Anatomy of Toned Arms

By: Charlotte Miller

In another anatomy series article, I am going to walk you through a simplified version of the anatomy of the arms, specifically the upper arms. For starters, the arm is composed of 30 bones that make up three parts: hands, forearms, and upper arm (Forro, 2020). The upper arm is connected to the shoulder joint and extends to the elbow. In this portion of the arm, the biceps and triceps are the major muscles at work. These are also the two main muscles people tend to focus on when working out. 

Upper Arm

 Figure 1. Anterior view of the upper arm including the biceps, coracobrachialis, and brachialis. Retrieved from: 

When looking at the upper arm from an anterior view (frontwards of the body), there are three main muscles seen above. The coracobrachialis, brachialis, and biceps brachii  (both short head and long head) make up the front portion of the upper arm. The three muscles are responsible for adduction of the arm (movement inwards), flexion of the arm at the shoulder and elbow, and they feed into the forearms muscles (Jones, 2020). The best exercises to work out the biceps are biceps curls and hammer curls. Get your curls on! 

Figure 2. Posterior view of the upper arm showing the location of thethreee heads of the tricep. Retrieved from 

The posterior (back) of the arm is where the tricep is located. The triceps brachii has three heads and is responsible for the extension of the arm at the elbow (Jones, 2020). The three heads of the tricep are labeled above in Figure 2, showing where they connect to the shoulder joint and elbow joint. The triceps give the arm its definition and tone when not flexed, so these are great to focus on in a workout! The best exercises for the triceps are overhead dumbbell extensions, tricep dips, skull crushers, and tricep pulses. 

I cannot discuss the arms without mentioning the ultimate full-body workout, the push-up. Push-ups can help strengthen and tone your biceps, triceps, forearms, and shoulders. Hello, arms! Next time you are in the gym or doing an at-home workout, this is a great article to reference for the best exercises to target your arms! 

Reference List:

Forro SD, Munjal A, Lowe JB. Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Arm Structure and Function. [Updated 2020 Aug 10]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from:

Jones, O. (2020, December 9). Muscles of the upper arm. Retrieved February 16, 2021, from

Moore KL, Dalley AF, Agur AM. (2013, February 13). Clinically oriented anatomy. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

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