Change Your Grip
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Your biceps are the strongest of all arm muscles and make a great curve just above the elbow. Make sure to perform bicep curls with three hand positions: palms up, palms down, and thumbs to the side. Perform 12 repetitions to the front and then 12 repetitions of each to the side.
Get on the Ball
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The stability ball will engage your core and amplify the results you get from chest exercises. It’s important to work the chest muscles when sculpting the arms to create stability for the shoulder joint. Try the single-arm chest fly on the ball: Start you’re your shoulders on the ball, hips lifted, and both hands over your chest holding light weights. Slowly lower one arm extended to the side, pause, and return to center. Perform 15 repetitions on each arm.
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Tone those arms while you’re sitting in traffic! Simply place your palms on the steering wheel at 3 and 9 and press them inward to strengthen the chest. Then, place your hands inside the wheel and press outward to tone your rear delts. Try to hold these squeezes for 10-20 seconds and repeat as often as you can. The person in the car next to you won’t even notice.
Channel Tarzan and Jane
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Swinging across the monkey bars isn’t just for kids. It’s a great way to shape up those arms. Try to climb across and back for 2-3 minutes. This works all the muscles around your shoulders. Pull-ups are always a no brainer at the park, and to really challenge yourself, try a wide grip hang for as long as you can.
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No one can argue Dara Torres has great arms. Swimming freestyle or butterfly are great exercises. But if you can’t swim (or don’t like the monotony of laps), try these exercises:
Deck press: Start in the shallow end of the pool (about 3-4′ depth) and place your hands on the side with arms bent. Press your arms straight and lift your body to hang along the edge then lower to return to the water. Try not to use your legs and jump but really focus on using your arm strength. Perform 15 repetitions.
Water fly: Standing in shoulder depth water, place your arms to side, thumbs up. Keep fingers closed together and arms straight as you push the water to bring arms closed in front of you. Turn your thumbs down and press your arms back to starting position. Perform 15 repetitions. This exercise works both chest and rear delts.
Cut the Delt
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Your deltoids surround your shoulder and have three specific muscles: anterior delt, medial, and rear. To really shape your shoulders, you must hit all three of these areas. Try your alphabet T, U, V’s to tone this area:
T raises (pictured here) hit your medial delt. Do 15 arm raises to the side and then hold the last one for 30 seconds. Lower and repeat the set.
U raises are a forward push extending the elbow overhead. Perform 40 overhead presses with light weights.
V raises are done on a bench lying face down. Start with hands together at the bottom in front of the bench and raise up to a wide position. Perform 15 repetitions and then hold the last one for 30 seconds. Lower then repeat the set.
Row, Tow, Tone Your Arms
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Rowing a boat can give you spectacular arms, but since most of us don’t have access to water (or a row boat), simulate this exercise in the gym with an Olympic bar (the long bar you use to bench press). Stand with the bar between your legs and pick up only one end. Walk backwards until your about in the middle of the bar. In a slightly bent forward position, bend your arms to bring the bar closer to your body and then extend it in a rowing motion. Perform 20 rows. For even more arm toning, start in the same position and circle the bar 10 times clockwise and then 10 times counter-clockwise as if you were stirring a big pot of soup from both an upright position and a bent over one.
Prep for Sleeveless Tops with Yoga
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Yoga is great for increasing flexibility but it also helps tone and shape your arms. The best postures: Downward dog (Adho Mukho Svanasan) and Side Plank (Vasisthasana).
Downward Dog: Start standing and bend over from the waist. Walk both hands forward until your hips are high. Press your heels into the floor and relax your shoulders. Hold for 3-5 breaths then walk hands forward to plank position.
Side Plank: From plank position, lift your right arm towards the sky, pressing into the edge of your left foot as you rotate hips and stack your feet. Hold for 3-5 breaths. Return to center plank and repeat on the other side.
Plank It on Paper
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Standard planks are a great way to strengthen your arms and core, but to really take your arm toning up a notch, place one hand on a paper plate. Keeping your arms straight (and both feet planted shoulder-width apart), circle the plate ten times clockwise and ten times counter-clockwise. Switch arms and repeat.
Say Good Bi -Cep
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Target your biceps to get sexy, sleek arms. Start sitting on a ball with hips low so that your back and the backs of your arms are supported by the ball. Perform bicep curls using a ten count up and ten count down timing. Perform as many repetitions as you can until fatigue sets in. Next, turn your arms out to the side and repeat the “targeted” slow curls.
