THE GOAL: Toning your arms

THE EXPERT: Alex Savva, founder of CircuitFIT in Toronto.

THE INFO: Many of us may complain about our "flabby" or "saggy" arms, but for the most part, this part of your body can be toned with the basics of exercise. Dips, push-ups and curls are the easiest (and most effective) ways to tone arm muscle. And ladies, for these exercises below, it is advised to do a few extra sets in your routine — women are more likely to carry fat in their arms.

THE MOVES:

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  • Close Grip Push-Ups

    Start in a push-up position with your hands about six inches apart and your body in a stiff plank position. Bend your elbows to slowly lower your chest to the ground and press back up until you fully extend your arms.

  • Close Grip Push-Ups

    <strong>Variation</strong>: Try this exercise from the knees if you are a beginner, or add a weight plate or a sandbag on your back if you’re looking for an extra challenge.

  • Kettlebell Tricep Extension

    Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Brace your core and hold a kettlebell overhead with the weight hanging below the handle. With your elbows locked in position, slowly bend them to lower the kettlebell back and behind your head until you reach a 90-degree bend at the elbow joint. Contract the triceps as you push the kettlebell back up to starting position. <strong>Variation:</strong> Try this with one kettlebell in each hand to target the triceps individually.

  • Dip

    Grip the dip bars and start at the top position with your arms fully extended and your body perpendicular to the floor, with your shoulders pulled back and down. Bend your elbows and slowly lower yourself until your upper arms are parallel to the ground. Push yourself up by contracting your triceps and extending your elbows to 180-degrees for a full range of motion. <strong>Variation:</strong> For an easier modification, try this move off a bench with your feet out in front of you until you can build up to a full body weight dip.

  • Kettlebell Hammer Curls

    Grab a pair of kettlebells and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Lock up your wrists and hammer curl the kettlebells by keeping your palms facing one another. Slowly resist the kettlebells back to their starting position.

  • Kettlebell Hammer Curls

    Keep your elbows tight to your sides and resist the temptation to move or raise them as you hammer curl the weight up.

  • Zottman Curls

    Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Turn your palms up and move your dumbbell grip in towards the body.

  • Zottman Curls

    Curl the dumbbells up, pause at the top and reverse your grip so your palms are now facing down. Lower the weight to full extension and reverse your grip again.

  • Zottman Curls

    Use dumbbells that are about 50 to 60 per cent of the weight you would normally use for standard curls in order to execute this exercise with proper technique.

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  • Young woman relaxing during yoga (Series with the same model available)

  • Woman Pilates Shoulder Bridge Position

  • Wall Push-Up

    Great for beginners or people with back issues. Wall push-ups will prime foundation strength for more advanced chest exercises. Start by standing a few feet in front of a bare wall, lift arms to shoulder level and place palms on wall slightly wider than shoulders. Now back feet away from wall so elbows are bent as you lean in. Now inhale, and exhale as you push off wall. Inhale as you return to start position. Slowing the pace will increase the level of difficulty. Aim for 20 push-ups. Top tip: never arch lower back, or lock arms totally straight, keep flexible bend at elbows at all times.

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  • Hand Cup Press

    An easy little move will work chest, and biceps. Stand straight with feet hip distance apart. Raise arms to shoulder level and then cup your hands together in front of chest. Don't interlace fingers. Now, with hands cupped together press palms together – this will engage not only hand muscles but arms and pectoral chest muscles. Press for 30 seconds, stop, and reverse hands, and press again for another 30 seconds. Stop, shake out arms, and repeat move each way, two more times. This can also be done using a stabilizing ball.

  • Plank Pose

    This wonderful exercise not only strengthens chest but also abdomen, arms and lower back. Start plank pose on hands and knees – look like a table. Don't let chest sag down between shoulders. Gaze between hands, tuck toes, and step feet back. Bring length of body and head into a straight line. Hold this plank position for 60 seconds. To come out of pose, drop lightly to knees. Repeat two more times.

  • Diamond Push-Up

    Like a push-up but with increased difficulty. Awesome move to increase chest muscle strength. Get into push-up position on floor. Make a diamond shape with hands; thumbs and pointer fingers should be touching – thumbs pointing down towards toes, and fingers pointing away in other direction. Now, with hands forming diamond shape, slowly push up off floor as you would normal push-up. Aim to do this five times – it will be hard!

  • Backpack Push-Up

    Great to do at home if you don't have fancy gym equipment. Take a firm-fitting backpack, preferably one with padded shoulder straps, and fill it with non-sharp household items that have weight. Get into position with the pack and contents fixed firmly to back, and proceed with normal push-ups. The more weight in the backpack, the harder the workout. Start with 10 to 20 push-ups with weighted pack, then adjust if needed. Repeat 20 more times.

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  • Equalizer Dips, Part 1

    Starts with a firm grip around the equalizer bars, feet extended out in front. Look to a point slightly in front of you to help maintain good posture. Inhale while slowly lowering and exhale as you drive your body upwards for a full range of motion.

