7-Day Summer Arms Challenge

Get Toned & Defined Arms before summer with our killer 7-Day Summer Arms Challenge.

Summer or not, there’s no better time than the present to get beautifully toned and defined armsThis arms challenge is designed to last for 7 days, but there’s no need to stop there! You can easily incorporate these workouts into your normal routine once the challenge has ended. After the 7-day arms challenge, you can choose two workouts to do each week. Any of these routines can be done at home or in the gym.

Tips to Enhance Your Results

eat healthy and meal prep

Your diet plays a key role in fat loss and how your body looks. Here are some tips to accompany your workout:

1. Drink water. It’s a good idea to have water around. Drink several or more glasses throughout the day, about 2.5 liters total. How do you know if you’re hydrated? If your urine color is clear or nearly clear, you are likely drinking enough water.

2. Give up soda, including diet soda!

3. Avoid junk food and fast food.

4. Eat more fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, and lean protein. Avoid processed foods packed with sodium and refined sugar.

5. Eat smaller portions, about the size of your fist.  We should eat 5-6 small meals each day and never have hunger pangs.

6. Read labels and look at the ingredient list. If the product contains refined sugar, enriched white flour, or high sodium, these are foods best left on the shelf.

7 Day Summer Arms Challenge

Equipment needed: 2 to 4 sets of dumbbells of varying weights, a yoga mat, a kitchen chair or flat bench, an exercise ball (optional), and an interval timer (your phone timer will work great!)

What to do:  Watch the instructional videos below, prior to beginning your daily workout. Complete the designate workout for each day!


Perform 3 circuits of the following arms routine:

Tricep Push-ups – 12 reps

Rest 20 seconds.

Bicep curls – 12 reps

Rest 20 seconds.

Tricep Kickbacks – 12 reps each arm. Complete 12 reps total for each arm. It’s okay to either perform one type or combine the three types of kickbacks in the video. Only 12 reps total per side.

Rest 1 minute.


Tricep Dips – 20 reps

Rest 1 minute before beginning the 4 Minute Fat Blaster.

4-Minute Fat Blaster (see video below). Also known by its official name, Tabata Intervals. You will perform the circuit 2 times which totals 4 minutes. This routine is designed to continue burning fat for up to 24 hours.

Tabata Formula:
Complete routine 2 times. Follow the video.
20 seconds of exercise + 10 seconds rest = 30 seconds
30 x 8 (exercises) = 240 seconds / 60 seconds = 4 minutes


Rest/Recovery Day


Complete the following arms circuit 4 times:

Tricep Extensions – 12 reps

Rest 15 seconds.

Bicep Concentration Curls – 10 reps each arm

Rest 15 seconds.

Tricep Dips – 20 reps

Rest – 15 seconds.

Bicep Hammer Curls – 12 reps

Rest 1 minute.


Complete the following arms circuit 3 times:

Tricep Pushup – 12 reps

Bicep Curls – 15 reps

Lying Tricep Extensions – 15 reps

Rest 1 minute.


4 Minute Fat Blaster (see video below)

Rest 5 minutes.

Complete the following circuit 2 times:

Bicep Curls – 20 reps

Rest 20 seconds.

Tricep Kickbacks – 20 reps each arm.

Rest 20 seconds.


Complete the following circuit 4 times.

Tricep Dips – Failure (as many as you can do)

Rest 20 seconds.

Bicep Hammer Curls – 15 reps

Rest 1 minute.

Instructional Videos

Monday; Friday – Tricep Push-ups

Monday; Friday; Saturday – Bicep Curls

Monday; Saturday – Tricep Kickbacks

Tuesday; Thursday; Sunday – Tricep Dips

Tuesday; Saturday – 4 Minute Fat Blaster

Thursday – Tricep Extensions

Friday – Lying Tricep Extensions

Thursday; Sunday – Hammer Curls

Thursday – Concentration Curls

Keep in mind that consistency is key! Put in the work and it will pay off. Rome wasn’t built in a day; Your arms won’t be either. Don’t be afraid to push yourself, ladies! Heavier weights will lead to more toned muscle!

Be sure to like our Facebook page, follow us on Pinterest and Instagram, & subscribe to our daily eNewsletter to be the first to try out new workouts and view our latest fitness resources.

What did you think about this Arms Challenge? We’re sure some of these routines will turn into your favorite arm day workout! Want more fitness challenges? Let us know! We love hearing from our readers.

Editor’s Note: Originally published May 18, 2014

This post may include affiliate links.

