Getting the toned, sexy arms you see on the covers of magazines doesn’t have to take hours of blood, sweat and tears each week. If you divide your arm workout into a four-day split, you can exercise all of the major muscles of your arms in just 10 or 15 minutes a day using nothing more than a set of dumbbells. Stay safe and use weights you feel comfortable with, but are still heavy enough to promote a little muscle burn about three-quarters of the way through each set.
Muscles to Target
There are many different muscles in your arms, but you don’t need to be an expert in physiology to know which ones to target in your workouts. The key largest and most critical muscles to target include the deltoids, biceps, triceps and forearms. Other muscles, particularly those in the shoulder area, also play a part in helping to sculpt the arms, and this four-day dumbbell workout will touch on those muscles as well.
The first and third days of the weekly workouts will focus on deltoids and biceps, and the second and fourth days of the workout regimen will target the triceps and forearms. Choose one or two exercises for each muscle for a total of five or six sets; 10 to 15 repetitions per set is an ideal target. This routine allows for a day of rest for each muscle group between workouts. Rest is crucial for building strength and muscle, which is why you shouldn’t exercise the same muscle two days in a row.
An effective deltoid dumbbell exercise is to lift and lower the dumbbells at your sides while keeping your arms straight, almost like a bird flapping wings, but in a slow and controlled motion. Hit the front part of the deltoids by doing the same thing but to the front of your body. Biceps curls are an easy and effective workout you can do with dumbbells. Work the triceps by lying flat on a bench or floor with both dumbbells held straight above your head; lower the weights behind your head bending only at the elbow. Dumbbell wrist curls – extensions and flexions -- exercise all of the muscles in the forearm. This movement is similar to a biceps curl but you’re only flexing the wrist while holding the dumbbell. Turn your wrists over to work the forearm muscles on the top of your arm.
Mix It Up
Change up your exercises from time to time to keep the workouts from getting boring and also to keep your body from getting accustomed to the same old routine. Other exercises for working the deltoids include the dumbbell shoulder press and bent-over rows. You can exercise the deltoids and triceps at the same time using the dumbbell bench press. The narrow-grip dumbbell bench press helps exercise the triceps. Don’t be afraid to try new exercises; just be sure to focus on using proper form.
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.