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The Super Sweaty 30-Day Arm Challenge That Will Sculpt Your Hottest Arms Ever

We teamed up with Kira Stokes, celebrity trainer and creator of The Stoked Method, to craft a 30-day arm challenge on Fitness to get your guns blazing. Now, the challenge comes to Shape for an encore performance. (ICYMI, she also served up a plank challenge that will put your core strength to the test.)

This arm challenge is broken down into four weeks: Week 1 is all about body-weight basics, Week 2 adds dumbbells, and Week 3 mixes body-weight and dumbbell moves to build can't-stop-won't-stop endurance. Week 4 combines body-weight ~flows~ with some weighted moves to tone your arms to perfection. 

The first day of each week, you'll only do one exercise. But on the second day, you'll do exercises from both Day 1 and Day 2. On Day 3, you'll do the exercises from Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3, and so on. On Day 6 of each week, you'll ditch the exercises from earlier in the week and focus on fine-tuning work, and on Day 7 of each week you'll do a push-up challenge, so you can gauge your progress and start feeling strong AF. (Need some strength-spiration? These badass women should do the trick.)

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30-Day Arm Challenge

Week 1: Bodyweight Basics

This week, you'll work through bodyweight basics: push-ups, triceps dips, triceps push-ups, plank taps, crouching tiger push-ups, some fine-tuning work, and then top it off with an endurance push-up challenge. Let's get started.

Day 1

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Photo: Peter Ardito

Day 1: Wide-Grip Push-Up

  • Start in plank position with hands wider than shoulder-width, and feet hip-width.
  • Keeping core tight, lower chest toward the ground, then push through palms to return to plank.
  • Inhale as you lower, exhale as you push.
  • Do 3 sets of 15 reps.

Day 2

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Photo: Peter Ardito

Day 2: Triceps Dip

  • Sit on the floor, hands behind you with thumbs pointing forward and fingertips on a slight diagonal.
  • Lift hips up, shift weight onto hands, opening chest and rolling shoulders back.
  • Bend at the elbows, shooting them straight back, until butt taps the floor, and push to straighten.
  • Do 3 sets of 15 reps.

Day 3

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Photo: Peter Ardito

Day 3: Triceps Push-Up

  • Place hands shoulder-width on floor, rotate elbow creases forward, and shift shoulders over wrists.
  • Lower chest to elbow height, elbows skimming sides of ribcage, then push through palms to return to plank. Inhale as you lower, exhale as you push. (Drop to knees for an easier variation.)
  • Do 3 sets of 10 reps.

Day 4

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Photo: Peter Ardito

Day 4: Plank Tap

  • Start in plank position with hands shoulder-width. Keep core tight and hips stable by drawing navel in and squeezing glutes.
  • Alternate tapping shoulders with the opposite hands.
  • Continue for 30 seconds.

Day 5

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Day 5: Crouching Tiger Push-Up

  • Start in plank position with hands wider than shoulder-width.
  • Lower chest toward floor in a regular wide-grip push-up. Then bend knees and shift hips back so knees are 2 inches off floor and arms are extended.
  • Lift hips up into downward dog position. Then tucking tailbone and rounding spine, roll back into plank position.
  • Do 3 sets of 10 reps.

Day 6

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Photo: Peter Ardito

Day 6: Fine-Tuning with Dolphin Push-Up

Straight-Arm Fine-Tuning Work

  • Using 2.5-lb dumbbells, water bottles, or soup cans, lie on stomach, arms extended backward with weights in hand, palms facing down.
  • Squeezing glutes, lifting chest, and extending neck neutrally forward, tap the floor with the weights and lift. Do 15 reps.
  • Keeping arms lifted, squeeze arms in toward your body, tapping pinkies to hips, pressing in and out. Do 15 reps.

Dolphin Push-Up

  • Start in elbow plank position with fingers interlaced. Drive through shoulders and lift hips toward the ceiling, then pull hips back down into plank position.
  • Continue for 25 seconds.

Do circuit 3 times.

