Having toned arms is one of the most sought-after physical attribute people work towards when undertaking any fitness journey.
Although it’s true that no person can lose weight or ‘tone’ in just one specific area of your body, there are a number of things we can do to ensure that our movement patterns and exercise regime does work these areas extra hard so that we see the results we love.
Over the years, I’ve trained many clients and all of them see significant changes in their physical form and as a result, gain lean, shapely arms from the all-over work that my movement method focuses on.
Why do arms seem so difficult to train?
Of course, as we age having toned arms can become even more of a challenge for a number of reasons e.g., menopause where our body is going through some hormonal changes, muscle mass diminishes with age ,our stress levels (cortisol) and sleep patterns, gradual lifestyle changes. All of these reasons affect how we store fat or burn fat.
Bingo wings, as I understand from research and years of teaching various ages and body types, are a combination of a reduction in muscle mass with age and an increase in body fat as our metabolism and lifestyle slows down. It’s very important to have a healthy eating plan as we age, and to try to limit our alcohol consumption.
What is the best approach?
The best approach in targeting your arms is strength and cardio.
Firstly, if you have a lot of fat to lose, I would up your cardio by doing steady paced cardio as often as possible (such as fast walking, cycling, swimming) plus a Hiit session two to three times a week. But, make sure there are enough strength and bodyweight moves within the sessions too because keeping muscle mass is important, as muscle burns far more calories than fat does.
Then, to ‘tone’ arms, the best approach with no equipment is to use your own bodyweight. For example, Full arm plank position into knee taps and a press up. This is a gorgeous, full-body move which activates the core, works the shoulder muscles and focuses the mind – the golden trio!
In my sessions, I also tend to encourage the use of both resistance bands and dumbbells. This is because they move the body in a slightly different way, which is always important as we want to stimulate and target lots of smaller and larger muscle groups differently.
The band can also be very useful if you have been injured or want to change things up and feel you want to focus on controlled isolated movements.
In my workouts I use up to 3 kg weights as we are moving a little faster with higher reps, (it’s very important to be sure you are not swinging the arms around without a sense of control in the movement!)
My Hero Arm Toning Exercises:
Using only bodyweight: The Spiderman move!
- Hold a plank
- Slowly bend the arms into a halfway down press up position, elbows slightly angled inwards
- At the same time lift one bent leg up to the side of your hip.
- Slowly (that’s the important part) push up as the arms straighten and return the leg to the plank position x10
- (Watch your pelvis and back is well supported with your abdominal muscles)
Using a resistance band: Banded Biceps
- …Use a medium strength band
- Stand in a back lunge position with the middle of the band under your front heel and hold either end of the band in your hands.
- Turn your hands to face forward
- Keep your elbows soft, not bent, and pull the band up to the side of your body in-line with the shoulders. Be careful not to elevate your shoulders to your ears as you do this.
- Repeat x10 …(3 sets )…adding in the lunge pulse as you get stronger, as you lift your arms.
- You should feel your core engaged as you lift the arms.
Remember, you can’t just ‘lose weight’ or ‘tone’ one area of your body. We need to focus on the body as a whole, fat will be lost throughout the body. But, if you are doing a combination of workouts you will see the results. Strength, cardio, body weight and resistance, all these are going to be a benefit to how you start to change your shape over time. Consistency is key.
Then there is diet – which has a lot to do with how your arms will look! If you have a diet high in unhealthy fats, sugars and processed foods, those calories have to be stored somewhere, like our fat cells. It’s all about input and output. Take a good look at your food plan and alcohol intake – you will quickly notice the areas where you need to change certain habits. If you want to see the muscles you’re working so hard for, you do need to move your body more, eat a diet rich in healthy fats , lean protein, complex carbohydrates and lots of greens.
A really good way to do this, I find, is to make a list of good heathy fats, complex carbohydrates and put this up in your kitchen somewhere you can see it to remind you of what you should be putting on your plate every day, so it eventually becomes a habit.
Stick to the rule of three healthy meals a day 90% of the time.
Your support system:
For further advice or bespoke coaching, contact me at EMM@eastwoodfit.comto find out more about my personal wellness coaching plans or my Eastwood Movement Method weekly training programme, both of which are designed to get results in a safe, sustainable form.