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December 22, 2010 at 1:00 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

The 4 Best Arm Toning Exercises

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

Arms are used frequently throughout our lives for various activities. Think about how many times you pick something up, carry something, or push and pull a door each day. It seems like our arms can be almost constantly in motion, which is one of the reasons why they should be exercised. Of course, the appearance toned, sculpted arms is a great benefit as well.

The first step in toning any muscle of the body is to understand how that muscle works. In order to achieve the optimal results of an arm-toning workout, it takes a balance of exercises designed for the biceps and triceps. Focusing on one without the other will interfere with the effect of the program and your arms will not be as proportionate. Be sure to stretch before performing any exercise to prepare your muscles and reduce the risk of injury.

Here are some of the best arm exercises for both stronger and visually impressive arms.

#1. Bicep Curls

There are many varieties of biceps curls that you can do. The amount of weight used depends on your fitness and comfort level. At first, try the exercise with light dumbbells by holding one in each hand with an underhand grip. Your palms should be facing forward and your arms are in a relaxed position at your sides. Complete a repetition by raising the weight to your shoulder in a controlled manner. Exhale as you bring the weight up, and inhale as you return the weight to its starting position. Limit the amount of movement in your elbows as much as you can during the exercise. Feel how your bicep is contracting on the way up while expanding on the way down. Biceps curls can be done either standing or sitting, and with barbells or dumbbells. The repetitions for each arm are performed together in unison, one arm at a time, or with alternating curls.

#2. Triceps Extensions

Located on the underside of your arm, toned triceps muscles will reduce the appearance of flab and add to the overall shape of the arm. While sitting, pick up a dumbbell with an underhand grip and raise it to your shoulder. Extend your arm overhead with palms facing straight ahead, and slowly lower your forearm to behind your upper arm. Keep your elbows over your head and breathe out as the weight is raised; breathe in as it is lowered. Switch arms and repeat the movement.

#3. Hammer Curls

Hammer curls are similar to biceps dumbbell curls, except that your palms are facing each other. Bring each dumbbell up to shoulder level and slowly lower it to your sides. With any curling exercise, keep your back straight and avoid excessively leaning forward or backward.

#4. Triceps Kickbacks

Kickbacks are done on a weight bench and are excellent at working the tricep muscles. Start by putting your right knee and left hand on the bench, with your left arm extended for support. Your back should remain flat throughout the exercise. Hold the dumbbell in your right hand with your palm facing inward. As your upper arm is parallel to the floor, slowly bring the dumbbell up and straight back until it is almost parallel. Do not lock your elbow before you lower your arm. At the end of the repetition, your arm will be hanging down and pointing towards the floor. Exhale as you raise the dumbbell and inhale as you lower it. Keep your shoulder parallel to the floor and move only your elbow and forearm. Reverse the position and switch the dumbbell to the other arm.

General Toning Tips

For the best toning results, focus on using lighter weights with more repetitions. The average number of repetitions is 8 to 12 per exercise. When you become more comfortable with the movement, gradually increase the weight you are using. Never compromise proper form for extra weight. If you cannot do the exercise with correct form, lower the amount of weight immediately. In addition to using weights, there are a number of toning exercises that you can do without them. They utilize your body as the resistance and include push-ups, pull-ups, and dips. Check with your doctor or personal trainer when selecting the best exercises, weights, and repetitions for your individual fitness goals.


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