I’m not naturally muscular, not even close. But when I started working out regularly 15 years ago and doing weights, I found that my arms became toned and defined surprisingly quickly. And, today, while not in the league of Madonna’s (nor Michelle Obama’s, for that matter), my arms remain strong with only a couple of weight sessions a week and the occasional yoga class. The plan below will show you how to tone your arms easily.
I’m not a fitness expert, so consult a health professional before embarking on this plan. To get started, all you need are a couple of dumbbells in varying weights and an exercise bench. Do two to three sets of each exercise a few times a week, starting with 12 reps and increasing to 15.
When I started doing weights I dreaded tricep kickbacks (probably because the main exercise my triceps had received up to that point was holding a hairdryer). Now, they’re a breeze.
Start with 5 pound dumbbells and kneel on a bench with one leg on the floor, keeping your back flat and stomach tight. Lift the weight straight behind you until it’s parallel to the floor, hold for a couple of seconds and repeat. Alternate sides with each set. As you get stronger move up to 8, 10 or 12 pound weights.
As much as I used to view this exercise as my nemesis, I believe it’s helped tone my arms more than any other move.
Concentration curls are one of the best exercises to tone upper arms.
Sit on a bench or exercise ball with your legs at a 45 degree angle and your stomach tight and chest up. Start by holding an 8 or 10 pound dumbbell in one hand with your palm facing up. Rest your elbow on your inner thigh. Lift the weight toward you in a smooth, slow motion, hold for a second and then return to the original position. Repeat with opposite arm.
Dumbbell lateral raises work your deltoids and also help tone triceps.
With a straight back and tight stomach, sit on a bench or stand with legs about shoulder-width apart and hold a 5 to 10 pound dumbbell in each hand at the side of your body. Lift the dumbbells out to the side in a smooth motion until your arms are parallel with the floor while keeping elbows slightly bent and wrists in a neutral position. Return to the starting position and repeat.
Do this routine regularly and you should start to see results in a couple of months. Of course, if you enhance the routine by regularly doing pushups and yoga poses like downward dogs or the plank, your arms will get toned more quickly.
If wrist strain is a concern, wear wrist supports when lifting weights.