When your arms are flabbier than you'd like, get yourself a set of dumbbells. These simple and inexpensive pieces of equipment can help you tone up your jiggly arms, and don't require you to head to the gym to do it. By incorporating sets of 5-pound dumbbell exercises into your regular fitness routine, you can work to get slimmer arms over time.
Some of the most common dumbbell arm exercises involve the curl motion, in the form of the biceps curl, hammer curl and wrist curl. Perform the biceps curl by standing with the dumbbells resting by your sides, with your wrists facing outward. Then slowly and carefully lift the dumbbells to touch your shoulders, and slowly lower them back down. For the hammer curl, do a slight variation on the exercise by starting with your palms facing toward your hips. With your hands facing inward, raise and lower the dumbbells in the same way as the biceps curl. Do the wrist curl by sitting on a bench with your lower arms resting on a table or stability bench over your legs. Allow your wrists to hang over the front of the table, and then lower and raise your hands in as much range of motion as you can.
Presses are also popular exercises that you can do with a set of 5-pound dumbbells. Start with the bench press. Lie on your back on a bench -- or an ottoman if you don't have a bench -- with your feet flat on the floor. Hold the dumbbells facing up, at shoulder height, and then press them upward until your arms are straight up and perpendicular to your body. Also do the seated dumbbell press by sitting on a chair with your back resting against the back. Start with your arms in a "goalpost" position, with your upper arms perpendicular from your trunk and elbows bent so your upper arms are pointed upward. Then press the dumbbells upward until your arms are straight up above your head.
Adding kickbacks to your routine will help with the under-arm jiggle that plagues so many women. Stand with a dumbbell in one hand and your arms at your sides, and then step forward with one foot so the foot is about 1 foot ahead of the other. Lean forward and allow the arm holding the dumbbell to push out and back, so the arm is parallel with the floor. Bend that elbow and touch the dumbbell to your shoulder, then return to the starting position with your arm parallel to the floor.
Perform each of these exercises 10 to 12 times, take a break for about 30 to 60 seconds, and then do a second set. After a couple of weeks, increase the intensity of your workout by adding a third set, or by increasing the number of repetitions you do in each set. Be sure to give your arms at least a day of rest in between lifting sessions, to give your muscles time to recuperate and generate new muscle tissue. Also keep in mind that strength training can help you build muscle, but you'll need to incorporate regular cardiovascular exercises such as running, walking or cycling in order to burn the calories needed to lose fat.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.