Try New Triceps Toners
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Combine traditional triceps toners with long-extend moves like ball overhead reaches: Start with your shoulders and head on the ball, hips lifted, and hands over your chest. Bend at your elbows and slowly lower your hands back over your head (until your arms form a 90-degree angle). Pause and return to start. Beginners can push hands together while advanced may keep arms apart. Perform 15-20 repetitions, holding the last lift for 10 seconds at 45 degrees.
Part two: From the final 45-degree position, bend and extend your arms for a traditional triceps extension. Perform 15 repetitions and then bring hands back to chest. Repeat the set.
Sit Down to Tone Up
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Sitting on a Swiss ball strengthens your core and improves posture. Try these simple moves to tone your triceps and shoulders while you boost core strength and balance:
Seated ball triceps: Sit tall on the ball with your arms overhead. Beginners may place hands together, while advanced can keep arms apart. Bending at the elbows, reach behind your head and extend back to the top. Perform 20-30 repetitions with light weights.
Mini lift: Start sitting on the ball with your arms extending at chest height. Your hands should be together, back of wrists touching and thumbs pointing down. Lift arms from chest to eye height for 20-30 repetitions with light weights, keeping your shoulders relaxed and down the entire time.
Stay Lean with Cardio
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Burning calories is key to having a sleek, toned body. Walking on an incline of ten percent or more can be intense, but try leaning forward and holding on to the handrails to incorporate an arm workout in your 30-45 minute trek.
Remember the Small Stuff
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Your rotator cuff muscles may be small, but they’re still an important part of stabilizing and shaping your shoulders. Try seated external rotation with tubing or free weights twice a week to tone and prevent injuries. Start sitting with your arm bent in a 90-degree angle to the side, upper arm parallel to the ground. Without changing the bend in your arm, slowly lower the weight forward to 90 degrees and return to top. Perform 12-15 repetitions with light weights and repeat on the other side.
Don’t Forget to Stretch
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Resistance training is great for building strength, but stretching is essential for keeping your joints moving freely. Stretch your triceps by reaching one arm up and then behind your head, aiming for the middle of your back. Gently press on the elbow with the other hand and hold for 10-30 seconds and repeat on the other side. Another great stretch:
Side neck stretch: Lean your right ear to your right shoulder, pressing with the right hand on the top of your head. Keep left shoulder down by reaching toward the ground. Hold for 10-30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Travel with the Band
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You can get an amazing workout with a resistance band, and it fits into any suitcase! Use this quick workout when you’re on the road to keep those arms tight and toned:
Side tricep press: Start with the band across your chest with arms bent. Squeeze your shoulder blades together to keep your arms in place and extend one arm out to the side. Return to center. Perform 15-20 repetitions on the right and then repeat on the left.
Wide Ts: Hold one end of the resistance band in each hand and extend your arms at shoulder height in front of you. Squeezing from the upper middle back open both arms out to the side, forming a T with your body. Hold for 10 seconds and slowly return to center. Perform 12-15 repetitions.
Arm raises: Start with tubing secured by your left hip with your right hand and slowly raise left hand forward to shoulder height. Hold for 10 seconds and slowly return to center. Perform 12-15 repetitions.
Circle Up the Shoulder
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Release the muscles surrounding your shoulder to help relieve sore muscles and neck pain. Hold a medium weight in your right hand in a forward bend position supported by the left arm. Relax the shoulders and slowly circle the weight from big to smaller circles. Repeat in the opposite direction from small circles to bigger. Repeat on the other side.
Do Pilates for Perfect Posture
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Standing Pilates moves are great for your posture. They’re best done with resistance bands or tubing, but you’ll still benefit without equipment.
Pilates pulses: Start with tubing in front of chest and one arm stationary. Extend the other arm out to the side and do 20 pulses with each of the following hand positions. Palm down, palm up, and thumb up. Keeping your arms extended with tall Pilates posture the entire time.
Embrace Kettlebell Training
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Kettlebell training uses acceleration and deceleration to generate more muscle tone faster. The swinging motion should always be controlled for safety and better muscle building. Try this cross curtsy row, which works the arms and lower body in one smooth step: Holding the kettlebell in your left hand, step back into a curtsy with your left leg and reach across and down with left hand. Stand back up with left foot to side and pull the kettlebell up and across the body. Perform 20 repetitions on each side.
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Sitting at your desk all day can be an opportunity to tone those arms. Keeping your legs lifted, roll your chair towards and away from your desk. This helps tone the lats and biceps, which surround the shoulder. Or pick up your laptop and raise it up and to the side. This targets the delts and obliques-a two-for-one exercise. Perform 20 lifts to each corner.