Getting toned arms is a three-step process requiring reducing excess fat and gaining lean muscle tone. Healthy eating habits help you lose fat, while cardio exercise furthers this by burning calories, Finally, strength training develops your muscle tone. The exercise can be done indoors, outdoors or at the gym but to get the fastest results work combine exercise into your everyday routine as well by taking the stairs or biking to work. With a few steps and guidelines, you will soon be inspired to break out the sleeveless shirts for the summer.
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Developing healthy eating habits is necessary to lose weight and show off the tone of your arms. Ultra-low calorie fad diets can be tempting based on their quick results but not eating enough calories in your day causes your body to go into starvation mode which lowers your metabolism. Instead read up on a healthy balanced diet and portion control. A healthy way to fuel your arm workout is to up your intake of complex carbohydrates and protein with foods such as whole-grain toast with peanut butter or yogurt and nuts as a snack.
Engage in your favorite cardio exercise to burn calories and lose fat throughout your body. To target your arms, choose a full-body machine like the elliptical, which lets you run while pumping your arms. Or swimming can get you similar full-body results with less impact on your joints making it ideal for those with limited flexibility, arthritis or are overweight. Adding just 30 to 60 minutes of exercise five days a week is enough to make a difference.
Tone the tricep muscles of your underarm with tricep dips. Sit on the edge of a weight bench or sturdy chair with your hands flat on either side of your hips. Extend your legs forward and follow with your body supporting your weight with your arms. Slowly lower your body by bending your elbows until your shoulders are parallel to your hands. Lift slowly and repeat this exercise for eight to 12 repetitions.
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Tone the front of your arms with bicep curls. Stand with your arms hanging by your side each holding a handheld weight. Slowly and with control bend your right arm drawing the weight up to your shoulder, lower and repeat on the left side. Another exercise that targets both your biceps and triceps from the same standing position with weights is to lift both arms straight out in front until they are parallel to the ground and lowering. Attempt each of these for eight 12 repetitions.
Step up your strength training with kettlebells, which provide a vigorous workout in a short amount of time. A large variety of exercises are possible with this tool, but the swing exercise works the arms, shoulders, legs and core all at once. Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart with your knees slightly bent. Hold the kettlebell with both hands between your legs and swing it in front of you to just above eye-level. Repeat this for eight to 12 repetitions.
- Practice with different weights of hand barbells and kettlebells to determine the correct weight for your strength level. You are using a proper weight when the last repetition of your set is challenging but you can get there.
- As with any exercise, recognize your body's natural limits. If you can not complete more than five repetitions of an exercise, congratulate yourself and attempt it again tomorrow.
Grace Bordelon is a public relations professional, teacher and writer. She owns her own boutique public relations firm that specializes in the advertising, gaming and software industries. She also teaches at a major design school for fine artists, commercial artists and graphic designers. Bordelon holds a B.A. in international economics and an M.A. in English from Bard College.