back until they are slightly higher than your torso; squeeze shoulder blades. From this position, pulse arms back. (Each pulse is one rep.) On the last rep, hold your arms back for 10 seconds.

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Dumbbell Overhead Press

Meredith

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, a dumbbell in each hand, with arms bent slightly and hands slightly wider than shoulders, palms facing the body. Press weights straight up, twisting weights so palms face forward at the top. Reverse motion to return back to start.

Plank Row

Meredith

Get into a straight-arm plank with hands resting on dumbbells, palms facing in. Pushing the left dumbbell into the floor, pull your right elbow up until it passes your torso. Lower and repeat on the opposite side. That's one rep. Too hard? Drop to knees.

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Hammer Curls

Meredith

Stand tall with feet hip-width apart, a dumbbell in each hand at the sides, palms facing in. Simultaneously, bend elbows and curl the weight toward the shoulders. Pause and then slowly lower back down to start.

Triceps Dips

Meredith

Sit on the edge of a bench or chair with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place palms next to thighs, fingers gripping edge. Keeping arms straight, scoot forward until hips and butt are off the bench or chair. Bend elbows and lower hips until upper arms are parallel to the floor. Push back to start. Make it harder: Extend legs straight out.

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Single-Arm Press in Lunge

Meredith

Start in a lunge with your right leg in front of your left and a dumbbell in your right hand just outside of the shoulder, with your right arm bent slightly and hand slightly wider than your shoulder, palm facing body. Keeping abs tight, press weight overhead until arm is straight. Slowly lower back down to the start. Do one full set, then repeat on the opposite side.

Plank Up/Downs

Meredith

From a straight-arm plank, lower right elbow to the ground, followed by left, coming into a forearm plank. Place right hand on the ground directly beneath the right shoulder, and straighten the right elbow, then left hand under the left shoulder and straighten the left elbow, pushing back up into a straight-arm plank. That's one rep. Continue reps, alternating which arm goes first each time.

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Crossbody Curls

Meredith

Stand tall with feet shoulder-width apart, a dumbbell in each hand at the sides, palms facing in. Keeping elbows glued to your sides, raise the right dumbbell toward the left shoulder. Return to start and then raise the left dumbbell toward the right shoulder. That's one rep.

Dumbbell Triceps Overhead Extension

Meredith

Stand tall with feet hip-width apart and arms overhead, holding a dumbbell between hands. With shoulders down and back, core engaged, and elbows pointing forward, bend elbows and allow the dumbbell to lower down behind the head. Extend arms up to bring the weight back overhead.

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Sit-Up to Overhead Press

Meredith

Lie face-up, holding a dumbbell between both hands, arms extended out in front of the chest. Bend knees and place feet firmly on the ground. Sit up, raising your torso toward your knees as you lift the weight up and press it overhead. Slowly reverse motion to return to start.

Plank Shoulder Taps

Meredith

Get into a straight-arm plank with hands under your shoulders. Keeping hips square, lift your right hand and tap your left shoulder. Return to start and repeat with the opposite side. That's one rep.

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Weighted Shadowboxing

Meredith

Stand with legs shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, left foot facing forward and right foot slightly turned out, with a dumbbell in each hand. Hold your right hand by your chin and your left hand in front of your face. Punch with your left hand, twisting your hand so that your knuckles are up, and your palm is down. Bring your arm back in to start and then pivot on the right foot as you punch with your right hand, twisting it so that knuckles are up, and palm is down. Bring arm back in. That's one rep.

Triceps Kickback

Meredith

Stand with feet hip-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand. Bend your knees, hinge at the waist, and lean your torso forward slightly. Bend elbows, bringing dumbbells to the sides so that your upper arms are parallel with the floor. Press dumbbells back to straighten your arm as you squeeze your triceps. Reverse motion back to start.

