Got 5 Minutes? 5 Moves for Toned Arms

Nothing shows off your fitness level like a pair of toned arms. So, if you’ve got 5 minutes, here’s 5 moves to get you there.

Anatomy Lesson

There are 3 major areas that need a hefty oomph to get you ready for the gun show! Most women focus on high reps of light weights and generally concentrate on the biceps only. While they are important for that all over toned look, they are not the only part!  Give some love to your triceps – the back of the arm – and you’ll see more balance to the arm. Lastly, spend a little time working the deltoids. These are the major muscles of the shoulder, mostly making up the shoulder cap.

What to Do

You’ll need a bench, or a chair if you are working out at home, and weights: have a lighter pair for shoulder work, and a heavier pair for biceps. Choose a weight that you can manage for 12-15 reps. At the last rep, it should be hard enough that you don’t know if you’ll make it all the way to 15. By the last set, it should be difficult to complete the final repetition. If you get through them no sweat, the weight is too light. You will not get ‘bulky’ if you lift heavier weights. You’d have to use weight that was extremely heavy for that. On the other hand, if you don’t lift a heavy enough weight, you won’t see any real changes!

Complete one set of each of the exercises in succession without resting in between, as you would in a circuit.  If needed, rest for 30 seconds (the time it takes to drink a few gulps of water) and complete the rest of the exercises. Repeat as many circuits as you can in five minutes, resting for 30 seconds after completing all 5 exercises.

1. Push-Ups

Get on your hands and knees with hands shoulder width apart, STRAIGHT down from your shoulders. Next, extend your legs so you are on your toes. Complete as many repetitions as you can on your toes, then, if necessary, drop the knees and complete the set of 15 from there. With knees down, your hips should still be in line with shoulders and knees…do not form an angle at the hips.

2. Shoulder Raises

Grab 5lb or 8lb dumbbells. Stand with feet hip distance apart, arms at your sides, palms facing in while holding weights. Slowly raise dumbbells up to shoulder height and lower to starting position. Concentrate on keeping your shoulders down and your back straight, shoulder blades back enough that it looks like good posture.

3. Tricep-Pushups

Stand on the side of a bench or chair with your back facing to it, and sit to hold the bench or chair with your arms behind you.  Scoot your rear end off of the bench, while holding on, stepping legs forward to make a right angle at the knees.

4. Plank Walk

Get in plank position with room to your left side. Step left foot and hand to the left, then step right hand and foot over to meet your left side for one rep. Step a total of 8 times to the left, then 8 to the right.

5. Bicep Curls

Hold heavier dumbbells, about 10 pounds to start at your sides, shoulders back. Lock elbows to your sides at the waist and perform one set of 15 curls.  Start with the Curls on the first circuit, then complete Open Curls on the second circuit, and on the third, the Hammer Curls. The three different types will work the biceps from different angles, focusing on the outer, inner and front of the arm, keeping you from ever looking bulky. Focus on keeping elbows glued to your sides, and DO NOT swing the weights up. If you can’t lift the weight, try doing as many curls as you can at the heavier weight, then dropping to a smaller set of dumbbells for the remainder of the set.

  • Curls:  Turn dumbbells out so palms are facing up.  Alternate curls right arm, then left arm for 15 reps on each arm.
  • Open curls:  Turn dumbbells further out as far as you can open your arms.  Raise and lower dumbbells for 15 reps.
  • Hammer Curls:  Hold dumbbells at sides with palms facing in.  Raise and lower dumbbells, keeping elbows attached to sides and palms facing in.

There ya go…5 moves in 5 minutes! You can always find the time to tone your arms!


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