Gale Compton

Gale co-founded SkinnyMs. with a goal to provide women with delicious recipes, fitness routines, and ways to reach their ideal weight. Gale has been featured on the Today Show in which she won a cook off for the best Lasagna. Be sure to search for her winning recipe, Skinny Lasagna Rolls.

Guided by her firm belief in healthy eating and the power of exercise, Gale has written two cookbooks and several fitness ebooks. She earned her Fitness Training Certification from, National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association. Gale loves to run with her dog Maggie and has completed numerous half-marathons.

More by Gale


    1. Kim,
      The daily workouts have a new name. Everyday a workout will be posted with a new name each day.

  1. Friday
    Complete the following circuit 3 times.

    Tricep Push up – 12 reps
    Bicep Curls – 15 reps
    Lying Tricep Extensions – 15 reps
    Rest 1 minute


  2. Stupid question~ But when they say 8-10 reps what do they mean?  I'm new to exercizing!  But I'd LOVE sexy arms!!

    1. Annie, That just means what you're capable of doing. If you can do the max (10) reps while maintaining good form then by all means do 10. Thanks!

  3. Is it okay to work out the same muscle groups every day?  I always heard to leave a day of rest between body parts?

    1. Teri, Normally that's true. We do challenges every now and then for many reasons. One of the most important is to challenge, really challenge muscles. As you notice the challenge is only one week long and not meant to be done on a continuing basis. Thanks!

  4. I lost an inch on each arm doing this workout about 1.5 weeks.  (Missed a few days!)  Much more toned as well! Thanks!

  5. I really loved this! I had been working on my arms a bit, but only bicep curls and hammer curls and trying some tricep dips and attempting pushups. I didn't really have much direction or knowledge in what I was doing and this really helped!
    I stuck with it, even when it was hard and loved it! I have never really enjoyed exercising, but the plan made it exciting. Not the same thing each day. This varried workout did what mine did not, I got real definition in my arms and will continue to do the twice per week exercises. Love it! Thanks so much!I'm going to start the 7 day abs challenge next! Yes!

  6. love this challenge! i am just about to start my 7th day and i can feel {and almost see!} a difference in my arms. skinnyms, is it okay to do this as a regular weekly routine? if i found the challenge to be pretty "do-able", would you reccommend me upping the reps a bit next week? thanks so much!

    1. Hi Danica,
      GREAT! So glad you're enjoy the results. I would recommend continuing with the workouts 2 times weekly. I would recommend either upping the reps or weight. If you want to define your muscles, I would increase the amount of weight. If you only want toning, go for the increased reps. Keep me posted!

  7. Love this especially how you have all the videos to show right below, thank you! But I'm gonna rest on Sunday instead of Wednesday. 

  8. I dont see any recommendations on amount of weight to be used.  Obviously everyone is different, but I was just wondering.  Or should we do the heaviest we can while still maintaining form?

    1. Yes, lift heavy while still maintaining form. However, it's a good idea to switch up the weight and create muscle confusion. For example, try the heaviest weight you can lift with circuit 1, decrease with each additional circuit. Next time, reverse it by starting with lighter and increase weight with each circuit. Hope this helps!

  9. Why are you encouraging lifting the same muscle groups 2 days in a row?  Have you found research that states you don't need 48 hours rest when strength training.  Constantly breaking down the same fibers = no repair = no benefits.  

    1. Hey Fitnesspro, Consider looking at the positive effects of this challenge rather than looking for something negative. The challenge has 6 days of weight training and fat burning routines, designed to get women interested in weight training and cardiovascular activities. Hundreds if not thousands of women are benefiting from our challenges. We have received 100's of emails from women who are weight training for the first time and plan to continue for a lifetime. Why? Because they were inspired by this challenge. Stay positive! Thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. This is a really defensive answer to a legitimate question.  Don't take it personally.  I was wondering the same thing as fitnesspro.  It's not "finding something negative" it's questioning the method because research has proven time and time again that working out the same muscle groups two days in a row is bad for you.  I don't think they were intending to be offensive but were looking for a real answer which I don't think was given.  Regardless of all of this I'm still going to try the 7 day challenge.

  10. After you do the one week challenge, if I want to incorporate these workouts into my normal workout routine how would you recommend doing that? I was thinking I want to work arms 2-3 times a week so should I combine some of the workouts let's say monday's and Tuesday's into one day?

    1. Nicole, After the 7 day challenge, I would recommend working your arms 2 x's weekly with 3-4 days in between these workouts. Be sure to eat clean and work all major muscle groups. Keep us posted on your progress. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  12. When doing the tricep kickbacks on monday, it says do 12 reps each side. How should I incorporate the three variations of the kickback? Do 4 of each kind or 12 of each?

