It’s Arm Season, Ladies!
I want to give you a great arm workout here, but first I want to say something: wear what you want!
Even if you have a little fat on your arms (or a lot) and you like a sleeveless top or dress, you should just rock it! The truth is that most people just don’t care what your arms, butt, thighs or belly look like. We are harder on ourselves than most other people ever could be.
And on the other side of it—if you start thinking or saying something snarky or downright rude to someone about their appearance for no reason, STOP IT! Those negative thoughts often have a lot to do with ourselves rather than the other person. I’ve done it, so I know what I’m talking about here. Let’s be kind to ourselves and others.
Now, onto the topic at hand. I want great arms so they not only look great in the summer, but so they don’t get so fatigued trying to lift my nieces and nephews, dogs and all the grocery bags at once. Let’s get started now, so that we are all ready for those warm months.
How Much, How Often
This workout will focus on just the arm muscles: shoulders, biceps and triceps. Other muscles may be involved as assisting muscles, but we are focusing on those guns. (And no, I don’t know why we call them that.)
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends working these muscles, and the other major muscle groups, two to three times each week on non-consecutive days. You need that day off between workouts to allow them muscles to repair, recover and get stronger. If you’re sore, take another day. It just means that your body is still healing.
When it comes to sets and repetitions, I’ll give you the guidelines. It will be up to you to adjust as needed. Beginners, start with one to two sets of 12 to 15 repetitions per exercise. Intermediate and advanced exercisers can do three to four sets of 12 to 15 reps. I’m keeping these general. There are other set/rep ranges to elicit different responses in the body: strength, hypertrophy, power and endurance. If you really want to understand these concepts and how to periodize them, hire a trainer. But this workout will get you going, and work those arms.
For each muscle group, I’m listing out a few options with links to videos and descriptions. I want you to choose one or two from each group per workout. If you’re just working your arms that day, do two. If you’re doing your arms as part of a total body workout, maybe just do one so you’re not working out all day.
Dips – You can do these on a bench, stair or chair with your feet on the floor as well.
Pushdowns – You can use any cable attachment, not just a V-bar.
Skullcrushers – You can do these with dumbbells, barbell or even set up with a band.
Hammer Curl – You don’t have to lay on an incline bench. Do these seated upright or standing.
These exercises are some of my favorites. I’ve found that I can do them in the gym, or at home with bands and dumbbells. I don’t have a barbell in my home gym.
However, there are hundreds of exercises you can choose from to design your workout. Bodybuilding.com and ACE Fitness each have extensive exercise libraries that you can search through by muscle group and equipment available to you. But if this is overwhelming, or you have an injury or condition to work around, work with a trainer. It’s worth the investment.
Don’t Neglect Your Cardio
If you are already lean, consistent workouts may show sooner rather than later. If you carry some excess body fat, that cardio will help you lean out to show off those muscles you’ve sculpted.
At minimum for your health, you should perform cardiovascular exercise at least three times per week for 20 minutes at a moderate to high intensity. The harder you work, the more calories you burn.
Along with your cardio, you can’t just eat whatever you want and expect results—although that would be awesome!!
So, make sure you are consuming a balanced diet with nutritious foods that fuel and satisfy you and you’ll have toned arms in no time!