Ultimate 30-day arms challenge: anyone can build strength in one month

Our 30-day arms challenge can sculpt and strengthen your arms in only six moves

Woman performs biceps curls with a pair of 2kg dumbbells
Our 30-day arms challenge features biceps curls and five other straightforward arm exercises
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Whatever your fitness goals are, you can achieve more than you might think in just a month. With our 30-day arms challenge, you’ll finish with stronger, more defined arms, and we’re pretty sure you’ll enjoy yourself along the way too.

That’s because the plan progresses at a manageable pace, and starts with achievable short workouts that help you build the strength in your arms quickly, without making your arms sore for days afterwards. 

There are six moves on the plan, and you tackle three of them most days. Three of the arms exercises on the plan use just your bodyweight, and three involve dumbbells. For the first half of the plan you’ll be doing bodyweight exercises and then in the second half you bring in the dumbbells to help you keep progressing as you get stronger.

A set of dumbbells is needed for the challenge, and we’d recommend a minimum weight of 5kg per weight if possible, though you can certainly choose a lighter weight if that is too challenging.

If you don’t own a pair already, here are the best dumbbells deals available today.

Or, if you’d like to set yourself up for the long term, browse our recommendations of the best adjustable dumbbells. They are more expensive than a fixed-weight pair, but they allow you to gradually increase the weight as you get stronger. Once you've completed this 30-day plan, a pair will allow you to tackle this dumbbell arms workout

Below you’ll find a guide showing you how to do each of the six exercises involved followed by the plan itself.

30-Day Arms Challenge: Exercise Guides

The exercises in our 30-day arms challenge use your own body weight for the first half of the month, and then up the intensity by incorporating dumbbells for the second half. 

All six moves below will target your biceps (the front of your upper arms), triceps (back of the upper arms) and deltoids (shoulders). 

Push-up on knees

Woman demonstrates two positions of the push-up on knees exercise

(Image credit: Future)

Begin on your hands and knees, with your hands underneath your shoulders, arms straight, feet off the floor and your body in a straight line from head to knees. Tighten your stomach muscles to help keep your body in a straight line, then bend your elbows to lower your chest to the floor. Push through your hands to lift your body back to the start.

Too difficult? Just do the first half—lowering to the floor—as slowly as you can. Refer to our guide on how to do a push-up for more advanced versions to try.

Triceps dip

Woman demonstrates two positions of the triceps dip using a chair

(Image credit: Future)

Sit on a chair or sofa and place your hands either side of you. Slide your bottom off the chair, bending your knees at right angles. Bend your elbows to lower your hips to the floor until they are at right angles. Press up until your elbows are straight but not locked.

Walking plank

Woman demonstrates two positions of the walking plank exercise

(Image credit: Future)

Get into a press-up position. Lower yourself on to your right forearm, then bring your left arm down too, so they’re both flat on the floor. Place your right hand on the ground and push up, allowing your left hand to follow. Alternate your leading arm and keep your hips as still as possible throughout.

Triceps extension

Woman performs two positions of the triceps extension with a dumbbell

(Image credit: Future)

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell above your head with a straight arm. Keeping your back straight and upper arm by your ear, bend your elbow to slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head. Straighten your arm to lift the dumbbell to the starting position. Perform all the repetitions on one side then switch sides.

Biceps curl

Woman two positions of the biceps curl using dumbbells

(Image credit: Future)

This move is one of the best biceps workouts to strengthen your arms with weights. Hold dumbbells by your thighs, with your palms facing away from you. Keeping your upper arms still, bend your elbows to lift the dumbbells to shoulder height. Slowly lower and repeat.

Standing shoulder press

Woman performing a shoulder press with dumbbells

(Image credit: Future)

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold dumbbells by your shoulders with your palms facing forwards and elbows pointing to the sides. Raise the dumbbells straight up until your arms are straight. Slowly lower to the starting position. 

