The winter makes it easy to fall out of your workout routine, especially when many of us hibernate under loose clothing. Last week, I noticed I let myself become a victim of this winter spell as my arms had lost some of their tone. Let’s just say there was a little too much jiggle. Yikes!
With summer quickly approaching, I knew I needed a routine to help me tone up fast. Experiencing the same problem? Here are 5 quick and easy exercises so you can rock those sleeveless tanks with confidence.
Quick tip: In order to bulk up, use heavier weights and stop after 8-10 reps. For leaner muscle, use light weights and stop after 12-15 reps. I like to build lean muscle and usually use 5-8lb weights. Choose what feels best for you. Your muscles should feel fatigued at the end of your reps, but you should still be able to do more sets.
Plank: Targets: Entire Arm
Begin in the plank position, as demonstrated by the photo above. Make sure your arms are directly under your shoulders, and that you are on your toes. There should be a straight line from the top of your head to your heels, with your head relaxed and looking at the floor. Try to hold this position for thirty seconds, and gradually add ten seconds to each rep as you become stronger.
If you are feeling extra gutsy, make this move even more challenging and effective by keeping your right arm straight, and touching the right shoulder with your left hand. Lower your left hand to the floor, then to your shoulder for thirty seconds. Switch so that your left arm is straight and your right hand is alternating between the floor and your left shoulder. Bonus: Planks also build a strong core and contribute to full body toning.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, arms straight, and abs tight. Hold the dumbbells at your sides with an underhand grip and turn your palms inward so they face each other. Slowly curl the weights until they reach your shoulders, then lower to starting position. Keep your arms and elbows tight at your sides through the entire exercise.
Do both arms at the same time, or for an extra challenge, keep one arm straight out (so that it is aligned with your shoulder) and your palm facing down as you curl one side. Alternate with the other arm to complete one set.
Push Ups Targets: Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps
A classic, but effective move in quick arm toning. To begin, get in a plank position, and decide the distance you want between your hands. The closer your hands are together the more you will engage your triceps and chest, the wider apart the more you will engage your chest. Lower your torso to the ground until your elbows form a 90-degree angle. For more resistance, keep your elbows close to your side. Breathe out as you push up, and return to starting plank position. Set a repetition goal, usually somewhere from 15-25 each set. Too hard? Stay on your knees and slowly take them away as you get stronger.
Chair Dips: Targets: Triceps, Chest, and Shoulders
The rule for this exercise it to keep going till you can’t go no’ mo! Sit on the edge of the seat and place your hands behind your hips, shoulder width apart. Walk your knees forward and keep them bent, or for more resistance straighten one or both legs. Take your butt off the seat and lower your body downward. Extend your arms and raise your body upward. Make sure your butt isn’t too far from the seat of the chair or you could strain your muscles.I usually make a goal before I begin (somewhere between 20-30 reps each time).
Bicep Curl to Overhead Press: Targets: Biceps and Shoulders
Begin as if you were doing a hammer curl, but do not turn your palms in. Keeping your arms glued to your sides, raise the weights to your shoulders. Raise the weights so that they are next to your ears, and your shoulder and your elbow are in a straight line. Then, straighten your arm. Reverse the exercise so you are at the starting position demonstrated in picture one.
Want to beef this up a little more? Do it while in a squat position to target your gluts and thighs for a total body exercise.
Do this routine once through without taking a break, then repeat a second time. For quicker results and a more intense workout, do a third round. Do this two times a week and you will have sexy summer arms before it is even officially summer!