Try this 5-minute, no equipment mini-workout to tone your arms

Super speedy, super simple, burns like heck

Woman seated on yoga mat with arms outstretched in a T shape
(Image credit: Klaus Nielsen on Pexels)

Yoga is good for flexibility, it's often good for mental health, but it can also be a great way to tone up certain parts of your body... which then feeds back into your yoga practice by opening up stronger poses for you. This rapid 5-minute sequence is focused entirely on your arms, and designed to help tone the muscle and help you lose arm fat. 

It includes moves to strengthen your arms and wrists, as well as one designed to work your shoulder and back muscles, all of which are key for a strong yoga practice. Building forearm strength is vital for moves like plank moving into chaturanga. If you don't care about chaturanga and just want to lose your bingo wings, this will help with that too. (This sequence is all about toning up your arms, but if you want something more intense for building muscle, try this bicep and forearm workout or tricep exercises from a PT.)

Okay, so this is not, strictly speaking, actual yoga. But it has snuck its way into a yoga instructor's yoga channel, and requires no dumbbells or any of the usual home gym equipment you'd expect to need for an arm workout, and it'd be a great one to incorporate into your fitness routine to help improve your yoga practice. 

What I especially like about this sequence is that it's short and intense. You don't need to worry about being flexible or knowing complex poses or their names: you're toning up your muscles through quick repetitions of simple moves and keeping your arms under tension. This sequence can be done standing up or sat on a yoga mat, chair or the floor, so it's super easy to slot into your day whenever suits. You can even add it in at the start or end of another workout as a little booster. 

This workout comes from Boho Beautiful Yoga (opens in new tab), but if that sounds off-puttingly hippie to you, don't worry, instructor Juliana Spicoluk gets to the point quickly and there's minimal chat either side. Hop to 45s in for the workout to start. It's easiest to follow if you just watch along to the video, but if you've already done it once and want a text version to jog your memory, here's a quick rundown of the basic moves. 

Remember to keep your core 'switched on' and strong throughout. Your arms will start to burn before too long (for me, quite a bit earlier than when the instructor said they would), so try and breathe through it and make sure you're not inadvertently holding your breath. 

Arms straight:

_ Turn palms up and down, moving from the wrist x20

_ Circle forward x20

_ Circle backwards x20

_ Arms forward, then out to the side x20

Elbows bent 90 degrees (cactus arms):

_ Elbows together and back x20

_ Elbows together and pump up and down x20

_ Repeat elbows together and back x20

Arms straight:

_ Arms out to the sides, pulse up and down x40

_ Arms out to the side, then above your head, then straight in front of you (repeat x20)

_ Hold out to the sides for 10 seconds

_ Circle forward x20

_ Circle back x20

_ Pump arms forward and back x20

Stretch out

Ruth is currently on secondment as Sleep Editor for Tom's Guide and TechRadar. The role is an extension of her work on T3, where she ran the site's Wellness channel, which includes sleep, relaxation, yoga and general wellbeing. She was also Outdoors editor, reviewing and writing about everything from camping gear and hiking boots to mountain bikes, drones and paddle boards. She has tested more mattresses than her small flat can handle, and has had to implement a one-in-one-out pillow policy, for fear of getting smothered in the night.