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Front Raises to Lateral Raises

Meredith

Stand with feet hip-width apart, a slight bend in knees, and a dumbbell in each hand at the sides. With control, lift dumbbells straight out in front of you until they reach shoulder height. Slowly lower back to start and then, with control, lift arms out to sides until they reach shoulder height. Slowly lower back to start; that's one rep. On the last rep, hold out in front and then out to sides both for a count of 10.

Plank to Side Snatch

Meredith

Get into a straight-arm plank with hands under shoulders, each hand gripping a dumbbell, with= feet wider than shoulders. Engage core and, in a single movement while keeping arms straight, twist at the waist and allow toes to pivot, lifting left hand out and up overhead. Lower arm back down to return to plank. Do one full set, then repeat on the opposite side.

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Dumbbell Sprints

Meredith

Stand tall with feet hip-width apart, a dumbbell in each hand at the sides, palms facing in. Keeping core tight, swing your right arm up and left arm back, bending elbows. Then swing the left arm up and right arm back. That's one rep. Alternate rhythmically back and forth; arms should mimic running form.

Skull Crushers

Meredith

Lie faceup with knees bent, feet on the floor, and arms extended straight up in line with shoulders, a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing in. Slowly bend forearms back from the elbow, lowering dumbbells to ears. Return to start by raising dumbbells back up, making sure to keep your lower back pressed into the floor.

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Push-Ups

Meredith

Get into a straight-arm plank with hands under shoulders, feet hip-width apart, and core tight. Bend elbows to lower body until your chest nearly touches the floor. Pause, then push yourself back up.

Upright Rows

Meredith

Stand tall with feet hip-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand in front of thighs, palms facing thighs. With control, bend your arms to raise the dumbbells straight up, leading with your elbows, until the dumbbells reach shoulder height. Pause briefly at the top and then slowly lower back to start.

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Zottman Curls

Meredith

Stand with feet hip-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand in front of thighs, palms facing forward. Without moving upper arms, slowly and with control, curl dumbbells toward shoulders. At the top of the curl, rotate wrists inward until palms face forward. Maintaining this position, lower dumbbells back down slowly and with control. Rotate wrists and dumbbells back to the starting position. That's one rep.

Bent-Over Row

Meredith

Stand with feet hip-width apart, a slight bend in knees, and a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing in. Hinge at waist and lower torso slightly, allowing arms to hang down. Keeping a flat back, squeeze shoulder blades and bend elbows, pulling the dumbbells to the sides of your ribs. Slowly lower arms back to the start.

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Dumbbell Criss Cross

Meredith

Stand with feet hip-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand, arms bent at 90 degrees. Keeping elbows close to your body, bring the weights into the midline of your body and cross your right dumbbell over the left. Return to start and repeat, this time crossing the left dumbbell over the right. Return to start; that's one rep.

Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press

Meredith

Lie faceup on a bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand a few inches over your chest so that dumbbells are nearly touching, palms facing in. Press one dumbbell up until your arm is fully extended. Pause, and then slowly lower the dumbbell back to start. Repeat on the opposite side. That's one rep.

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Military Press Jack

Meredith

Stand with a dumbbell between hands, with forearms vertical and hands in front of the chest, palms facing in. Jump feet out while pressing the dumbbell straight up overhead. Bring the dumbbell back down in front of your chest as you jump your feet back together, performing the move in one seamless motion. That's one rep.

Weighted Arm Circles

Meredith

Stand tall with feet shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand at the sides. Raise arms up, extending them out to sides, palms facing down Keeping core tight, make small circles forward with arms. Each circle is a rep; halfway through each set, reverse the motion to make small circles backward.

Front Press Jack

Meredith

Stand tall with a dumbbell between hands, with forearms vertical and hands in front of the chest, palms facing in. Jump feet out while pressing the dumbbell straight out in front of the chest. Bring the dumbbell back in toward the chest as you jump your feet back together, performing the move in one seamless motion. That's one rep.

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