How to Tone Your Arms

Tone Your Arms with Pilates

There are many exercises to build strength and tone your arms! And don’t worry if you struggle with push-ups, the answer is not to do 30 push-ups a day. There are a variety of ways to tone your arms and I’ve included multiple videos to show you how.

I started doing Pilates consistently (4 times a week) a year before my wedding and I remember feeling strong and my arms looking good in my wedding dress. Gaining upper body strength wasn’t easy for me, especially because I’m flexible, but with consistent practice, I’ve gained a lot of strength and muscle tone. You can too!

Mat Pilates

The first and most accessible way is to practice Pilates on the mat. Since you are using your body weight and gravity, you’ll quickly feel how much stronger you are!

The Pilates exercises strengthen your smaller and larger muscles which give us muscle tone without the bulk. You’re probably familiar with your biceps and triceps but what about your subscapularis and teres minor? These are two of the four muscles for your shoulder (rotator cuff) and are ones used during Pilates. You’ll feel muscles you’ve never felt before and these are some of them!

Get started with the mat work with this video that you can do in ten minutes.

Hand weights

Another way to tone your arms is to use hand weights, 2 or 3 pounds, and do these exercises standing.

Trust me, these will get heavy very quickly! You can do this series every day, no need to rest in-between days. Since we’re working small and big muscles, it’s a balance and we don’t need to rest like weight lighting. 

Pilates on the Reformer

Also, I love doing these exercises called rowings on the mat that are from the reformer.

If you have access to a reformer or a studio that has one, it is also a great way to tone your upper arms. The equipment provides extra support for the areas that need help, instead of working against it, think of it as a helping hand!

Magic Circle

Additionally, the magic circle is a great prop for building upper body strength. The original (OG) circle was made from the ring of a whiskey barrel! Today’s circles are more pliable and easier to use yet still effective.

Give these standing arm exercises a try with the circle, it really is magical! 

Joseph Pilates was a strong man and there’s definitely an upper body focus throughout the exercises he created. If you’re ever struggling and thinking you’re not strong enough, I like to say to myself “Put my Joe on” and I picture myself with a strong chest and back. It helps! 

Push Ups

Lastly, push ups are a great way to tone your arms. The good news is you don’t have to do a full out push up on the floor to start seeing results. You can do push ups against the wall or on your knees on the floor. Both will strengthen your arms and help you prepare for a full push up. Check out my video showing both modifications.

Remember consistency is key. You can do any of these videos daily to tone your arms. The more often you do them, the sooner you’ll see results.

Tone your arms with push ups
Sarah’s testimonial, a client of Pilates with Rachel

And if you find your shoulders to be tight or would like one on one assistance, contact me for consultation to see if Pilates is a fit for you. Sign up today:

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