Flabby arms can be embarrassing, particularly in the summer months when wearing long sleeves to cover up arm flab isn't practical. But you don't have to go through life worrying that your arms look like flopping bat wings when you move them. Toning the arms is relatively simple and only requires a few minutes of exercise each day. By following a healthy routine and using proper form, you can maximize your fitness benefits.
Importance of Cardio
Many people hate the idea of running to get in good physical shape, but this doesn't change the fact that cardiovascular exercise is the fastest, most effective method for burning calories and shedding fat. If your arms are flabby rather than just untoned, you'll need to do cardio, and you should be performing this heart-protecting form of exercise most days each week anyway. However, you don't have to run to reap the benefits of cardiovascular exercise. There are many other options, including step aerobics, jumping rope, cycling, walking and jumping on a trampoline. Cardio that works your arms, such as jumping rope, is an ideal choice.
Importance of Stretching
Stretching before working out helps to get your muscles ready to do some work. Stretching also burns calories, so it can increase the effectiveness of your workout. Perhaps most importantly, though, stretching will decrease your risk of injury, which means working out your arms doesn't have to cause shoulder, back or neck pain. Simple stretches such as extending your arm straight then bending it over your head or bending your elbows and pushing them toward one another at your back are highly effective.
Toning with Sports
Although many people envision a gym membership or weights as necessary prerequisites for toning the arms, you don't have to do rep after rep to get toned arms. If you hate working out by yourself, try participating in an arm-strengthening sport such as archery, tennis or basketball. You'll need to play several times a week to maximize your benefits, but by using a sport to work out, you can decrease your frustration and gain toned arms while having fun.
Targeted toning is the traditional method for toning arms because, in conjunction with regular cardio, it works. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that people get strength training at least twice a week, and if you want powerful-looking arms, you should train even more frequently. Workouts such as pushups, pullups and weightlifting can all help to tone your arms. Start slowly with a small number of reps or a low weight, then gradually increase the difficulty of the exercise as you gain strength.
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.