Summer is coming – and with it, the season for sleeveless tops and strappy bridesmaids dresses. The best accessory for either of these looks is a set of strong, defined arms. After all, don’t we all want to look like Michelle Obama, who, in the last eight years, has been the epitome of Strong is Beautiful?
While Obama-level beauty might be hard to achieve, your own set of strong arms is within your grasp. The arms have two main muscle groups: biceps and triceps. Surrounding these muscles is a layer of fat which, often times, gives the “jiggly” look in that area. The key to those gorgeous, toned arms is to work (yes work!) to shrink the fat area and strengthen the underlying muscle.
The best form of exercise to target these muscle groups involves adding resistance or weight. If you’re already a gym member, you should have no problem finding some dumbbells. If the gym repels you, you can always purchase a dumbbell set for your home or use weighted household objects like water bottles.
How Your Body Works
When weightlifting to tone arm muscle, focus on slow and controlled movements. Each repetition should take 4 to 6 seconds to complete. This ensures that muscles are properly lengthened and contracted.
Weight training causes little micro tears in the muscle fiber. You know that feeling of soreness you have after a good workout? Those are your micro tears. After you work out, your body repairs these damaged muscle fibers by fusing fibers together to form new muscle protein strands (known as myofibrils). These repaired myofibrils increase in thickness and number to create muscle growth. Muscle soreness can also occur a few hours after your workout. This is called delayed onset of muscle soreness or DOMS in short. This is nothing to worry about, rather, something to look forward to when weight training. DOMS just means your muscles are growing and getting stronger. After a few weeks, you will be able to lift heavier weights and make strength gains!
Recovery & Magic
While working out, your body is burning a tremendous amount of calories to lift those weights. This calorie or energy burn doesn’t just stop here! Repairing the muscles while they grow requires energy (calories) and proper nutrition as well. Weight training your arms results in your body burning energy even after you workout. With a proper eating plan, you can make your body a calorie/fat burning machine and get to those dreamy toned arms even sooner!
As with any weight training, you must hit the bicep/tricep muscle group twice a week. This gives time for recovery, rest, and strength gains. Optimum time spent on working out arms should not be more than 45 mins. You can complete an arm routine in 30 to 45 minutes and it will be effective. Make sure to drink plenty of water to hydrate those muscles!