Day 7

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Photo: Peter Ardito

Day 7: Endurance Push-Up Challenge

  • Start in plank position, hands wider than shoulder-width.
  • Lower down into a push-up, inhaling while lowering and exhaling while pushing up. Do 8 reps.
  • Rest in child's pose for 5 seconds.
  • Do 7 reps, then rest in child's pose. Do 6 reps, then rest in child's pose. Continue decreasing reps until you do just 1 push-up and finish in child's pose.

Week 2: Just Add Dumbbells

If you're new to dumbbell moves, week two is for you. You'll work through skull crushers, close-grip presses, overhead pulls, and biceps curls, plus some classics like plank up/downs. Don't forget the fine-tuning work on Day 13 and push-up challenge on Day 14. Remember: if it burns, it's working.

Day 8

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Photo: Peter Ardito

Day 8: Skull Crusher

  • Lie down, feet flat on the floor with arms extended above you. Hold moderately heavy dumbbells (5 to 10 lbs) with arms extended, elbows in line with shoulders.
  • Rotate elbows in, and extend the weight back to form a 90-degree angle with forearm and biceps. Press the weight back up and straighten arm completely, squeezing triceps.
  • Keeping the movement slow and controlled. Inhale while lowering the weight, exhale while extending.
  • Do 3 sets of 15 reps.

Day 9

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Day 9: Close-Grip Press

  • Lie on the floor, arms extended perpendicular to the ground. Hold dumbbells over shoulders, palms facing in.
  • Lower the weight down to chest-level, keeping elbows in tight, until triceps are parallel to the floor. Exhale while pressing back up.
  • Do 3 sets of 15 reps.

Day 10

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Day 10: Overhead Pull

  • Lie on the floor with arms extended perpendicular to the floor, holding dumbbells pressed together over chest.
  • Keeping tailbone tucked, core engaged, and arms straight, slowly extend weight overhead until it taps the floor. Inhale while pulling the weight back toward belly button.
  • Do 3 sets of 15 reps.

Day 11

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Day 11: Plank Up/Down

  • Start in plank position with hands shoulder-width.
  • Keeping core tight and glutes engaged, place right elbow on ground, then left elbow on ground to lower down to elbow plank. Then place right hand under right shoulder, and left hand under left shoulder to return to high plank position. Repeat with left side first.
  • Continue for 30 seconds, alternating which arm goes first.

Day 12

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Day 12: Biceps Curl

  • Stand with feet hip-width, tailbone tucked, holding dumbbells by sides with palms forward.
  • Lift weight up to shoulder, squeezing biceps. Lower slowly back to start.
  • Do 3 sets of 25 reps (10 full reps, 5 reps lowering halfway, and 10 more full reps).

Day 13

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Day 13: Fine-Tuning

Straight-Arm Fine-Tuning Work

  • Using 2.5-lb dumbbells, water bottles, or soup cans, lie on stomach, arms extended backward with weights in hand, palms facing the floor.
  • Squeezing glutes, lifting chest, and extending neck neutrally forward, tap the floor with the weights and lift. Do 15 reps.
  • Keeping arms lifted, squeeze arms in toward your body, tapping pinkies to hips, pressing in and out. Do 15 reps.

Plank Up/Down

  • Start in plank position with hands shoulder-width.
  • Keeping core tight and glutes engaged, place right elbow on ground, then left elbow on ground. Then place right hand under right shoulder, and left hand under left shoulder. Repeat with left side first.
  • Continue for 25 seconds, alternating which arm goes first.

Repeat 3 times.

Day 14

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Day 14: Endurance Push-Up Challenge

  • Start in plank position, hands wider than shoulder-width.
  • Lower down into a push-up, and press back up with core tight. Inhale while lowering and exhale while pushing up. Do 8 reps.
  • Lower into an elbow plank and hold for 20 seconds.
  • Do 7 push-up reps, then hold the elbow plank for 20 seconds. Do 6 push-up reps, then hold elbow plank for 20 seconds. Continue decreasing the number of push-ups until you do just 1 push-up and finish with an elbow plank.

Week 3: Endurance & Strength

You're halfway there, and it's time to put all your hard work to the test. Week three pairs moves from weeks one and two (plus some fun new ones) for a workout that'll really have you sweating. Seeing results already? Good—in two more weeks time, you'll be twice as toned and super strong. 

