Our 10-minute routine targets jiggle and sculpts show-off muscle.
By Natalie Gingerich, Prevention
Sleeveless season is here! Make the most of it by sculpting toned, beautiful arms with our simple workout – you’ll see results in just two weeks. With just a few moves, you can reverse the trend of naturally occurring muscle loss that happens with age. Our plan alternates exercises for the fronts and backs of your arms with push-ups to sculpt your entire upper body. This type of training, called super sets, shapes lean, balanced muscles that look great and are less prone to injury. Bare your arms with confidence!
Workout At a Glance
* What you need: Set of 5- to 8-pound dumbbells, exercise mat, sturdy couch or chair.
* How to do it: Perform the exercises in the order shown 3 times a week on nonconsecutive days.
* Start with the Main move: If that’s too difficult, do the Make it easier: variation. For a greater challenge, try the Make it harder: version. After each move, do 3 to 5 push-ups.
* For faster results: Use a heavier set of dumbbells (such as 10 to 12 pounds) so you can do only 5 or 6 reps of each exercise without resting, and do the whole routine twice through. To burn more calories, try some of our fun cardio options that engage the arms.
* The expert: Oscar Smith, a certified specialist in kinesiology and biomechanics, and owner of the O-Diesel fitness studio in New York City, created this routine.
Lying Reverse Curl
Main move: Lie with knees bent and feet flat. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms in, with upper arms at sides, elbows at 90 degrees and slightly off floor and hands toward ceiling. Without moving upper arms, straighten elbows and lower weights to almost touch floor, then lift back to start. Do eight to 10 reps.
Make it easier: Rest elbows on floor or use lighter weights.
Make it harder: Lower in slow motion and pause before slowly raising weights.
Main move: Begin in a modified plank position on hands and knees, body in a straight line from head to knees, hands directly under shoulders. Bend elbows back, keeping arms close to body, and lower chest toward floor. Straighten arms. Do three to five reps.
Make it easier: Do knee pushups with hands elevated on a couch, chair, or staircase.
Make it harder: Do full push-ups on hands and toes, body in a straight line.
Lying Triceps Extension
Main move: Lie on back, holding a dumbbell in each hand with arms extended straight up over chest, palms facing in. Keeping arms parallel and upper arms stationary, bend elbows to lower dumbbells toward face. Straighten elbows and press dumbbells back to start. Do eight to 10 reps. Now do push-ups!
Make it easier: Hold a single dumbbell with both hands.
Make it harder: After each rep of the main move, lower one weight across body toward opposite shoulder, press back to start, and repeat with opposite arm.
Main move: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, a dumbbell in each hand, arms at sides, palms facing back. Bend elbows to 90 degrees, rotating wrists so palms face up. Pause, then lower. Do eight to 10 reps, stopping at 90 degrees on final one.
Do eight to 10 more reps, bending elbows to raise weights toward shoulders and lowering to 90 degrees. Now do push-ups!
Make it easier: Do just the first portion of the exercise, curling to 90 degrees.
Make it harder: Lift dumbbells to 90 degrees, pause, and then curl all the way to shoulder before slowly lowering to start. Do 15 to 20 reps.
Main move: Stand with left side facing a sturdy couch or chair, a dumbbell in right hand. Place left knee and hand on seat, keeping back straight; bend right arm to 90 degrees, elbow by hip, palm facing in. Keeping upper arm still, straighten elbow and press dumbbell back, rotating wrist so palm faces up. Lower. Do eight to 10 reps on each side. Now do push-ups!
Make it easier: Skip the couch and stand for more stability. Hold dumbbell by right hip, elbow bent behind you, left hand at side. Straighten arm to press weight backward. Switch arms after reps.
Make it harder: Balance on one leg, and use both arms at once. Tighten abs and hinge upper body forward slightly while extending other leg back, toes off floor. Switch legs halfway through reps.
The best cardio for your arms
1. Swimming: The water doesn’t just cool you off: It provides full-body resistance you don’t encounter on land. Your arms are key for propelling you forward, so you’ll sculpt strong, sleek swimmer’s arms while burning as many as 680 calories an hour.
2. Cardio machines with movable handles: Focus on pushing and pulling with every stride. Start by doing 1 minute with arms/1 minute without, and gradually increase. If your machine doesn’t have handles, bend your elbows and pump your arms as though you’re power walking.
3. Rock climbing: Grasping overhead handholds gives your upper body a fresh workout, and you can blast up to 750 calories an hour as you figure out the best route to the top. Find indoor climbing facilities nationwide at indoorclimbing.com.
4. Kickboxing classes: Throwing punches and jabs is a great way to get your heart pumping and melt up to 680 calories an hour. Get two free 20-minute routines to try at exercisetv.tv (just click on “kickboxing”).
5. Canoeing or kayaking: Paddling down a river is the perfect family adventure—and it burns up to about 500 calories an hour.
6. Walking with poles: Studies show it can boost your calorie burn by more than 20 percent without making your walk feel any harder. Find poles and more info at walkingpoles.com.