The Best Pilates Exercises To Tone Your Arms

The Best Pilates Exercises To Tone Your Arms

Looking for some new moves to tone and strengthen your arm muscles? These Pilates dumbbell arm exercises will work your entire arm, from your shoulders to your wrists. Led by Alo Moves Pilates instructor Victoria Batha, this quick arm toning workout will build the foundation for a strong upper body and can be done with items around your home if you don’t have any light dumbbells handy. Start with 10 reps for each exercise, but feel free to add on more to suit your level. You can also practice the full Quick Arm Toning class on Alo Moves.
Dumbbell Wrist Curls


  1. Start in a Pilates stance with your heels together, toes pointed out, and inner thighs together. 

  2. Tuck your elbows near your waist, and while holding a dumbbell in each hand, face your palms forward.

  3. Curl your wrist up toward your arm without bending your elbow and curl them all the way back down until your knuckles are facing the wall behind you.

Bicep Curls


  1. With dumbbells in hand, face your palms up toward the ceiling.

  2. Tuck your elbows into your waist. 

  3. In a fluid motion, lift your wrists to your shoulders and lower your arms back down.

Lifted Bicep Curls


  1. Lift your elbows up high in front of your face to form a 90-degree angle. 

  2. Center the weight in your feet.

  3. Without dropping your arms, continue the Bicep Curls in this position.

Wide Lifted Bicep Curls


  1. From your Lifted Bicep Curl, open your arms wide while keeping your arms bent at 90-degree angles.

  2. With your arms in your peripheral vision, continue your bicep curl for several repetitions.

  3. Release your arms down to your sides.




  1. With your knuckles facing forward, bring your hands together in front of you until your dumbbells touch.

  2. Keeping a slight bend in your elbows, “zip-up” the weights to your chest and lower them back down. 

  3. Make sure to keep your elbows above your wrists throughout the exercise.



  1. With your arms down in front of you, slide your weights down until you’re holding them vertically at one end. Raise your arms slightly off of your thighs and lock your elbows in place.

  2. Start to draw small circles with the weights, then lift your arms as you continue drawing small circles up to the ceiling.

  3. At the top, reverse the direction and draw small circles as you lower your arms back down.

Tricep Press


  1. Holding the centre of the weights, keep the weights held together as you raise both arms straight up to the ceiling.

  2. Bend your elbows to drop the weights behind your head. 

  3. Straighten your arms up, keeping your arms tight to your head.



  1. From the Tricep Press, keep your elbows lifted and open your arms wide as if you’re holding a torch in each hand. 

  2. Press in both arms (as if you’re hugging someone) until the weights touch. 

  3. Open your arms wide again, and repeat.

Tricep Squat Press


  1. Turn to face the side of your mat and go into a squat position, keeping your feet hip-width apart and parallel. 

  2. Tuck your elbows in tight to your body and lift your arms up in front of you, gripping the dumbbells in their center. Make sure to keep your back in a neutral position.

  3. Press your arms straight back, then bend them forward, working your triceps and keeping your elbows tight to your body.

Tricep Pulses


  1. Lower into a squat position.

  2. With dumbbells in hand, draw your arms straight behind you.

  3. Pulse your arms back and repeat.



  1. Lower to a squat with your arms bent at your sides. 

  2. Stretch your right arm forward so your knuckles are facing in front of you while you extend your left arm back, but with your palm up.

  3. Bring both arms back to center, then switch.



  1. Lower to a squat and fold forward to a flat-back position.

  2. Bring your weights together in front of you until they touch while keeping your arms wide in a hugging position.

  3. Close and open your arms for several repetitions while maintaining a strong and neutral spine.

Chest Expansion


  1. From a standing Pilates stance with weights in hand, press your arms straight behind you with your palms facing back and hold for a count of three.

  2. Make sure to squeeze your glutes and inner thighs.

  3. Release your arms straight forward and repeat.

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