Want to stop hiding your arms under draped tops? Then you'll need to tone your once-neglected biceps and triceps. Your triceps run along the backside of your upper arm, extending from shoulder to elbow, while your biceps make up the front portion.
Slash the sag by taking up strength training exercises that work these specific muscle groups—they're the same muscles used for lifting a child or heavy object. Don't forget to give yourself 24 to 48 hours to recuperate after a particularly intensive workout. (Want a kickbutt workout? Personal training sessions with a professional can zero in your weak points.)
If you prefer to exercise while sitting on your bum, then you'll love weight training. Weight training doesn't just increase muscle mass; it also torches calories both during a workout and for up to two hours after you've ditched the dumbbell. But where to start?
Step one: Pick a weight. Choose one that allows you to complete eight to 12 repetitions with exertion (but not too much strain). Complete two to three sets of each exercise.
Sit on a backless bench or stand with your feet spread shoulder-width apart. Grasp the dumbbells with your palms facing forward, and hold your arms straight down at your sides. Bend from the elbow and curl the dumbbells upwards until the weights are level with your shoulders. Slowly lower your arms to the starting position. Keep your knees slightly bent throughout the entire movement if you're curling from a standing position.
While lying on a flat bench, hold dumbbells above your shoulders with your arms slightly bent and perpendicular to the bench. Bend at the elbows and bring dumbbells to your chest (your palms should facing each other). Without moving the upper arms, slowly press the weights upwards so they are again directly over shoulders.
One-Arm Kettlebell Clean
The kettlebell can tone several muscles in your arms at once—not to mention make a difference for your legs, butt and core. One-arm kettlebell cleans are particularly beneficial for your biceps.
To complete this tricky exercise, place the kettlebell between your feet. Bend down and grab the handlebar with your right hand. Keeping your gaze straight ahead, swing the kettlebell slightly back between your legs (like hiking a football), and then quickly reverse the direction of the weight and pull it straight up to waist-level.
From a standing position, alter your grip and hold the kettlebell like a suitcase. Hoist the weight to shoulder level. Repeat on the left side.
Stuck in the hotel room? When you don't have 24-hour access to a gym or personal free-weights, use your own body weight to perform arm-strengthening exercises.
One of the most basic exercises, the pushup can tighten the muscles of the upper arm. To perform the perfect pushup, begin in plank position with your hands beneath—though slightly outside of—your shoulders. Keep elbows at a 45-degree angle to your sides as you lower down. After a brief pause, push back up to plank. Pointer: Don't let your hips sag.
Sit at the edge of a bench, chair or exercise step, and position your hands shoulder-width apart. With your legs bent and feet hip-width apart, lift your body off the seat and begin to slowly dip down towards the floor. Bend your elbows to about 90-degrees, or whatever feels comfortable. When you reach the bottom of the dip, press back up slowly until you're back to where you started. Don't lock your arms.
Sign Up for Classes
If weight-training bores you, then pepper these arm-friendly exercise classes into your weekly regimen. Working among others can keep you motivated while helping the time fly by.
Fight arm flab by fighting your kickboxing instructor. Kickboxing classes are highly intense, burning fat, building muscle and improving cardiovascular endurance. The powerful movements actively engage all of the muscles of your upper arms at once. Punch, cross, hook and jab like a champion, and you might just develop the arms of one.
The Bar Method
Trade in your bat wings for long, lean dancer's arms—that's what many practitioners of this ballet-inspired method are able to accomplish. Movements make use of a ballet barre, drawing on isometrics, interval training and dance conditioning in order to elongate the muscles from head to toe. Madonna is one of Bikram and Power, to gentler practices like Iyengar and Anusara, expect to challenge your body with many an arm-strengthening pose. Take, for instance, the chaturanga, which is a lot like a pushup. From plank pose, lower your body two to three inches above the floor and hold it there. Squeeze your core, and resist the temptation to rest on the floor. Reverse your chaturanga by pushing back up to plank.
Spice up the old-school pushup by incorporating resistance straps like the TRX trainer, into your workout. The straps suspend your feet above the ground, requiring you to press up and down without the aid of stable legs. Resistance straps require extreme control, boosting your flab-fighting power.