Upper Body Workout
Body Toning Exercise - Upper Body

This eight-minute workout will help you tone up those upper body wobbly bits with exercises for back, shoulders, chest and arm muscles.

8 Minutes to Get Rid of Your Upper Body Wobbly Bits

Whether it's the sleeveless tops in summer or bare shoulders in winter, those wobbly bits around the upper arms, chest and back can easily spoil the look. Here's our 8 minute body toning workout to banish the wobbly bits.

Equipment Needed

Any exercise aimed at toning your body needs something to provide resistance for your muscles to work against. Most of the exercises below use hand-held weights to provide resistance: these can be as simple as water bottles (or even tins of food) you can grip comfortably, or dumbbells in the range of 1lb-5lb/0.5-2kg.

Timing and Repetitions

10 reps of each exercise should take about 8 minutes - about 1 minute each plus a little transition time. As with all exercise you should warm-up first. Marching or jogging on the spot for a few minutes interspersed with some gentle stretches will do the trick.

Getting Started

Exercise a bit of caution, body toning exercise can be a pretty painful experience if muscles have lain dormant for a while. The problem is, it's not until 24-48hrs after your workout that you'll realise you've overdone it! Body toning exercise should not be painful while you are doing it - if it is you're using too much weight.

If you've not been exercising your muscles recently it's best to start with a weight that feels "very easy" and build up gradually from there.

Alternatively, us a progressive plan like the XBX, which has charts to start you at a level that you should be easy for you and shows you exactly how to progress. 

The Workout

Exercise 1 - Bicep Curl

bicep curl demonstration cartoon
How to do a bicep curl
  • Stand with your back straight, relax your arms in line with your body
  • Grip your weights with your palms facing upwards and curl them up towards your shoulders, then back down again
  • Keep your torso still, elbows close to your body and back straight - make your arms do the work

Exercise 2 - Dumbbell Chest Press
(Chest and shoulders)

dumbbell chest press demonstration graphic
How to do a dumbbell chest press
  • Lie on your back and grasp your weights with the palms of your hands facing up, arms out to the sides with elbows bent
  • Lift your arms above your chest until your hands are almost touching. Return to starting position.
  • Keep your back flat and still

Exercise 3 - Bent Over Lateral Raise
(Upper arms, shoulders and back)

bent over lateral raise demonstration cartoon
How to do a bent over lateral raise
  • Standing with feet slightly apart, grasp your weights and bend at the waist until your torso is parallel to the floor
  • Extend your arms towards the floor with palms facing outwards. Lift your arms out to the side, keeping them straight, until parallel to the floor
  • Return to the starting position and repeat

Exercise 4 - Triceps Kickback
(Back of upper arms)

triceps kickback demonstration graphic
How to do a triceps kickback
  • Stand with your feet slightly apart, knees slightly bent, bent forward from the waist
  • Hold your weight, upper arm slightly above being in line with your back, elbow bent at 90˚
  • Bring your forearm back until your arm is straight
  • Keep your arm close to your side. If you find balancing difficult, place your non-exercising arm on a suitable stable surface
  • Do your repetitions one side then repeat on the other

Exercise 5 - Upright Row
(Upper arms, shoulders and back)

upright row demonstration cartoon
How to do the upright row
  • Standing with feet slightly apart, position your arms straight down in front of you almost against your body - with your weights almost touching
  • Bend your elbows and lift your weights towards your chin, bringing your elbows out to the side, in line with your shoulders
  • Return to the starting position and repeat

Exercise 6 - Push Up from Knees
(Arms, chest and core)

The classic push up for beginners.

  • With your hands shoulder width apart place your palms on the floor. Stretch out your body with your knees on the floor, so you are supporting your body weight on knees and palms
  • Keeping your back straight, bend your elbows to lower yourself gently toward the floor until you are hovering just over it
  • Push yourself slowly back to your starting position

Tip: don't lower yourself to the point where you come into contact with the floor, it'll be much harder to push back up

Exercise 7 - Dumbbell Shoulder Press
(Back, shoulders and arms)

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart, holding dumbells just above your shouldersarms raised
  • Slowly raise your arms above your head until straight but without locking your elbows
  • Lower slowly back to starting position


The secret of successful body toning is regularity. If you do this exercise sequence every other day you'll start to see results in a few weeks.

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