Day 15

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Day 15 Part 1: Overhead Triceps Extension

  • Stand with feet hip-width, tailbone tucked, and drawing navel in.
  • Hold dumbbells overhead pressed together. Rotate elbows in, and lower the weights down so they're touching between shoulder blades. Straighten arms and squeeze triceps to raise dumbbells back overhead.
  • Do 3 sets of 20 reps (8 full reps, 8 reps pulsing at the lowest point, then 4 more full reps), alternating sets with following Day 15 Part 2 exercise.

Photo: Peter Ardito

Day 15 Part 2: Bodyweight Triceps Extension

  • Start in downward dog position. Rotating elbows in, tap forearms to the floor, then press through the palms to extend elbows and return to downward dog. Keep hips in downward dog position throughout movement.
  • Do 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps, alternating sets with Day 15 Part 1 exercise.

Day 16

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Day 16 Part 1: Biceps Curl

  • Stand with feet hip-width, tailbone tucked, holding dumbbells by sides, palms forward.
  • Lift weight up to shoulder, squeezing biceps. Lower slowly back to start.
  • Do 3 sets of 20 reps (8 full reps, 8 reps only lowering halfway, and 4 more full reps), alternating sets with Day 16 Part 2 exercise.

Photo: Peter Ardito

Day 16 Part 2: Wide-Grip Push-Up

  • Start in plank position with hands wider than shoulder-width, and feet hip-width.
  • Keeping core tight, lower chest toward the ground, then push through palms to return to plank.
  • Inhale as you lower, exhale as you push.
  • Do 3 sets of 15 reps, alternating sets with Day 16 Part 1 exercise.

Day 17

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Day 17 Part 1: Triceps Kickback

  • Stand with feet hip-width. Hinge forward while keeping core tight, back flat, and sticking butt out.
  • Lock elbows by sides, press the weight back and straighten arms to lock completely. Pull back in to 90-degree angle, careful not to swing weight. Squeeze and hold for 2 seconds while extended for extra burn.
  • Do 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps, alternating sets with Day 17 Part 2 exercise.

Photo: Peter Ardito

Day 17 Part 2: Triceps Push-Up

  • Start in plank position with hands shoulder-width on floor. Rotate elbow creases forward, and shift shoulders over wrists.
  • Lower chest to elbow height, elbows skimming sides of ribcage.
  • Inhale as you lower, exhale as you push. (Drop to knees for an easier variation.)
  • Do 3 sets of 10 reps, alternating sets with Day 17 Part 1 exercise.

Day 18

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Day 18: Plank Up/Down and Plank Jack

Plank Up/Down:

  • Start in plank position with hands shoulder-width.
  • Keeping core tight and glutes engaged, place right elbow on ground, then left elbow on ground. Then place right hand under right shoulder, and left hand under left shoulder. Repeat with left side first.

Plank Jack:

  • Start in plank position, feet together.
  • Keeping core tight, hop feet apart and back together.

Do 1 plank up/down 2 plank jacks alternating for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.

Day 19

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Day 19 Part 1: Hammer Curl

  • Start standing with dumbbells in hand, palms facing in.
  • Soften knees, tuck tailbone, and keep core tight while raising the top of the dumbbell to shoulder, squeezing biceps. Lower to start.
  • Do 3 sets of 20 reps (8 full reps, 8 reps going halfway down, and 4 more full reps). Alternate set with Day 19 Part 2 exercise.

Photo: Peter Ardito

Day 19 Part 2: Crouching Tiger Push-Up

  • Start in plank position with hands wider than shoulder-width.
  • Lower chest toward floor in a regular push-up. Then bend knees and shift hips back so knees are 2 inches off floor. Then lift hips up into downward dog position.
  • Tucking tailbone and rounding spine, roll into plank position.
  • Do 3 sets of 10 reps, alternating sets with Day 19 Part 1 exercise.

