When summer gets here, you want to make sure you have the perfect biceps and triceps to go with that bathing suit, tank top, sundress or formal gown. Starting a new arm toning routine now will help you shape and tone those guns by the time warm weather arrives.
Picking Out Exercises
Similar to the calves and abs, the biceps and triceps are also small muscle groups, so exercisers can hit them directly and indirectly twice a week to see results. The biceps are indirectly trained when you do back exercises, whereas the triceps feel the burn during chest and shoulder workouts. In addition to this indirect workout, you also want to directly target the biceps and triceps at least once a week. Barbell curls, reverse barbell curls, hammer curls, V grip cable pushdowns, incline bench dumbbell curls and preacher curls are good bicep workouts. For the triceps, try hanging dips, skull crushers, dumbbell tricep extensions, tricep pushdowns and close-grip bench presses.
Change It Up
There are many routines and methods out there to strengthen, tone and develop your biceps and triceps. People respond differently to each workout, so try a few to find out which combination suits you. But as with any exercise, variety is key. You don’t want to do the same routine over and over -- your body will get used to the exercise and stop responding. Variety not only applies to exercises, but also to reps, amount of weight and the intensity of your exercises.
Another important aspect of training and working not only your arms but any part of your body is proper warmup. You don’t want to hop right into your workout routine without first waking up your muscles in a way that is mimicking the workout routine you are about to do. For instance, if you’re working your biceps and triceps, start with your hand to your side, then bend your elbow raising your fist to your shoulder. Then rotate your shoulder to lift your elbow above your head, and finish by straightening out your arm over your head. Lower your arm back to your side, and repeat three to five times. Then grab a dumbbell and go.
It's All Mental
And lastly, don’t forget attitude. You not only want to keep variety in your routine to stimulate your muscles, but also to stimulate you. If you get used to a workout, it will get boring, and you will be less likely to continue or give it all you’ve got while you’re exercising. Keep your routine fresh, and keep your attitude fresh, too. Show up to your workout determined and ready to work and reap the benefits. And it never hurts to bring your iPod with some music to keep you pumped.
Dorothy Stephenson is a writer with experience in travel, health, nutrition, equine science, real estate, history, green living, fitness and agriculture. She has written for publications such as "EQUUS," "American Farrier’s Journal," "Today’s Diet and Nutrition," "Military Officer" and "The Washington Examiner."