The quest for arm-toning workouts may lead you to an arm cycle. This upper-body bicycle provides a cardiovascular workout that uses fat for fuel. As you quickly spin the pedals with your arms, your muscles tighten and tone in response. You may not cycle along your favorite outdoor route, but you will be closer to your toning goal.
Upper Body Cycling
An arm cycle is a stationary exercise machine. It is also known as an arm ergometer or an upper body ergometer, UBE. Some machines are large and have attached seats, adjustable heights and variable resistances. Others are small, with only two pedals and a stand that rest on a table or counter. You may find an arm cycle at a fitness center, or purchase the smaller ones for at-home use.
Fat for Fuel
The way to see and feel toned arms is to remove fat and build muscle. According to the American Council on Exercise, an arm cycling workout burns approximately nine calories per minute, when you exercise at a heart rate greater than 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. To determine your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220. Multiply the result by 0.70 to calculate the heart rate you need to stay above. While you can't tell your body which areas to burn fat, you will burn fat from all over, including your arms.
As you push and pull on the pedals of the arm cycle, your muscles contract, which improves your tone. According to the "European Journal of Applied Physiology," arm cycling uses your triceps, biceps and deltoids. As your elbow flexes and extends, your biceps and triceps contract. With repeated contractions, the muscle responds with improved strength and tone.
A Wise Workout
Your arm cycling workout needs to be a minimum of 15 minutes to alter your arms. After a five minute warm-up of low to moderate paced cycling, increase your pedaling speed to a level that elevates your heart rate into your training range. Remain at this level for at least 15 minutes, and gradually increase your duration so you are able to cycle for 20 to 30 minutes. If the machine allows, vary your motions forward and backward to change the target on your arms. Finish your workout with a five minute cool-down at a slower pace.
A mother of two and passionate fitness presenter, Lisa M. Wolfe had her first fitness article published in 2001. She is the author of six fitness books and holds an Associate of Arts in exercise science from Oakland Community College. When not writing, Wolfe is hula-hooping, kayaking, walking or cycling.