The 3 Weeks Arm-Sculpting Challenge

Everyone has their own reasons for wanting strong, defined arms; we're here to help. After following this 21-day arm plan, not only will your arms look toned — you'll also be stronger. First things first: don't worry if you've never lifted a dumbbell in your life. This arm challenge was designed with everyone in mind — whether it's your first time working out or you're at the gym on a daily basis.

Getting started: The challenge consists of five basic exercises that help to target all the areas of your arms. Over the course of the challenge, you will increase the number of reps you're doing of each exercise, eventually working up to three sets of 15 reps for each exercise.

Below is an explanation of how to do each of the five exercises, followed by the plan itself. Choosing the appropriate size weight is key here — you want one that fatigues your muscles by the end of the three sets.

If the challenge ever feels too easy, that's your cue to increase the weight of the dumbbells (and if you find you are fatiguing too early, decrease the weight amount).

Beginners should start the plan with five-pound weights, and for you more-experienced lifters, make this challenge work for you by grabbing a heavier set.

 Bicep Curls 


  • Start by holding a dumbbell in each hand at the sides of the body.
  • Keeping your elbows close to your side, slowly raise the dumbbells to the chest.
  • Moving with control, lower back to the starting position. 
  • This counts as one rep.

Upright Row  

  • Place a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing your body, shoulders over the pelvis, and a slight bend in the knees.
  • Keeping the dumbbells close to your body, raise them to your shoulders, bending your elbows out to the sides. Slowly lower them to the starting position.
  • This counts as one rep.

Triceps Kickbacks  

  • Holding a dumbbell in each hand, hinge forward from your hips, bending the knees slightly. Bend your elbows behind you.
  • Straighten your arms behind you with your palms facing in. Your arms should be parallel to the floor. Squeeze your triceps, and then return to the starting position.
  • This counts as one rep.

 Overhead Shoulder Press 


  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand just above the shoulders, palms facing in.
  • Straighten the arms above you.
  • Bend the elbows coming back to the starting position to complete one rep.

Bent-Over Reverse Fly  

  • Holding a dumbbell in each hand with your closed palms facing out, stand with the knees slightly bent. Keeping your back flat, bend forward at the hip joint. 
  • Lift both arms to the sides, maintaining a slight bend in the elbows, and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Then, with control, lower the dumbbells back together. 
  • This completes one rep.

The 3-Week Plan

Choose an appropriate size dumbbell (three to eight pounds) and follow the plan below. Every other day is a rest day to give your muscles a chance to rebuild and become stronger.
Day of Month Number of Reps
Day 1 8 reps of each (3x)
Day 2 Rest
Day 3 8 reps of each (3x)
Day 4 Rest
Day 5 10 reps of each (3x)
Day 6 Rest
Day 7 10 reps of each (3x)
Day 8 Rest
Day 9 12 reps of each (3x)
Day 10 Rest
Day 11 12 reps of each (3x)
Day 12 Rest
Day 13 14 reps of each (3x)
Day 14 Rest
Day 15 14 reps of each (3x)
Day 16 Rest
Day 17 15 reps of each (3x)
Day 18 Rest
Day 19 15 reps of each (3x)
Day 20 Rest
Day 21 15 reps of each (3x


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