  13. Love this routine! but I did the 4 minute fat blaster and it seemed really easy. Is it supposed to be? I wasn't breathless or anything! Am I doing it wrong? I'm just curious! =0)

  14. I don't know if you're doing it right or not. It certainly isn't easy. Here's how you do it:
    1) Exercise 20 seconds…high intensity…give it 100%!
    Rest 10 seconds
    2) Exercise 20 seconds
    Rest 10 seconds
    3) Exercise 20 seconds
    Rest 10 seconds
    4) Exercise 20 seconds
    Rest 10 seconds

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    1. Amanda, In case you missed my reply to Megan…here's my response to your question:
      Do 12 reps total for each arm. It's O.K. to mix up and do 4, 4,4 of each type of kickback or just do 12 of on type. Does this help?

  16. Megan,

    Do 12 reps total for each arm. It's O.K. to mix up and do 4, 4,4 of each type of kickback or just do 12 of on type. Does this help?

  17. Man, the Thursday workout kicked my butt! I did it at lunch and I'm already sore. I'm going to have to get my husband to feed me tomorrow! ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. I'm happy to report that, not only am I able to feed myself, but I also just wrapped up the Friday workout! Progress!

          1. Christine, Congrats!!! That's pretty amazing…you should be proud of yourself!!! We're proud of you. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  19. On day two (Tuesday, but my Friday), am I supposed to complete 20 dips, rest a minute, then do the 4-minute fat blaster one time (totaling 20 dips and 4 minutes)? Or do I do the entire circuit 2 times (meaning 40 total dips and 8 total minutes of fat blaster)?

    1. Jenn, Do 20 dips, rest one minute then do the 4 minute fat blaster. You only do the 20 dips one time. Yes, so do what you said, 20 dips, rest, 4 min blaster which is 4 minutes. That's it!

      ricep Dips – 20 reps
      Rest 1 minute before beginning 4 Minute Fat Blaster
      4 Minute Fat Blaster via Youtube (see below), or it’s official name, Tabata Intervals. You will perform the circuit 2 times which = 4 minutes. This routine is designed to continue burning fat for up to 24 hours.

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  21. An injury makes it difficult for me to do the tricep pushups. I can do all of the other exercises. Is there one you could recommend for me to do instead? Thanks!

    1. What about "kitchen push-ups"? Stand 3' from your kitchen counter, place hands shoulder width a part, lean forward and do push-ups. Be sure to keep abs and glutes tight throughout the move and flex triceps as you return to the standing position.

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  25. Hi- The Tabata video seems to be the same exercise 8 times to equal 4 minutes. i wasnt sure if there were 8 different exercises?

  26. Hi,
    My knees aren't that great & I feel like the Tabata Intervals would be really bad for them. Is there a substitute I could do? I also run 30 minutes already – would that be enough? Or a substitute would be great – thanks!

  27. Hi,
    My knees aren’t that great & I feel like the Tabata Intervals would be really bad for them. Is there a substitute I could do? I also run 30 minutes already – would that be enough? Or a substitute would be great – thanks!

  28. Hi,
    My knees aren’t that great & I feel like the Tabata Intervals would be really bad for them. Is there a substitute I could do? I also run 30 minutes already – would that be enough? Or a substitute would be great – thanks!

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    1. Robbie, Normally you only
      work a muscle group 1-2
      times weekly. This is a challenge
      designed to demonstrate various
      workouts that can be incorporated
      into weekly routines. It's a challenge that
      last for one week only! Thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. I would love to try this, but I think each day will only take about 15 minutes?  I usually workout for 45 minutes to an hour.  Is this really it for each day or can I add something?  

  31. After the challenge is complete, it says to incorporate two workouts each week. How many times a week should we be incorporating these? Should we do them both on the same day or alternate? Can you clarify what exactly you mean?

  32. Is this ok to do while I'm going to the gym?  I am currently spinning 2x per week and do kickboxing 1x per week and zumba 1x per week.  Looking for something to really focus the arms.  Thanks!

  33. After the challenge is complete, it says to incorporate two workouts each week. How many times a week should we be incorporating these? Should we do them both on the same day or alternate? Can you clarify what exactly you mean?

    1. Choose 2-3 exercises from the challenge and do them with 3-4 in between. Switch up the exercises every few weeks. For example,
      Monday – 2-3 exercises…following the recommended reps & sets
      Friday – 2-3 exercises…different exercises from Monday

      Do the same each week and continue to rotate exercises.

  34. It seems a little weird to me to have the rest day not be in the middle, is it ok to move the Sunday workout to before the Monday workout so that Wednesday Rest Day falls in the middle, or is it specifically formulated to be that way? 

