Photo by M. McCoy

Strong arms are not only beautiful, but also practical.

My arms are by far one of my biggest insecurities. Always has been. Especially when people take those side view pics of me, and have the nerve to be like, “Oh my gosh, you look so cute.” Where? All I see is my arm covering my whole side profile!

This is why I work so hard to tone them and even build a little muscle. There is nothing wrong with having insecurities. Do not let anybody tell you differently. We all have them in one shape or form. The goal for me has been to acknowledge that this is something that I’d like to change about myself. And put in the work to make the difference. *Flexes the big guns*. A lot of the work comes from what I eat, but some also comes from the exercises I do for what I am trying to accomplish.

For example when I am trying to tone I do more reps and sets of a medium weight. A weight that is challenging, but not overbearingly difficult. I should be struggling a bit by the end of each set. This usually looks like 4 set of 12-14 reps for me. And I typically follow each set by 30 seconds of cardio (toe taps). I will follow the 30 seconds of cardio with a 30 second rest. I do 30 seconds, because it helps keep my heart rate up, which burns more calories. Now if I wanted to pack on muscle, I would use a more challenging weight, less reps, and probably 3 sets.

So whether you are at home, or in the gym you can tone your arms. It’s a matter of self-discipline and confidence. And please for the love of Pete, don’t be afraid of the weights. They are not going to make you look like a body builder, unless you want them too.

Below are my favorite arm exercises!

Standard Bicep Curls: Standing or sitting, hold a dumbbell in each hand (or alternate 1 hand at a time). Yours should be dangling by your side with your palms facing forward. Bend at the elbow, keeping the top part of your arm in place. Up and back down is one rep.

Wide Angle Bicep Curls: Standing or sitting, hold a dumbbell in each hand (or alternate 1 hand at a time). Yours should be dangling by your side with your palms facing the ceiling. Bend at the elbow, keeping the top part of your arm in place. Up and back down is one rep.

Hammer Curls: Standing or sitting, hold a dumbbell in each hand (or alternate 1 hand at a time). Your arms should be dangling with your palms facing each other. Bend at the elbow, keeping the top part of your arm in place. Up and back down is one rep.

Tricep Kickbacks: Standing up, lean forward or lean against an object. Hold a dumbbell in one hand and use the other hand to stabilize you. Whether it is placing your free hand on the wall, your thigh, or another object. Keeping you back straight bend your arms at a 90 degree angle aligning your triceps with your back. Your biceps should be facing the facing the floor. Bend your arm back so that the end of the dumbbell is facing the ceiling and your arm is straight. Control the movement on the way back down so that your arms are not flinging around. Controlling the movement is what woks the muscles.

Overhead Tricep Extensions: Stand with your feet should width apart. Hold your dumbbell with both hands in front of you. Lift the dumbbell up until your arms are straight and the dumbbell is above your head. Lower the dumbbell behind your head, bending at the elbow and controlling the movement. Keep your elbows inward, close to your ears. Your upper arms should be stationary throughout the movement.

Forward and Reverse Fly: You can use the machine or use dumbbells. For the machine, follow the instructions on the machine. For dumbbells, stand holding a dumbbell in each hand. Bend slightly at the knees. Keep your back straight and bend forward a smidge at the hip. Put your arms out to the side so your body looks like a cross. Bring the dumbbells together in front of you so they are facing each other. *Starting with your arms open and bring them together is a Forward Fly. Starting with your dumbbells together in front of you and opening your arms, would be reverse. Forward works biceps and a bunch of there muscles. Reverse will work your triceps and a bunch of other muscles. Make sure you keep a slight bend in your elbow when doing these.

Tricep Dips– I use the assisted machine, because…yeah I can’t do them on my own yet! Place your hands on the handle bars and straighten your arms. Place your knees on the pad thing that looks like a seat (it is not a seat). Your body should be upright and your arms, straight, should be supporting you. Bend your elbows at a 90 degree angle and push yourself back up.

Staying consistent and balancing my workouts with decent nutrition helps me see results. Please keep in mind that personally, I alternate my nutrition/diet. So you will need to find what works for you. Below are some progress pics of my arm muscles. Now, get up and prep your guns for the big show!

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