How can I tone my arms while sitting?

6 arm exercises to do sitting down

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S.A.C. Dip (Diet, Exercise & Fitness), Advanced Human Anatomy & Physiology Level 3
Ask Louise

15 April 2021

How can I tone my arms while sitting?

There are plenty of simple arm exercises that can be practised while sitting down to tone the arms, as well as adding a bit more movement to your day. Some good options include bicep curls, arm circles, air punches, arm sways, horizontal lifts and upward lifts.

Seated arm exercises & how to do them

Before you begin my seated arm exercises, select a sturdy seat on which to sit whilst you do them. You may want to opt for a seat with a back to it, to help your posture and provide a little support.

If you would like a harder workout for your arms, feel free to use some weights. If you have dumbbells handy then great, use these. If not, chose your own weights! A bottle of juice, an unopened tin can or even a full shampoo bottle will do.

Follow my guide below to learn how to do six arm exercises while sitting to help tone your arms:

1. Bicep curls with weights

  • Get some weights handy – a bottle of water or unopened tin can will do.
  • Bend your arms at right angles in front of you so that your forearms are parallel with your knees.
  • Bring your hands up to your shoulders then lower your forearms so that they are, once again, parallel with your knees.
  • Repeat this movement continuously for 30 seconds.

2. Arm circles

  • Put your arms out to the sides in a 'T shape'.
  • Begin to draw small circles with the arms in a clockwise direction.
  • Gradually increase the size of your circles.
  • Change direction to move the arms in an anti-clockwise direction.
  • Do this movement for 30 seconds.

3. Air punches

  • Put your arms in front of your body with the fists clenched.
  • Punch your right arm over to the left.
  • Return the arms to the starting position.
  • Punch your left arm to the right and then, once again, return the arms to the starting position.
  • Punch the right arm up towards the sky and the bring the arms back in front of your chest.
  • Punch the left arm up towards the sky.
  • Repeat these movements for 30 seconds.

4. Arm sways

  • Sway both arms over to the left, keeping the left arm straight and the right arm bent so that the right hand almost touches the shoulder.
  • Sway both arms over to the right. Now the right arm should be straight and the left should almost touch your shoulder.
  • Repeat back and forth for 10 seconds.
  • Next, sway both arms above your head. Start by directing them to the left and then the right.
  • Repeat this for another 10 seconds and then switch back to the initial arm sway.
  • Continue alternating between both movements until 30 seconds is up.

5. Horizontal lifts

  • Straighten your arms so that they are parallel with your body. You can put weights in each hand for this exercise or do it without.
  • Lift your arms in to a 'T shape' and then lower to the ground again.
  • Continue this movement for 30 seconds.

6. Upward lifts

  • Flex your arms out to the sides so that the biceps are parallel with the ceiling and the fists are pointing towards the sky.
  • Straighten your right arm towards the ceiling and then lower it back down into the starting position.
  • Raise the left arm upwards towards the ceiling and then lower it back down again.
  • Alternate these movements for 30 seconds. You can use weights for this activity if you like.

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