    1. Of course…it's just a suggestion but your rest day is totally up to you and your schedule. Thanks!

  35. I'm not sure what is going on with the 4-minute fat blaster video but YouTube keeps telling me that the video has been removed?

    1. Amy, The video was removed from youtube. I replaced the Tabata with a new and fun 4 minute Fat Blaster. Thanks for letting us know!

    1. Lola, About 10 pounds would be considered moderate weight and 5 pounds or less, light weight. ๐Ÿ™‚

  36. just a quick question: this work out won't give you man arms will it? I want my arms toned not manly.

    thanks and hope I didn't insult anyone.

  37. Romy, It's impossible unless you're taking male enhancing steroids. I lift heavy weights and just have toned arms with some muscle definition. Weight lifting does amazing things for the female form.

  38. Is it ok to do this challenge 2 or 3 weeks in a row? My wedding is in a couple of weeks & I just finished the 7 days, but trying to tone my arms as much as possible. I definitely feel it working but can't see much of a change yet

  39. I am pregnant and have been looking for a good arm workout. I don't think I should do the 4 min workout, is there something I could substitute? It seems like it would still work somewhat if I still did the rest of the workouts, right?

  40. I am on Friday's challenge and have already seen progress in my arms, GREAT challenge!!! Are there any more challenges?! Keeps me motivated!

  41. I've always wanted more toned arms and nothing motivates a girl like a wedding dress!! Day 1, arms 13in around, we'll see where I am in a week. (FYI I also run on almost a daily basis and do a variation of Crossfit 2-3 times a week)

  42. Hello,

    I am just about to start the "6 week Emergency Make Over Program" I am wondering if I can combine that program with the summer arms challenge? Would this be overkill or will the 6 week emergency program be able to tone my arms just as well?

    Thank you, so excited to start!

    1. Sarah, The 6 Week Makeover targets all major muscle groups, including biceps & triceps. Here's my recommendation: You could do the Summer Arms Challenge for the first week, then begin the 6 Week Makeover Program…not both at the same time. It is possible to do too much, too quickly and over tax your muscles. Muscles are a funny thing, they respond best when worked out one to two times weekly over an extended period of time. The summer arms challenge is a great kick start program! It's very important to not over do it and chance burn out. Keep me posted! gale@skinnyms.com ๐Ÿ™‚

  43. For some reason not one of the videos on your site will load on any computer I have tired. I really want to get started on this arm work out but I can't see the Tabata intervals workout. Youtube has a dozen different ones and I wasn't sure what I should do. Could you lead me down the right direction? Thanks!

  44. Do you burn any calories with these exercises.. I'm doing a food/activity journal and it will not allow me to chart them without a "calorie burning" total.

    1. Cheri, Yes, but as to how many, that I can’t say for sure. It really depends on many variables, age, size, intensity, etc..

  45. This looks like a very good exercise schedule but don't you need rest for your arms in between the days, especially if you just start up doing it?

    1. This is a fitness challenge and designed for one week, with a recovery day in the middle of the week. As stated, start working arms 2-3 days a week once the challenge has ended.


    1. Marcy, Both. As you’ll see, there are exercises designed to burn fat and tone. I do recommend a clean eating diet to go along.

  47. Done. Now what? I can't really see the changes yet but I can definitely feel my arms more toned. What do I do now to keep improving them? Thanks so much for taking the time to come up with this challenge. God Bless.

    1. Vanessa, You are so welcome. I recommend doing an arm routine 2 x’s weekly. We have lots of arm routines to choose from on our site. Just go to our home page and type arms in the google search in the upper right side. ๐Ÿ™‚

  48. i used to have awesome arms, i got so many compliments. i am gonna try your plan, i'll let you now how it goes!

  49. I love this challenge, just started today, I can't wait to have slimmer sexy arms. What size dumbbells should I use, I don't want to bulk up muscle just slimmer upper arms. thank you.

  50. How long does it take for this routine to work , I have a fashion show on the 11th of december and cannot work out until the 27th of November , because of my finals.

    Do let me know. Also should I swim and run along with this routine ?

    1. Follow the workout and do your swimming and run, you should see improvement before the fashion show. Be sure to eat clean! Keep us posted. ๐Ÿ™‚

  51. I am thinking of starting on Monday I'm 11 thou but I have a bit of fat arms and fat thighs so I hope it works

  52. Hello! I have just discovered your site, and I am really excited to try the 7 day challenges! My question is how to follow up on it?! After the seven days are over, how do you suggest to move into a regular routine?? How often can the 7 day challenge be done? And also, I would like to do a detox…a short 3 day detox, and I saw yours, but I am a really picky eater! And I never have really cooked much in my life…recipes stress me out…do have a simpler plan? what if I just drink water and eat fresh fruits and veggies and nuts for three days??