  • Equalizer Dips, Part 2

    Don’t let your shoulders roll forward. Remember, chest up and shoulders back. Your shoulders must not go lower than your elbows.

  • Dumbbell Triceps Kickback, Part 1

    Start with a dumbbell in hand and your palms facing your torso. Keep your back straight with a slight bend in the knees and bend forward at the waist. Your torso should be almost parallel to the floor. Make sure to keep your head up. Your upper arms should be close to your torso and parallel to the floor. Your forearms should be pointed towards the floor as you hold the weights. There should be a 90-degree angle formed between your forearm and upper arm. This is your starting position.

  • Dumbbell Triceps Kickback, Part 2

    Now, while keeping your upper arms stationary, exhale and use your triceps to lift the weights until the arm is fully extended. Focus on moving the forearm. After a brief pause at the top contraction, inhale and slowly lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position.

  • Triceps Rope Extension, Part 1

    Attach a rope to a high cable pulley. After selecting an appropriate weight, grasp the rope with both hands and face towards the cable. Position your elbows at 90 degree as your starting position. To perform the movement, extend through the elbow while keeping the upper arm in position, your hands and rope should pass just outside your hips to allow for full elbow extension.

  • Triceps Rope Extension, Part 2

    Squeeze your triceps at the bottom of the movement, and slowly lower the weight back to the start position.

  • Single Arm Cable Triceps Extension, Part 1

    With your right hand, grasp a single handle attached to the high-cable pulley using a supinated (underhand; palms facing up) grip. You should be standing directly in front of the weight stack. Now pull the handle down so that your upper arm and elbow are locked in to the side of your body. Your upper arm and forearm should form an acute angle (less than 90-degrees). You can keep the other arm by the waist and you can have one leg in front of you and the other one back for better balance. This will be your starting position.

  • Single Arm Cable Triceps Extension, Part 2

    As you contract the triceps, move the single handle attachment down to your side until your arm is straight. Breathe out as you perform this movement. Only the forearms should move and your upper arms should remain stationary at all times. Squeeze the triceps and hold for a second in this contracted position. Slowly return the handle to the starting position.

  • TRX Triceps Extension, Part 1

    Hang the TRX cables at an elevated point so that the handles hang down to just above your waist. Grasp the handles with your palms facing downwards. Keep your body in a straight line and lean forward so that your body makes about a 50-degree angle with the floor.

  • TRX Triceps Extension, Part 2

    In a slow, controlled fashion allow your elbow joint to flex, lengthening your triceps. When your hands reach directly over your shoulders, exhale as your extend your elbows by contracting your triceps.

  • Diamond Pushups, Part 1

    Lie on the floor face down and place your hands closer than shoulder width for a close hand position allowing thumbs and index fingers to touch. Make sure that you are holding your torso up at arms' length.

  • Diamond Pushups, Part 2

    Lower yourself until your chest almost touches the floor as you inhale. Using your triceps and some of your pectoral muscles, press your upper body back up to the starting position and squeeze your chest. Breathe out as you perform this step.

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  • Balance Plie, Part 1

    Begin with your heels together and toes pointed towards the corners of the room in a “turn out position." Lift the heels a few inches off the floor and balance keeping the knees slightly bent. You can use a chair or barre for help with balance if needed.

  • Balance Plie, Part 2

    Lower into a plie position keeping the shoulders over the hips, and hips over the heels to work the thigh muscles. Go deeper into the plie to make this exercise more challenging. Lift back to the starting position and repeat. Perform 16 reps moving slowly during the lowering phase (eccentric portion) of the exercise.

  • Lunges In Releve

    1. Begin by facing a barre or chair and place both hands on the barre for balance. Start with one leg forward aligning knee over ankle and place the other leg behind the body in lunge position. 2. Lift the front foot into a releve position, and lower into a lunge with the back leg creating a 90-degree angle. Make sure the front knee stays directly over the ankle and maintain an upright, neutral spine. 3. Work to hold this position with the front thigh parallel to the floor for a greater challenge. Work the thigh muscles by creating small pulsing movements by lifting and lowering one inch under control for 16 reps. Repeat on the other leg.

  • Plie Circles, Part 1

    Start with one hand on a chair or barre for balance. Place the feet outside of the hips and turn out the legs from the hips with toes pointing to the corners of the room.

  • Plie Circles, Part 2

    Begin by tilting the right hip to stretch the top of the right thigh and lower the hips towards the floor by circling from the right to the left. As the hips lift to the left side, work to stretch the top of the left thigh creating length in the muscle. Repeat 8 circles to the right moving slowly with control to create length in the quadriceps as the hips articulate in a circular motion. Repeat the movement to the left for 8 reps always emphasizing the tilt of the pelvis as the hips move from one side to the next.