Day 20

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Day 20: Fine-Tuning with Hand Release Push-Up

Straight-Arm Fine-Tuning Work

  • Using 2.5-lb dumbbells, water bottles, or soup cans, lie on stomach, arms extended backward with weights in hand, palms facing the floor.
  • Squeezing glutes, lifting chest, and extending neck neutrally forward, tap the floor with the weights and lift. Do 15 reps.
  • Keeping arms lifted, squeeze arms in toward your body, tapping pinkies to hips, pressing in and out. Do 15 reps.

Hand Release Push-Up

  • Lie on stomach and bend knees so legs form a 90-degree angle. Place hands by ribcage like in a triceps push-up.
  • Push torso off the floor with elbows squeezing sides. Lower back to the floor. Then lift hands and extend arms straight in front, hovering off the floor. Continue for 25 seconds.

Repeat the circuit 3 times.

Day 21

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Photo: Peter Ardito

Day 21: Endurance Push-Up Challenge

  • Start in a plank position, hands wider than shoulder-width.
  • Lower down into a push-up, inhaling while lowering and exhaling while pushing up. Do 10 reps.
  • Lower into an elbow plank and hold for 20 seconds.
  • Do 9 push-up reps, then hold the elbow plank for 20 seconds. Do 8 push-up reps, then hold elbow plank for 20 seconds. Continue decreasing the number of push-ups until you do just 1 push-up and hold the last elbow plank.

Week 4: Flows & Fine-Tuning

You've put in the work to build strength all over your upper body—and now it's time to have some fun. Kira put together these creative flows to test your ability and incorporate new movement patterns to keep your brain and body guessing. Take note of that final endurance push-up challenge and see how far you've come—but don't slack on Day 29 and 30. Those last two combos are made to push you to your limit. 

Day 22

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Photo: Peter Ardito

Day 22: Triceps Push-Up to Bodyweight Triceps Extension Flow

  • Start in plank position with hands shoulder-width. Rotate elbow creases forward, and shift shoulders over wrists. Lower chest to elbow height, elbows skimming sides of ribcage, then exhale while pushing back up to plank. Drop to knees for an easier variation.
  • Then shift hips back into downward dog position. Rotating elbows in, tap them to the floor, then press through the palms to extend elbows. Keep hips in downward dog position.
  • Tuck tailbone, round spine, and roll forward into start position.
  • Do 10 reps.

Day 23

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Day 23: Triceps Dip to Panther Flow

  • Sit on the floor, hands behind you with fingertips on a slight diagonal. Lift hips up, shift weight onto hands, opening chest and rolling shoulders back. Bend at the elbows, shooting them straight back, and push to straighten. Do 5 reps.
  • Flip over onto all fours, with knees hovering 2 inches above the ground. Keeping back flat and core tight, move opposite arm and leg forward 2 inches, rotate elbow in and dip toward the floor. Repeat with the other side. Move forward for 4 total steps, then backward for 4 steps.
  • Flip over and begin the next set of triceps dips. Repeat circuit 5 times.

Day 24

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Day 24: Plank Triceps Extension to Triceps Push-Up Flow

  • Plank Triceps Extension: Start in an elbow plank position. Move elbows slightly forward, 2 inches in front of shoulders. Plant palms firmly, rotate elbows in, and press through elbows to straighten arms. Touch elbows back to floor, and straighten. Do 3 reps.
  • Triceps Push-Up: Step hands back so they are under shoulders, rotate elbow creases forward, and shift shoulders over wrists. Lower chest to elbow height, elbows skimming sides of ribcage, then exhale while pushing back up. Drop to knees for an easier variation. Do 2 reps.
  • Lower onto elbows and move them 2 inches forward to begin the next set of plank triceps extensions. Complete the circuit 5 times.

Day 25

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Day 25: Plank Up/Down to Plank Jack to Mountain Climbers Flow

  • Plank Up/Down: Start in plank position with hands shoulder-width. Keeping core tight and glutes engaged, place right elbow on ground, then left elbow on ground to lower down to elbow plank. Then place right hand under right shoulder, and left hand under left shoulder to return to high plank position. Do 1 rep.
  • Plank Jack: Keeping core tight in high plank position, hop feet apart and back together. Do 2 reps.
  • Mountain Climbers: Staying in plank position, drive right knee into chest, then left knee into chest, with core tight and hips in line. Do 4 reps on each side.
  • Continue the circuit for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.