30-day arms challenge

Ready to put those moves into action? Get going with your 30-day arms workout plan below! Either save the image to your device for easy reference, or follow the day-by-day guidelines listed underneath.

Bear in mind that to see muscle tone you need to burn fat, so add try to complete two to three cardio workouts a week as well. 

Graphic listing all the workouts in Fit & Well's 30-day arms challenge

(Image credit: Future)

Day 1

3 x Push-up on knees

3 x Triceps dip

3 x Walking plank 

Day 2

4 x Push-up on knees

4 x Triceps dip

4 x Walking plank 

Day 3

5 x Push-up on knees

5 x Triceps dip

5 x Walking plank 

Day 4

6 x Push-up on knees

6 x Triceps dip

6 x Walking plank 

Day 5

7 x Push-up on knees

7 x Triceps dip

7 x Walking plank 

Day 6

8 x Push-up on knees

8 x Triceps dip

8 x Walking plank 

Day 7

9 x Push-up on knees

9 x Triceps dip

9 x Walking plank 

Day 8

Rest day!

Day 9

10 x Push-up on knees

10 x Triceps dip

10 x Walking plank 

Day 10

11 x Push-up on knees

11 x Triceps dip

11 x Walking plank 

Day 11

12 x Push-up on knees

12 x Triceps dip

12 x Walking plank 

Day 12

13 x Push-up on knees

13 x Triceps dip

13 x Walking plank 

Day 13

14 x Push-up on knees

14 x Triceps dip

14 x Walking plank 

Day 14

15 x Push-up on knees

15 x Triceps dip

15 x Walking plank 

Day 15

16 x Push-up on knees

16 x Triceps dip

16 x Walking plank 

Day 16

Rest day!

Day 17

3 x Triceps extension

3 x Biceps curl

3 x Standing shoulder press

Day 18

4 x Triceps extension

4 x Biceps curl

4 x Standing shoulder press

Day 19

5 x Triceps extension

5 x Biceps curl

5 x Standing shoulder press

Day 20

6 x Triceps extension

6 x Biceps curl

6 x Standing shoulder press

Day 21

7 x Triceps extension

7 x Biceps curl

7 x Standing shoulder press

Day 22

8 x Triceps extension

8 x Biceps curl

8 x Standing shoulder press

Day 23

9 x Triceps extension

9 x Biceps curl

9 x Standing shoulder press

Day 24

Rest day!

Day 25

10 x Triceps extension

10 x Biceps curl

10 x Standing shoulder press 

Day 26

11 x Triceps extension

11 x Biceps curl

11 x Standing shoulder press

Day 27

12 x Triceps extension

12 x Biceps curl

12 x Standing shoulder press 

Day 28

13 x Triceps extension

13 x Biceps curl

13 x Standing shoulder press 

Day 29

14 x Triceps extension

14 x Biceps curl

14 x Standing shoulder press 

Day 30

15 x Triceps extension

15 x Biceps curl

15 x Standing shoulder press 

Congratulations! You’ve completed our 30-day arms challenge.

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Natalia Lubomirski

Natalia is a health and fitness journalist who has written for the likes of Woman & Home and Marie Claire, and likes to practice what she preaches when it comes to staying fit and well. She loves the outdoors and would happily swap the treadmill for the trail at any opportunity. As such, in her free time you'll likely find her up a mountain somewhere. She has hiked eight of the major mountain ranges across four continents, including the Appalachians, the Smokies, the Sierra Nevadas (where she hiked to the top of Half Dome during her honeymoon) and the Atlas Mountains, as well hitting the summits of Snowdon and Pen-Y-Fan (Brecon Beacons), Table Mountain in South Africa and the Blue Mountains in Australia. She was also a fencer for 13 years, wielding an epée for Team GB during her teenage years. Having recently welcomed a baby, Natalia is currently getting back into her fitness routine, and has her sights set on completing a triathlon, something she and her husband started out on before their bundle of joy arrived.