Contrary to everything you’re seeing outside your window, warm weather is on the horizon and so is sleeveless season. You may have been able to pile yourself in layers of cashmere and Canada Goose since October, but sooner or later the layers come off and your arms become exposed to sunlight for the first time in months. These six moves will sculpt your arms in time for summer, and you’ll thank me when you looked toned AF in a few short weeks. You can incorporate this arm workout into your own workout, or you can do each one after the other and repeat another 2-3 times as a circuit.
1. Dumbbell Curl To Press
The curl to press refers to two exercises placed in one movement, which include the bicep curl and the shoulder press. Both are relatively simple, but by working your bicep and shoulders in one movement, you’re toning the front of your arm and the top of it, so it’s basically a two-in-one arm workout. Start by standing up, holding a dumbbell in each hand, and first make sure you can do both exercises with the weight you’re choosing. I’d recommend anywhere from 8-12 pounds, maybe 15 if you’re a boss. With the dumbbells hanging next to your thighs, keep your elbow tucked in and your chest up as you curl the weight up until it reaches shoulder height. Then, press it upwards until your arms are fully extended above your head. The curl and press together is one rep. Do 10 of these, and remember to stand straight without locking your knees.
2. Tricep Dips
I recently did these in Krystal from The Bachelor’s workout, and honestly it reminded me how killer of an arm workout tricep dips can be if you’re doing them right. Tricep dips use your body weight to tone your arms, and all you need is some sort of bench to sit on. You’ll need to position your hands about shoulder-width apart on the bench, and slide your butt off the bench with your legs extended in front of you (bent or straight, depending on your stability). Then, bend your arms to bring your butt toward the floor and hold for a second at the bottom. Straighten your arms to bring your butt back up, and continue up and down for the entire interval. Remember to keep your neck forward and make sure your butt is only a few inches from the bench.
3. Diamond Push-Ups
Diamond push-ups are also known as a closed-grip push-up or tricep push-ups, and they’re pretty tough. If you need to do these from your knees, go for it. The idea here is to do a push-up, but instead of placing your hands outward, you’ll keep them in a diamond shape on the ground in front of you, directly under your chest. Touch your pointer fingers and thumbs together on the ground and extend your arms straight. Then, while keeping your back straight, allow your elbows to bend, lowering your chest to the ground. Press back up to full arm extension, and that’s one rep. Aim for 8-10 of these.
4. Rear Delt Fly
If you’re wondering WTF a rear delt is, it’s referring to the rear of your deltoid, aka the back of your arm/shoulder area. Most people do these in a bent over position to hit the muscles in their back with the movement, but you can also do them standing up to just work your shoulders. Hold two LIGHT dumbbells (think 3-8 pounds) and bend slightly at your waist. Then, keeping your torso still and your arms slightly bent, lift the weights out toward the sides of your body, keeping your arms parallel to the floor. Hold for a second at the top and then bring the weights back down. Since these are a lighter and slightly faster movement, try doing 12 reps.
Plank-ups are great because they function as both an arm workout and an ab workout in one exercise. Kind of a game-changer. Start in a high plank with your arms on the floor directly under your shoulders. Then, bend one arm to bring your elbow to the floor, and then the other arm, ending up in a forearm plank. Then, push each arm up to the starting position, and continue going up and down from hand to forearm for 45 seconds. Remember to keep your core tight and your hips square while going up and down with your arms. You may need to spread your feet out wider than you would in a typical plank.
6. Battle Ropes
Battle ropes are one of those exercises that you see fitness people do on Instagram, roll your eyes, and keep scrolling. BUT, they’re low-key not that hard to figure out and they’re amazing for giving you a killer arm workout while getting your heart rate up. If your gym has battle ropes, take advantage. Play around with different movements, holding one rope in each hand or holding on with both hands. Make waves with your arms while keeping your elbows tight to your body and keeping your legs slightly bent. Try doing these in 30 second intervals. Your arms will get tired super fast, but try to fight through it. You’ll thank me when your arms look phenom in every top this season.