Day 26

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Day 26: Couching Tiger Push-Up to Dive Bomber Push-Up Flow

  • Crouching Tiger Push-Up: Start in plank position with hands wider than shoulder-width. Lower chest toward floor in a regular push-up. Then bend knees and shift hips back so knees are 2 inches off floor and arms are extended. Lift hips up into downward dog position. Then, tucking tailbone and rounding spine, roll back into plank position. Do 3 reps.
  • Dive Bomber Push-Up: Push back from plank into downward dog. Lower head toward the floor, then face, chest, belly button, and push through back to downward dog. Do 3 reps.
  • Do this circuit 5 times.

Day 27

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Photo: Peter Ardito

Day 27: Fine-Tuning with Hand Release Push-Up

Straight-Arm Fine-Tuning Work

  • Using 2.5-lb dumbbells, water bottles, or soup cans, lie on stomach, arms extended backward with weights in hand, palms facing down.
  • Squeezing glutes, lifting chest, and extending neck neutrally forward, tap the floor with the weights and lift. Do 15 reps.
  • Keeping arms lifted, squeeze arms in toward your body, tapping pinkies to hips, pressing in and out. Do 15 reps.

Hand Release Push-Up

  • Start in plank position with hands shoulder-width. Perform a triceps push-up with elbows squeezing torso. (Drop to knees for an easier variation.) Lower to the floor, lift hands, and extend arms straight in front, hovering off the floor. Continue for 30 seconds.

Repeat circuit 3 times.

Day 28

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Photo: Peter Ardito

Day 28: Endurance Push-Up Challenge

  • Start in a plank position, hands wider than shoulder-width.
  • Lower down into a push-up, and press back up with core tight. Inhaling while lowering and exhaling while pushing up. Do 12 reps.
  • Lower into an elbow plank and hold for 20 seconds.
  • Do 11 push-up reps, then hold the elbow plank for 20 seconds. Do 10 push-up reps, then hold elbow plank for 20 seconds. Continue decreasing the number of push-ups until you do just 1 push-up and hold the last elbow plank.

Day 29

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Day 29 Part 1: Skull Crusher

  • Lie down, feet flat on the floor, holding dumbbells with arms extended above you,elbows in line with your shoulders.
  • Rotate elbows in, and extend the weight back so you form a 90-degree angle with your forearm and biceps. Then press the weight back up and strengthen the arm completely, squeezing triceps.
  • Do 3 sets of 15 reps, alternating sets with Day 29 Part 2 exercise.

Photo: Peter Ardito

Day 29 Part 2: Triceps Push-Up to Bodyweight Triceps Extension Flow

  • Start in plank position with hands shoulder-width and shoulders over wrists. Lower chest to elbow height, elbows skimming sides of ribcage, then exhale while pushing back up to plank. (Drop to knees for an easier variation.)
  • Then shift hips back into downward dog position. Rotating elbows in, tap them to the floor, then press through the palms to extend elbows. Tuck tailbone, round spine, and roll forward into start position.
  • Do 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps, alternating sets with Day 29 Part 1 exercise.

Day 30

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Photo: Peter Ardito

Day 30 Part 1: Triceps Kickback

  • Stand with feet hip-width. Hinge forward while keeping core tight, back flat, and sticking butt out.
  • Lock elbows by sides, press the weight back and straighten arms to lock completely. Pull back in to 90-degree angle, careful not to swing weight. Squeeze and hold for 2 seconds while extended for extra burn.
  • Do 3 sets of 15 reps, alternating sets with Day 30 Part 2 exercise.

Photo: Peter Ardito

Day 30 Part 2: Panther

  • Start on all fours, with knees hovering 2 inches above the ground. Keeping back flat and core tight, move opposite arm and leg forward 2 inches, rotate elbow in and dip toward the floor. Repeat with the other side.
  • Move forward for four total steps, then backward for four steps. That's 1 rep.
  • Do 3 sets of 5 reps alternating sets with Day 30 Part 1 exercise.

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