Losing weight and getting in decent shape is one thing, but toning up the arms is often a very tough challenge for women. Getting your arms ready to show off in an evening dress or even a swimsuit doesn’t have to be as tough as you think, though. If you’re like many women, you’ve tried and tried and nothing has seemed to work in the past. You can run till you drop and tone your entire body, but your arms (especially the top under-arms) just laugh at you. If that sounds familiar, don’t fret… here are some simple moves that will help you finally conquer the mystery of toning up those arms.
When you think about toning your arms, you probably don’t think about running, aerobics or swimming. But all of these can help… anything that gets you moving and gets your cardio going. Cardiovascular exercise is an important part of any muscle-toning you want to do. Simply targeting one area and only working that area will not give you the results that you’re looking for. So before we get into arm-specific moves, we want to emphasize that you have to include cardio workouts into your routine regularly. Aim for five hours of cardio each and every week. We’re not saying you have to dedicate a full hour five times per day, either. You can split this five hours up however you like, but just be sure to shoot for getting in a full five hours throughout the week.
Like we said, you don’t want to focus on just one muscle or area that you want to tone. So as you do these, remember that on some days you should be focusing on other areas, too. The more muscle you build through strength training, the more calories you’ll burn naturally. Building muscle increases your metabolism, which is a great way to get passive calorie-burning going on.
To begin with, you’ll need a couple of dumbbells. Using two small ones is better than one big one, because you can control your movements more precisely, but either will work. If you have one big one and can’t get two little ones right now, then start with that until you’re able to get two small ones.
Rear-Facing Arm Lifts
Get your dumbbells out and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Stretch out your arms behind you with your hand sitting slightly behind your upper thighs. Of course, if you’re using two dumbbells, you’ll have one in each hand and if you’re using a single one then you’ll be holding it with both hands.
Lift the dumbbell(s) up until it starts to become uncomfortable – don’t go past that or you will risk getting hurt. Keeping your arms straight, lower them back down slowly and repeat the lift.
For this one, you really need two small dumbbells since you’ll be doing them both at the same time and one large one may be too heavy to do for single arm lifts. Put one dumbbell in each hand and let your arms relax by your sides. Slowly lift your arms straight out to the sides until they get to shoulder height. Lower them and keep doing the lifts. Lifting them shoulder height shouldn’t be painful. If it is, then it’s likely that your weights are too heavy.
Remember at the beginning when we talked about the underside of the upper arms often being the toughest to tame? Those areas that sag are often referred to as saddlebags. This exercise is a great way to get rid of them and tone that area. Unlike the sidearm lifts, where two small dumbbells are pretty much required, you can do this one with two small ones or one larger one.
Put your arms straight up. Now bend them at the elbows to bring your hands down behind your head holding the dumbbells. Lift ‘em straight up above your head slowly, lower and repeat. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t do many of these, as it’s a more advanced lift than the others. Just do what’s comfortable and over time you’ll be able to add more.