Images: Bruce Mars /Pexels; Giphy (5); Tumblr (1)
You can probably get away with covering up your stomach and legs for the next few months, but everyone still goes sleeveless in the winter, so your arms obviously need to look
their best decent. Arm flab isn’t exactly flattering, and the two-minute segment mid-spin class doesn’t count as a legit arm workout. We’ve created a workout that you can do without any gym equipment, so you can literally get amazing arms by staying in your apartment all winter. Do each of these moves for 45 seconds and repeat the circuit 3-4 times total. You’ll thank us when you don’t have to force the skinny-arm pose to look good in pictures.
1. Plank Shoulder Taps
We’re starting the workout off with plank shoulder taps, because they activate your core while getting your arms warmed up and toning your upper arms. The idea is to start in a plank position on your hands, and make sure your hips and shoulders stay square to the ground the whole time. Widen your feet if you need to. You want to avoid lifting your hips and swaying your torso from side to side. Then, lift your right hand off the floor and tap your left shoulder. Alternate between both arms for the full 45 seconds, and try to keep your body as still as possible the whole time.
2. Tricep Dips
Your triceps are the muscles that make your arms look super toned, and you don’t need any dumbbells or cable machines to strengthen them. Tricep dips use your body weight to tone your arms, and all you need is some sort of bench to sit on. You’ll need to position your hands about shoulder-width apart on the bench, and slide your butt off the bench with your legs extended in front of you (bent or straight, depending on your stability). Then, bend your arms to bring your butt toward the floor and hold for a second at the bottom. Straighten your arms to bring your butt back up, and continue up and down for the entire interval. Remember to keep your neck forward and make sure your butt is only a few inches from the bench.
3. Plank Ups
Some people call these up-down planks, but there’s really no technical term for it, because it’s basically a made-up move that helps strengthen your core, tone your arms, and improve your balance. It’s basically a combo move of a plank and a shoulder exercise, and it’s harder than it looks. Start in an elbow plank with your forearms on the floor and your core tight. Then, lift your right arm and place your hand on the floor, followed by your left. Once you have both hands on the floor, lower one arm back to its forearm and then the other one. Keep going up and down while staying in your plank the entire time.
4. Inverted Row
You don’t need any real equipment for this move, but you’ll need some sort of bar to hold onto and pull yourself up, so it may be harder to find if you’re at home. If you’re in the gym, any sort of pull-up bar or barbell will work. The idea is to hold onto the bar and lean backwards, using your body weight to row yourself up toward the bar. The lower you lean back, the harder it will be, so adjust based on how experienced you are. You want to isolate your arm and back muscles in this movement, so the rest of your body should be completely still. If you’re not in a gym and can’t do this move, you can substitute with a forearm plank or side planks. A little extra ab work won’t kill you.
5. Diamond Push-Ups
Diamond push-ups are basically regular push-ups with your hand in a diamond shape, which helps work your tricep muscles instead of your chest muscles. They’re a little harder than you’d think, so feel free to drop to your knees to make it easier. Starting on the ground, make a triangle with your hands and place them in front of you. Then, lower yourself down to the ground, getting as low as you can go by using only your upper body and your triceps. Then, push back up and start again. The idea here is to get full range of motion, so go slowly and work on getting your chest as close to the ground as you can.
6. Mountain Climbers
We love mountain climbers, because they basically kill three birds with one stone. It’s a cardio move, and it also involves your arms and abs, so you get to burn calories while toning your upper body. It’s a win-win (win). Start in a plank position with your hands on the ground and make sure your wrists are directly underneath your shoulders. Then, “climb” your knees into your chest one leg at a time, and get faster as the 45 seconds goes on. Make sure to keep your core tight and don’t let your hands be two feet in front of you. Cheat yourself and end up with flabby arms. Your choice.