Most workouts involve a lot of focus on your abs, behind, hips and legs. It’s as if the workout gods forgot about biceps and triceps! Like you have to work on your core to get strong abs, you also need to dedicate time for toning your arms. Use these ten tips to make the most of your arm day workout.
Dedicate a Day Each Week for Arms
When planning your weekly or monthly workouts, schedule one day of the week for arms. The exercises for your guns will also work your shoulders, back muscles, and upper chest. If you do intense cardio training on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, make Saturday your arms day. The other days of the week could be used for strength training or doing outdoor activities with your family. By varying your workouts, you keep your body challenged and your mind motivated.
Choose the Right Equipment
Lifting dumbbells won’t tone your arms. When you want to see a difference, choose an exercise such as arm presses at the gym. If you do your workouts at home, try a pull-up bar mounted on a door frame or a free-standing dip station. These efficient pieces of equipment allow you to use your weight as resistance. Instead of using a 20-pound dumbbell, you’ll be using your full body mass to exercise your arm muscles.
Try Different Angles
Your arms have biceps and triceps, and they both need to be worked out. When lifting free weights, do them at a variety of angles. In addition to the traditional posture of keeping your elbows at your sides, consider extending your arms into a “T” formation. Bring your hands in toward your armpits. Change the angle of your arms by 30 to 45 degrees between repetitions. You won’t get as bored or sore when you change your position.
Lifting your arms overhead makes your arm day workout more intense. This experience gets even better if you do the reps while on the floor or on a bench. Lift your arms until they are in a perpendicular position to your body. This stretches the entire length of your arm muscles. Overhead exercises are one time when it’s okay to use the dumbbells.
Experiment With Your Grip
Experiment with your grip when holding onto the dumbbell or chin up bar. If you had to vacuum your entire house without taking a break, chances are you might switch between both hands to hold the vacuum handle, and you might change the way that you grip the handle in order to avoid hand fatigue. Do both overhand and underhand grips. These grips work different muscles in your arms. Alternating between the two grips also reduces wear and tear that could lead to repetitive stress injuries.
Watch Your Elbows
Your mom or grandma probably told you to watch your elbows. While she meant to keep them off of the dining room table, you also need to watch your elbows when doing arm exercises. Sticking your elbows out irritates the ulnar nerve. The ulnar nerve is commonly called the “funny bone.” When the nerve gets compressed, it sends a signal that causes you to feel a sensation of pins and needles down your arm and into your fingers. Keep your elbows at your sides when doing curls, chin up exercises, and lifts.
Get Creative and Spice Things Up
Doing the same exercises for every arm day workout will get boring. So, try using all of the equipment at the gym — don’t be afraid to try new things. Remember that indoor or outdoor rock climbing builds arm strength. Do you remember the old rope-climbing test in middle school gym class? You could do that on arm day, too. Climb a tree with your kids. Play golf or baseball. Play catch or Frisbee with your family. All of these activities will work your arms.
Use Your Arms During Cardio
Your dedicated arm day workout does not have to be the only setting in which that you exercise your arms. While most people agree that speed walking looks funny, moving your arms while you walk or using the elliptical trainer enhances your experience. Moving your arms also exercises your upper chest and shoulders. You may also be able to maintain your balance better when your arms are moving in coordination with your legs. If you have a step-tracking device that you wear on your wrist, you’ll record more steps if you move your arms!
Increase Your Arm Day Frequency
When you’re just starting to include an arm day, once per week is fine. As you get stronger, you’ll need to work your arms more frequently in order to continue building on that strength. Add a second arm day to your week. You could add a biceps day to one of your strength training days or add a triceps day to one of your cardio days. Separating biceps and triceps workouts creates a bigger challenge for your body. You won’t have the muscle memory that inhibits muscle growth. You can also include a greater variety of arm exercises by having one day for just arms and other days combining biceps and strength training and triceps with cardio training.
Save the Most Intense for Last
At the end of a long, rough day, treat yourself to a glass of wine or a favorite piece of chocolate. At the end of an intensive workout, save your most extreme burst of energy for last. Go for broke. Push yourself. The next day, you won’t be working your arms. It’s okay to push your limits at the end. You’ll complete your arm day workout with a sense of strength; doing this also will build your endurance.
Before you know it, you’ll be able to flaunt your toned arms. You’ll also be the one that your kids come to for opening jars. The hour that you spend each week for your arm day workout will make all the difference in the world.
What are your favorite arm day exercises?
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