Tight abs and toned arms don’t necessarily require an hour a day in the gym. There are several quick and easy workouts you can do at home with nothing more than some dumbbells and an exercise ball. Plenty of rest between workouts and exercising at moderate-to-vigorous intensity are the keys to success. Within a few months you’ll be able to kiss those flabby arms and abs goodbye.
Don’t Believe the Hype
First off, don’t believe everything you see on TV. There are plenty of exercise gimmicks out there, especially for abs, but most are ineffective and expensive. A study conducted by San Diego State University tested 13 of the most popular ab workouts and found the $100-plus Ab Rocker to be the least effective of the bunch. The lesson here is to stick to tried-and-true methods for getting in shape, which in this case doesn’t require you to spend hundreds of dollars on equipment.
The primary muscles you’re targeting in your arms are the biceps, triceps, forearms and deltoids. You can hit all of these muscles with the following exercises: dumbbell biceps curls, dumbbell triceps overhead extensions, dumbbell lateral raises and pushups. Do 10 to 12 repetitions and three sets of each exercise. Use enough weight so rep number eight or nine is tough to lift. Do your arm workout once per week to start, and then increase the frequency to two or three times per week with at least one day of rest between workouts.
The previously mentioned abdominal exercise study conducted at San Diego State University measured test results in two different areas: abdominals and oblique muscles. The top-ranking abdominal exercise was the bicycle maneuver – an oldie but goodie. Exercise ball crunches came in third. The bicycle maneuver came in second in terms of working the obliques right behind the captain’s chair exercise. The best all-around exercises, according to this study, include: bicycle maneuver, exercise ball crunches, reverse crunches and vertical leg crunches. Choose two of these for your first ab workout of the week and the other two for your second workout. Do three sets of 10 to 15 reps for each exercise, focusing on good technique.
Add Cardio to the Mix
In addition to doing your weekly arm and ab workouts, add some cardio exercise to really speed up the fat-burning process. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of weekly aerobic exercise – jogging, cycling, elliptical training, brisk walking or aerobics – on your nonresistance-training days. Workout regimens combining resistance training with aerobic exercise are more effective at burning fat compared to aerobic exercise alone. So, if fast results are what you’re looking for, alternating cardio and resistance-training days is the way to go. Just don’t forget to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night, and don’t be afraid to take a day off from exercising if you have muscle soreness.
Joseph Eitel has written for a variety of respected online publications since 2006 including the Developer Shed Network and Huddle.net. He has dedicated his life to researching and writing about diet, nutrition and exercise. Eitel's health blog, PromoteHealth.info, has become an authority in the healthy-living niche. He graduated with honors from Kellogg Community College in 2010 with an Associate of Applied Science.