    1. Emma, You should be able to do that. You should also incorporate beans even if you rinse them from a can and heat them for 10 minutes, eating them separately. They're in the soup. The 7 Day Challenges can be done once a month, generally, if you wanted to. After the 7 day challenges look for a workout in that category. For instance, if you do an abs challenge, look for our abs workouts. These can be done daily. Hope that helps.

  53. Okay so usually I'm kind of hesitant to do these challenges, because I always feel like I won't get any results..but after reading a few people's comments, I decided to give this a shot. AND I'm so glad I did! This is almost the end of my third week, and my arms have DEFINITELY gotten thinner! When I first started out, I was a little self-conscious about my arms, because compared to the past when I'd feel okay with wearing sleeveless dresses and tanks etc. now I felt slightly insecure. It wasn't bad or flabby, I just felt it got bigger than it was before. AFTER doing these, my arms have lost at least an inch! AND I CAN ACTUALLY TELL WHEN I LOOK I N THE MIRROR! SO EXCITING! Perfect for summer!

    1. You will definitely "feel" results in one week as you become stronger, and it's possible to lose inches in just a short amount of time, but this challenge is about jump-starting a fitness routine and building strength so that you can continue to achieve results that you can maintain over time.

    1. If you adopt a clean diet with appropriate portions and exercise regularly, you will begin to lose inches in as little as 14 days. This challenge will increase your arm strength and tone the muscles in your arms, but you may not notice any changes in the outward appearance of your arms if you have a layer of fat covering those muscles. The best way to lose fat is to adopt a clean eating diet and exercise regularly over time. This will not only make you stronger everywhere, but will also help to eliminate fat on all parts of your body.

  54. Hi! I love your workouts and etc skinny ms!
    My eating plan is simple
    Breakfast- all natural oatmeal
    Lunch- hard boiled eggs (2) and salad
    Dinner Fish/Protein and brown rice or bread ๐Ÿ™‚
    I weigh 120 pounds
    Do you think if I did this for 3 weeks my arms will look slimmer?

    1. You may notice small changes in the appearance of your arms in just 3 weeks time, but the bigger changes will be happening on the inside. You will feel stronger, and the extra muscle you have built will be working to burn calories, boost metabolism, and help keep the rest of your body looking healthy, too.

  55. Hello I have two questions
    First can we do other body challenges while doing this challenge?
    Second, do we have to take rest days or can we do this challenge every day for a month?

    1. You can definitely incorporate other challenges into your routine that focus on different body parts. Rest is an important component, as it allows muscles time to repair themselves so that they can get stronger and more efficient. If you feel fatigue in a certain muscle group, we recommend taking a day or two off and focusing on another muscle group.

  56. hi there well the thing is i do a lot of cardio regularly specially throughout the summer and overall im my ideal size im quite thin but no matter what i do my arms are super fat and make me look fatter. do these target exercises work if done independently without cardio or anything?

  57. Is there something like this for the back? I like how each muscle group is defined with specific exercises for each group. I need this for my back… bad!

    1. Beth, Feel free to complete the tabata as many times as you like, in addition to the other exercises.

  58. Hi
    How do i go about this without getting any muscle defintion. I have bulging biceps with fat all over my upper arms and skinny forearms. I only want to make my upper arms slimmer, no bulging muscles.
    Would greatly appreciate the help.
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Wish!

      So muscle definition is a combination of building muscle and shedding excess fat above that muscle in order to get defined arms. Unfortunately, we can’t choose where we shed body fat as we all carry it differently. This Summer Arms challenge is excellent for firming the muscles that you have while building some basic strength, but you don’t have to worry about it making you bulky. It takes a long time working with heavy weights to “bulk up”.

      We think if you give this challenge a try, you’ll be very happy with the way your arms look and feel! ๐Ÿ™‚ You can also try the Fat-Blasting Upper Body HIIT workout. It combines light arm exercises with high-intensity moves to tone your muscle while shedding excess fat!

  59. I have bulky arms now but im thankful that i found this nice article on how to get slim and firm arms in a short period of time, the good thing is im starting now because i want to have a slim and firm arms on december 9 (our Christmas party).

    1. We’re glad we could help, Grace! December 9 is almost a month away, which gives you plenty of time to work towards your goal! Remember to be consistent with your workouts and follow the healthy-eating tips included in the post! Good luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

  60. I’m curious on how to do a few of the moves in this workout routine but your videos aren’t working at the moment. Thank you

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