Sexy, sculpted arms make you feel and look great when you show them off in a sleeveless dress. To reach your goal of slender, toned arms, you might be tempted to exercise your arm muscles every day. But allowing your arm muscles time to rest is just as effective to building muscle mass as exercise.
Exercising your arm muscles and any other muscles two to three times per week for approximately 20 minutes per session is enough to build muscle mass for toned arms. As you do your arm-toning exercises, use weights heavy enough to make your muscles feel fatigued by the 12th repetition. With consistent strength training, your arm muscles will get stronger, as well as sexier and toned. When the weights you're lifting start to feel easy to lift, increase the weight by 5 to 10 percent. As eager as you are to show off shapely arms, see your doctor first to get the go-ahead.
You might think that exercising your arm muscles every day will yield faster results, but this isn't true. After exerting your arm muscles during a strength-training workout, they need time to repair and recover. When they don't get appropriate recovery time, you can develop symptoms of overtraining syndrome. Inability to sleep, lack of appetite, fatigue and injury are common symptoms of overtraining syndrome, which can sideline you from your arm-toning routine so that it takes even longer to get the arms you want.
Giving Arm Muscles a Rest
Although your arm muscles should get a day off between strength-training sessions, you can do other exercises if you prefer to work out every day. Alternate between upper-body strength training one day and lower-body training the next. Additionally, you can include your arm muscle exercises as part of a total-body strength-training workout one day, and alternate that with cardiovascular exercise on the other days. It's not a bad idea to take one day off each week from both cardio and strength training. This gives your body the opportunity to recover and rejuvenate after being so active all week.
A Balanced Plan for Slim, Toned Arms
As you exercise your arm muscles for slender, sculpted arms, it's important to know that it's not possible to spot-reduce arm flab. While resistance exercises for your arms can tone your biceps and triceps, they won't help you get rid of excess flab that jiggles when you wave goodbye. Include 150 to 300 minutes of cardio exercise in your weekly fitness plan to lose excess weight and reveal your growing muscles.
- Rice University: Overtraining Syndrome
- MayoClinic.com: Strength Training -- Get Stronger, Leaner, Healthier
- American Council on Exercise: Strength Training 101
- Shape: 9 Reasons to Skip Your Workout...Sometimes
- American Council on Exercise: Why Is the Concept of Spot Reduction Considered a Myth?
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity
Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.