How do I Tone Arms?

Jessica Ellis

Toning arms may be a lengthy and ongoing process that can be frustrating at times, particularly for women. There are several muscle groups in the arms that must be adequately worked in order to ensure an all-over tone. Although strength training exercises may be enough to tone and increase muscle in the arms, the results are often not visible unless fat content is reduced through cardiovascular exercise. Most toning workout plans will include a variety of exercises that work to build muscle, create tone and reduce fat.

Triceps kickbacks, performed with dumbbells, are one method to tone the backs of the arms.
Triceps kickbacks, performed with dumbbells, are one method to tone the backs of the arms.

Before beginning any type of toning workout, it is important to prepare the body through stretching and warming up. This can be done by basic stretches, or even by hopping on a treadmill for five minutes to awaken the body and warm up muscles. Muscles that haven't been warmed up are more likely to tear, leading to serious injuries. Stretching also helps increase flexibility to allow for a wider range of motion and faster results.

Women can have a harder time toning their arms.
Women can have a harder time toning their arms.

Although building muscle is commonly associated with lifting endless amounts of weights, there are actually many different ways to tone arms. Yoga is notable as a way to tone arms; especially shapely shoulders and triceps are often referred to as “yoga arms.” In general, muscular tone can be achieved by working the biceps, triceps, shoulders, and chest. This can be done on weight machines, through anaerobic work like yoga, or by lifting free weights. Some fitness experts recommend a constant variation in exercise in order to prevent boredom and to work the muscles in a different way during each workout.

Dips -- an exercise in which the arms are used to push up the body -- can strengthen and tone the triceps.
Dips -- an exercise in which the arms are used to push up the body -- can strengthen and tone the triceps.

Working out is clearly an important part of any method to tone arms, but some experts say that adequate rest is equally important. Arms should generally be rested for at least 24 hours between workouts, in order to give the muscle time to repair and recover. Putting too much strain on already-tired muscles can lead to a greater risk of injury or exhaustion, which will only slow down results. Fitness professionals often recommend alternating muscle workouts; for instance, working arms on Monday, and legs on Tuesday. This can help lead to faster results not only in the arms, but in the entire body.

Swimming tones the entire body, including the arms.
Swimming tones the entire body, including the arms.

Although strength training is an important way to tone arms, visible results can be more difficult to achieve. A person may have perfectly toned muscle, but if it is buried under layers of fat, no one will be able to see it. In order to make tone more visible, fat must be burned. This is usually achieved through a combination of cardiovascular exercise and diet, although the best method of burning fat is often highly dependent on the individual. For those especially focused on finding a way to tone arms, swimming should be a major part of cardiovascular workouts, as the resistance of the water will help tone arms.

Push-ups can strengthen and tone the triceps, chest and shoulders.
Push-ups can strengthen and tone the triceps, chest and shoulders.
Curls help strengthen the biceps and other muscles of the arms.
Curls help strengthen the biceps and other muscles of the arms.

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