Wearing the right clothes can do miracles in disguising the imperfections, but wouldn”t be nice sometimes to wear whatever you like rather than what you have to? So instead of avoiding the strapless dress to hide the arms why not get fit arms. To get toned arms is probably quite easy although it does at times seem that the chicken wings never leave.
The shoulders and back don’t tend to store a lot of fat so when toned they seem to show nicely. I do tend to favor functional exercises rather than static one muscle at the time jobs, so as you may expect there will be a few functional exercise solutions to add to your workout.
Can diet make your arms more muscular and firm?
Not per se but in some ways yes. It may be, that under the layer of fatty tissue there is a fine firm and well worked muscle hiding and all it needs is to be unveiled. Exercise is not the mean to all ends, and yes it will help with weight loss and fat burning but diet does play a major role.
In addition, don’t forget that there is no such thing as spot fat burning, meaning that just because you exercise your arms doesn”t mean that only your arms will lose weight.
Combine an exercise regime with a healthy, balanced diet for best results. Every person’s weight loss needs will be different so for some it may be enough to just follow a healthier diet for others it may require some calorie cutting as well.
Firm arms with exercise
To the point, muscle definition does come with exercise. Someone could have very thin arms but that would not necessarily translate to firm. I did read somewhere that exercises which claim to tone a specific part should be thrown in the bin. That piece was arguing that there is no spot fat burning but to be fair there is spot firming.
Well what I mean is that if you provide a muscle with adequate load and overload then it will physiologically change. Always depending on the exercise you may see a change in size, or strength, or both, or change in power etc.
#1 Tricep dips:
The back of your arms is usually where the ‘bingo wings’ tend to sit. Essentially is due to weak tricep muscle, well apart from the extra fatty tissue that may be stored there. One way to solve the floppy arms is by toning the muscles. Tricep dips can be performed in various different ways and you can increase or decrease the difficulty and intensity easily, and most important you don’t need equipment or the gym to do so. Depending on how you perform them you can add a bit of shoulder and back work as well.
If you are in a gym you are likely to find bars for tricep workout or alternatively you can use a bench. If unsure ask someone in the vicinity. If you are home or outside a gym you can use the worktop, the stairs, a stable and solid table (be careful that it can support you), any safe ledge surface. For the purposes of explaining the exercise I will use a ledge as example.
- Sit on the ledge and place your hands on the each side on the surface. Fingers pointing towards your body.
- Straight in front; move your bottom away from the ledge by taking the weight of your body on the arms. Keep the arms straight.
- Lower the body towards the floor by bending the arms as far as you can go. Extend the arms taking your body back at the starting position.
- Repeat x 6-8.
#2 Pull ups/chin ups
Pull ups is one of my favourite exercises. It is hard but it works so many different muscles and areas of the body. Think what one exercise can do to your core and keep it up! Unfortunately is one of the men dominated exercises and you rarely see women do pull ups and to be honest I’m not sure why.
It is often misunderstood by women that if they deviate from light weights and cardio they will look too masculine and bulky. That is by far true, trust me a few pull ups will not turn your arms into a female sumo wrestler.
- Easy to perform, Just grip on a chin up bar and pull your body upwards. If you are a novice you can use a slight jump-push to propel yourself (slightly cheat…), but do try to mainly use your arms rather than jump up and down.
- Lower back to the starting position and repeat. Lower yourself slowly to work your arms rather than let flop down.
- Do as many as you can do even if it’s just 2 and build on it with practice.
#3 Air/shadow boxing hooks
I remember playing boxing as a Wii game and the next day my arms and shoulders were really sore. I was surprised to see that air or shadow boxing had worked my arms so much and to be honest my technique sucked. So with good technique air boxing can make you sweat a bit and work those arms.
Some people tend to practice on a punch bag (quite hard) or with each other. It is an option if you have it available but if not here’s a way you can do it solo.
- Standing with legs hip width apart. Keep the knees soft.
- Shadow boxing is a like a semicircular movement of the arm and the upper body, so you pivot on your foot and slightly twist your torso to the direction of the punch.
- To punch, bend (flex) your elbows bringing your arms close to the body. Keep the hands in a relaxed fist formation.
- Bring the elbow upwards and levelled to the shoulder,
- Keep the elbow bend (flexed) approximately 900,
- Rotate your shoulder forward as if you where to punch someone but do not extend the arm
- Bring back down and repeat with the other arm. Perform slowly to get used to the movement and then increase the speed however do keep the movement controlled.
- Perform x 6-8 per arm.
#4 Chest squeeze and overhead shoulder press
This is a combination of 2 exercises. Chest squeeze is good for the chest muscles and can help in keeping the breasts against gravity. Most gyms have machines for those exercises but I do prefer performing them free standing and with some weights. What weight if any, you use is dependent on individual level of fitness.
If novice just performing the movement and keeping your arms against gravity may be hard enough. Don’t over overload your muscles as it could lead to injuries.
- Standing legs hip width apart and arms relaxed at each side.
- Bring the elbows upwards at each side at shoulder height with elbows bend at 900. Hands upwards, shoulders straight but relaxed back and down.
- Bring the arms and elbows together in the front of the chest. Make sure you keep the arms in a straight line and not letting the elbows drop.
- Bring back out to the sides and then extend upwards above the head. Keep the arms straight.
- Bring back down at shoulder height and repeat from the beginning.
- Repeat x 6-8.
A few exercise tips:
1. Not all exercises are for everybody. These are only suggestions so make sure you perform exercises which fit at individual needs, considering health issues, injuries, fitness level and anything else which may affect your ability to perform an exercise.
2. There are different ways in which the above exercises can be performed, so other variations can be as good and even better some times. Just always make sure you perform an exercise with the correct technique and within your fitness level.
3. Do make sure you increase the intensity or change your workout every few weeks in order to provide adequate and progressive overload for the muscles. You can increase the intensity by adding weights were applicable or just changing the exercise slightly. Alternatively swap the exercises and try some new ones. Keep your workouts interesting.
4. Do consult a medical professional if you do have any health complaints before taking any exercise on.
5. Very important: do warm up and cool down before you do any exercise.