  • Parallel Tucks, Part 1

    1. Begin with the feet hip-distance apart in parallel with toes facing forward. Lift the heels high off the floor and lower into a parallel plie maintaining shoulders over hips and hips over heels. Imagine your back is flat against a wall as you lower into the plie.

  • Parallel Tucks, Part 2

    2. Lift the right hip in the plie position to stretch the lateral (outside) portion of the thigh performing a side tuck. Stay low to generate a greater amount of resistance. Return the hips back to the center. 3. Tuck the pelvis under to stretch the top of the thighs. Release the tuck by moving the hips back to the starting position creating the neutral spine and maintaining the plie parallel position. Stay low to create more of a challenge.

  • Parallel Tucks, Part 3

    4. Now repeat the tuck to the left side by lifting the hips and repeating step #3.

  • Parallel Tucks, Part 4

    5. Finish the sequence, by repeating step #3. Repeat this entire sequence step 1-5 for 8-12 reps.

  • Lunge Tucks, Part 1

    Place the feet apart in a lunge position with the right leg in front. The front knee should align over the ankle. Lower into a lunge position and hold isometrically (holding static position). Make sure the front knee stays directly over the ankle during the lunge. Stay low in the lunge with a 90-degree angle on the back leg for greater intensity.

  • Lunge Tucks, Part 2

    Strongly tuck the pelvis under to deeply stretch the front of the back thigh (working leg) holding for 2 seconds before releasing the hips back to neutral and releasing the stretch of the back thigh. Repeat the tuck for 8 slow reps and finish the exercise with 16 quick tucks. Repeat this exercise on the left leg.

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  • Squats/Squat Jumps

    Feet hip-width apart, lower body weight down as if sitting into a chair while extending arms out in front of you, bring arms to your sides as you stand or hop back up. Repeat! <b>Works</b>: Full body

  • Mountain Climbers

    Begin in a plank with shoulders stacked over your hands, and toes tucked under, and jog your knees into your chest as you exhale to deepen the abdominal contraction. <b>Works</b>: Full body, core, abs

  • Windshield Wipers from Belly

    Lay on your belly with arms and legs extended; neck is a natural extension of your spine, move your arms and legs as if performing a jumping jack, while lengthening your limbs as much as possible. <b>Works</b>: Full back body, glutes

  • Toe Taps from Plank

    Begin in a plank with shoulders stacked over your hands and toes curled under, stepping your toes away from your body, keeping your navel drawn in towards a neutral spine. Left side first, then right! <b>Works</b>: Full left body, full right body

  • Side Plank with Pulse

    Stack left shoulder over left elbow with forearm resting on the floor. From stacked knees, or stacked or staggered feet, lift hips away from the ground so that your spine and body are straight, as if sandwiched between two walls. Hold, or add a pulse! Then repeat on your right side. <b>Works</b>: Side body left, side body right

Close Grip Push-Ups
Start in a push-up position with your hands about six inches apart and your body in a stiff plank position. Bend your elbows to slowly lower your chest to the ground and press back up until you fully extend your arms.

Variation: Try this exercise from the knees if you are a beginner, or add a weight plate or a sandbag on your back if you’re looking for an extra challenge.

Kettlebell Tricep Extension
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Brace your core and hold a kettlebell overhead with the weight hanging below the handle. With your elbows locked in position, slowly bend them to lower the kettlebell back and behind your head until you reach a 90-degree bend at the elbow joint. Contract the triceps as you push the kettlebell back up to starting position.

Variation: Try this with one kettlebell in each hand to target the triceps individually.

Dip
Grip the dip bars and start at the top position with your arms fully extended and your body perpendicular to the floor, with your shoulders pulled back and down. Bend your elbows and slowly lower yourself until your upper arms are parallel to the ground. Push yourself up by contracting your triceps and extending your elbows to 180-degrees for a full range of motion.

Variation: For an easier modification, try this move off a bench with your feet out in front of you until you can build up to a full body weight dip.

Kettlebell Hammer Curls
Grab a pair of kettlebells and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Lock up your wrists and hammer curl the kettlebells by keeping your palms facing one another. Slowly resist the kettlebells back to their starting position.
Keep your elbows tight to your sides and resist the temptation to move or raise them as you hammer curl the weight up.

Zottman Curls
Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Turn your palms up and move your dumbbell grip in towards the body. Curl the dumbbells up, pause at the top and reverse your grip so your palms are now facing down. Lower the weight to full extension and reverse your grip again.

Use dumbbells that are about 50 to 60 per cent of the weight you would normally use for standard curls in order to execute this exercise with proper technique.

Have something that needs fine tuning? Let us know in the comments below.

The new year is the time to take on new challenges, so for the month of January and beyond, The Huffington Post Canada's Living team brings you Fine Tuning: daily workouts, with tips on how to tone up, get healthy and stay fit for the whole year. Each workout will focus on one fitness goal or body part, with our favourite trainers showing you simple ways to get stronger and healthier in less than 45 minutes.

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