Get Stronger, Sexier Arms
Don’t spend the fall and winter months hiding in long sleeves. Exercise your right to bare toned arms! The key to stronger, sexier arms is developing more lean muscle and reducing your overall body fat.
Fitness expert and certified personal trainer Jessica Smith developed this toned arms exercise plan, which can be done up to four non-consecutive days per week, with 30-60 minutes of your favorite cardio activity on off days. For best results, try eliminating 500 excess calories from your daily diet using any of these simple calorie-cutting strategies.
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Arm Toner #1: V Plie Raise
Targets: arms, shoulders, upper back and legs
This move not only sculpts your shoulders, it also targets your upper back (to help you look killer in that strapless dress) too. The addition of the plie squat engages your lower body muscles, and more muscles worked at once mean more calories burned, all leading to faster fat loss.
Holding onto your weights, start standing with your feet positioned about three feet apart, with your knees and toes pointing out about 45 degrees. Extend your arms down in front of your thighs, palms facing in [as shown in photo A]. Lower into a plie position by bending your knees, pointing them out straight over your toes, as you raise both arms overhead into a wide ‘V’ position [as shown in photo B]. Slowly lower arms as you stand back up out of your plie, returning to start.
Arm Toner #2: Triceps Kickbacks
Targets: Triceps, back
Get rid of arm flab with this triceps-targeted move, and you’ll also work the muscles that line your spine in your back to help improve posture, all of which can lead to a slimmer appearance.
Start standing with your feet hip width apart, knees slightly bent, with a weight in each hand. Bend your elbows by your sides, pulling your arms to the outsides of your ribcage. Hinge forward from your hips, keeping your spine straight, and bring your body forward at a 45-degree angle [as shown in photo A]. Extend your arms behind you, turning your palms up to the ceiling as you extend your elbows s [as shown in photo B]. Bend arms back in by sides and then repeat.
Arm Toner #3: Biceps Curl and Front Press
Targets: biceps, shoulders
This two-in-one toner hits the front of your arms and shoulders and develops the functional upper body strength you need to lift and carry heavy objects (like your child or heavy purse) around during your busy day.
Start standing with your feet hip width apart, knees slightly bent, arms by your sides with a weight in each hand. Bend your elbows and curl the weights in towards your body, turning your palms up as you lift [as shown in photo A]. Next, extend your arms out in front of your chest, turning your palms down as you reach [as shown in photo B]. Bend your arms back into your curl position, and then lower arms back down to your start position.
Arm Toner #4: 90-Degree Raise
Toned arms start with strong shoulders. This move helps strengthen the shoulder muscles from the inside out, building a strong foundation for your upper body strength.
With your weights in hand, arms by your sides, stand with feet hip width apart [as shown in photo A]. Raise your left arm up directly in front of your shoulder, and your right arm up to the side of your shoulder (your arms should be fully extended at about a 90-degree angle), palms facing down [as shown in photo B]. Lower both arms down by your sides, and then repeat, switching sides (lift the right arm in front, left arm to the side). Repeat 15 times in total, changing sides each time..
Arm Toner #5: Standing Shoulder Fly
Targets: shoulders, chest, biceps
Work multiple muscles -- including the ‘cleavage’ muscles in your chest -- with this move.
Start standing with your feet hip width, knees slightly bent and weight in each hand. Bend elbows about 90 degrees, and raise both arms out to the sides (your arms should resemble a goal post in this position), brace your abs in tight [as shown in photo A]. Maintaining the 90-degree angle with your elbows, bring your arms together in front of your chest, without letting your elbows drop below shoulder level [as shown in photo B]. Open arms back out to sides and then repeat.
Arm Toner #6: Reverse Curl & Side Press
Targets: biceps, forearms, shoulders
You’ll hit the biceps and shoulder with this move, and the position of your hands during this exercise also helps to develop the often-neglected (but important) muscles in your wrist and forearms.
Start seated with legs crossed, with a weight in each hand, spine straight. With your palms facing down, bend both elbows and curl weights in closer to your sides [as shown in photo A]. Next, extend both arms out to the sides at shoulder height, palms still facing down [as shown in photo B]. Return your arms to the curl position and then lower weights to the floor and return to start.
Arm Toner #7: Kneeling Plank Ups
Targets: triceps, abs
This exercise is an effective alternative to the sometimes wrist-straining tricep dips exercise -- and you won’t need any extra weight to challenge your arms with this move.
Begin kneeling on all fours on the ground. Position your hands directly under your shoulders, and bring your knees together under your hips [as shown in photo A]. Next, bend both elbows and lower them to the floor, keeping your abs braced in tight and your back straight [as shown in photo B]. Press your body back up to your start position. Be careful not to rock your weight forward and back during the movement -- lower your body straight and down and up for maximum triceps toning.
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