With the right combination of arm exercises, you can finally show off your arms in sleeveless shirts and strapless dresses. Combine a well-rounded fitness and nutrition program with the 10 most effective arm exercises to sculpt your arms. Participate in an effective arm program two or three times a week, eat clean, and get your cardio in, and you will be shopping for arm-baring tops with confidence.
Pushups, Pullups, Planks and Dips
The great thing about body-weight exercises is that you can perform them anywhere with almost no equipment. If you are a beginner and need assistance supporting your body weight, make modifications such as dropping to your knees for pushups and planks or keeping your feet on the floor for dips. Grab a fitness ball for an extra challenge and put it under your feet for pushups, planks and dips. If you need a little help with pullups, do them on an assisted pullup machine at your local gym or with a spotter holding your feet.
Cable Rope Curls and Presses
The rope attachment for the cable machine allows your arms to move through their fullest range of motion, providing effective exercises for the front and back of the arms. For triceps, with the pulley raised high, begin with your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle and extend the ends of the rope out as you press down. Similarly train your biceps, beginning with your arms down and the pulley at a low setting, then bringing your hands out as you lift up.
Large and Small Arm Circles
Bring the gym class arm circles back to sculpt out the entire shoulder area. Because the shoulder is a ball and socket joint, taking it through its entire range of motion engages the entire deltoid muscle group. Move slowly through both large and small circles, keeping your abdominals contracted to control the core. To add intensity to your circles, try holding light weights in your hands, or circle your arms while holding a squat or a lunge.
Chest and Reverse Flyes
The extension motion of the chest and reverse flyes will stretch, lengthen and tone the entire upper body area. Lie on a bench or fitness ball for chest flyes, keeping your palms turned in and elbows soft. To perform reverse flyes, flip over onto your stomach and pull your arms back, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Use resistance such as light weights or tubing, increasing the weight or repetitions to add difficulty.
Vicki Vara has been a fitness professional for more than 15 years, working in health clubs, studios and schools. She is certified as a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, holistic nutrition consultant and Pilates instructor. Vara holds a bachelor's degree in exercise science from the University of Delaware.