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Best Exercises to Tone Flabby Arms

written by: Destiny Keller • edited by: Angela Atkinson • updated: 7/31/2011

Flabby arms can be tough to conquer, especially for women. Learn how to tone up this problem area with some simple exercises and motivation.

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    Spot Reduction: The Myth

    As a whole, most of us in society think of fixing problem areas in terms of "spot reduction". This is the idea that if you do certain exercises for a certain area, such exercises for flabby arms, the fat from that area will magically fade away and your arms will suddenly be tight and toned.

    Unfortunately, our bodies do not work that way. This is similar with other parts of your body such as your stomach, thighs and buttocks. You can tone, sculpt and build muscle to your heart’s content, but you will have a hard time seeing those results, as they will be hidden under a layer of fat.

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    What Do We Do Now?

    The good news is not all hope is lost. In general, women tend to store fat in lower areas, such as their thighs, and buttocks. Men tend to store their fat in their abdominal area. The key to sculpting these problem areas, including arms, is to focus on weight loss in general. Focusing on lowering your body fat percentage will help to get rid of many flabby problem areas.

    The great news is that one of the best ways to help with weight loss is to focus on a combination of anaerobic and aerobic exercises. Despite what many people may think, these two types of exercises go hand in hand, and will produce better results when used together.

    Studies have shown that doing at least twenty minutes of weight training before anaerobic work outs helps you to burn fat twice as fast. This is because anaerobic workouts bring up your metabolism and help you to burn more calories for up to four hours after you do it.

    For optimal results, try doing anaerobic exercises for those problem areas, and right after, work on cardio for about 30 minutes. This will make your cardio work out twice as effective, and help you to burn more fat. The grand finale to this type of work out system is that when your body fat slowly starts trimming away, your new firm, sculpted muscles will start to show.

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    Creating a Work Out Plan

    Now that you have an idea of what you need to do to start working on those arms, here are a few workout routines to help better tone those muscles. Pick a few that you like, add other muscle groups you want to target, and try to do your workouts in a circuit like rotation--meaning ten reps of exercise a, b, c and d, then repeat the circuit twice.

    Your anaerobic workout should come to about 20 to 30 minutes total. Then start on your favorite aerobic routine such as the treadmill, elliptical or even a kickboxing class.

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    Arm Exercises

    These exercises need minimal equipment, so they can be done at home or at the gym, or wherever you are when its time for your workout routine. When using dumbbells or resistance bands, be sure to find one that gives you enough resistance to feel like work, but that allows you to complete 3 sets with them. Keep in mind that toning exercises don't necessarily require you to add on a ton of weights.

    Dumbbell Push Press

    You will need a dumbell for this exercise.

    • For part one of this exercise you want to hold a dumbbell in your right hand in front of your shoulder, with your palm facing the left. Be sure to stand shoulder width apart, and place your left hand on your hip for balance. Then you are going to lightly squat.
    • For the next part, Straighten your legs as you press the weight overhead. Return to the opening position and repeat. As you drop the weight down, control the weight. This will optimize the challenge of this work out.
    • Do 10-15 reps on each arm, three times for a total of 30-45 reps per arm.

    Leaning Lateral Raise

    You will need:

    • Sturdy pole or door frame
    • Resistance band

    For the first part of this exercise, stand with your right side next to a pole, and your right foot on top of one end of a resistance band.

    • Place left foot next to the right and grasp the pole with right had at shoulder height.
    • Straighten your arm and lean out so your body is angled about 45 degrees from the pole.
    • Hold the other handle of the resistance band with your left hand, arm at side, and palm facing thigh.
    • Then raise your left arm out to shoulder height. Lower and repeat. Be sure to draw your shoulders away from your ears and keep your neck lengthened to keep the work for your arms, not your back.
    • Do 10-15 reps on each side, 3 times for a total of 30-45 reps per arm.

    Tricep Curls

    You will need a dumbbell for this exercise

    • For this exercise, you are going to want one dumbbell that is a bit heavier than your usual, since you will be using both hands. For example, if you normally use a 10 lb dumbbell, try going with 15 lbs.
    • Start with the dumbbell in both hands raised over your head as high as you can reach.
    • Then gently lower the dumbbell behind you until it could almost touch the back of your neck. Your elbows should be pointing towards the sky, and your thumbs towards your heels.
    • Lift it back up to your starting position and repeat 9-14 times.

    Tricep Dip

    For this exercise you will need a sturdy chair.

    • Take a chair and make sure it is on a flat, level surface.
    • Sit down in the chair with your legs at a 90 degree angle and reach beside you for the edge of the seat.
    • Slowly scoot yourself forward, off the chair, and dip down, putting your weight on your arms.
    • Slowly pull yourself back up with those same muscles, and repeat 9-14 times.

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    References:

    Shape Magazine: http://www.shape.com/fitness/toned-arms-in-record-time?page=3

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