You carry your 25-pound toddler around the house and lug 12 bags of groceries up your apartment stairs, so you totally have your arm workouts under control, right?
With summer on the horizon, we're challenging you to go the extra mile when it comes to toning your arms. A little extra sculpting can go a long way in shaping those shoulders.
Some of our favorite moves require a resistance band or dumbbells, and some get the job done with your bodyweight alone, but they all work wonders when it comes to tightening and toning.
This move forces you to focus on form rather than swinging your arms, which will help you build lasting strength and great muscle definition.
1. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, stand with feet together and knees slightly bent. Keeping your back flat, bend forward by hinging at the hips.
2. Exhale and lift both arms to the side, maintaining a slight bend in the elbows and squeezing your shoulder blades together. With control, lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. That is one rep. Complete 3 sets of 8-10 reps.
1. Grab a pair of dumbbells and raise arms into goal post position with palms facing forward. Make sure your elbows are at the same height as your shoulders.
2. Squeeze the shoulder blades together while bringing the weights in toward each other without dropping the elbows or shrugging the shoulders into the ears. Slowly return to start position and complete 3 sets of 8-10 reps.
1. Hold a pair of 3- to 5-pound dumbbells at shoulder height with arms bent, palms facing in.
2. In a slow, controlled motion, punch your right hand diagonally across your body to the left, keeping it at shoulder level. Allow your torso to rotate slightly as you punch, but keep your lower body still throughout the move. If you feel the move in your shoulder rather than your chest and back, slow down. You should feel your chest and upper back muscles flex and contract. Return to start, and alternate sides for 3 sets of 10-12 reps on each side.
1. Step on the middle of the band with a handle in each hand.
2. Stand with your feet under the hips, tuck in your pelvis and bring the hands to the hips. Pull the band up in a controlled motion, aiming the handles to your bra line. Bring the elbows up and out until they are parallel with the shoulders; no higher! Release the handles back to the hips and complete 3 sets of 10-12 reps.
1. Begin standing with feet under the shoulders, dumbbells at your side with palms facing in.
2. As you lift your arm in front of you, rotate the palm to the floor and lift the weight to shoulder height. Reverse it back to your side with palms facing in. Keep the shoulders down and back and elbow soft. Complete 3 sets of 8-10 reps.
Increase your speed and time to get your heart pumping, and enjoy a little cardio burst in this toning move.
1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Raise elbows to shoulder level and keep your hands at eye level. Shift your weight to the right leg and rotate your right forearm twice. That is one rep.
2. Then shift your weight to your left leg and rotate your left forearm twice. Keep switching sides for 3 sets of 30-second intervals.
This move should be powerful. Gain momentum through your entire body to pack a serious punch in each rep.
1. For this hit, you want to stand with wide legs, knees soft and fists by the face with your elbows in. Brace the core.
2. Keeping one fist by the face, open up the other arm out to the side. Keep the elbow of the hitting arm bent and begin to lift the same-side heel off the floor as the toe points toward the direction your punch is going.
3. Complete the hit with a punch going across your body. Your leg should rotate so you have the mobility and power to complete the hit. The elbow should be bent and the forearm should be straight. Quickly get back to the neutral position, and move into your next hook. Repeat on both sides for 3 sets of 20-second intervals.
1. Begin with the feet slightly wider than shoulder-width. With a soft bend in the knees, bring the fists up by your face.
2. Whichever arm is going to perform the punch, rotate the same-side leg inward. This will turn the body to a 45-degree angle, ready to launch.
3. Let the punch go with a fist, knuckles forward. Keep the other fist by your face. Pack this move with power, and complete 3 sets of 20-second intervals on each side.
This move requires a resistance band to specifically target your shoulder muscles without twisting or rotating the torso or hips.
1. Come to all fours, holding the handle or end of the resistance band in one hand and anchoring it with the other hand. When you set up, make sure you have no slack or tension in the band when it's in your starting position.
2. Pull the band out to the side until your hand is at shoulder-height. Adjust the slack/tension as needed. Complete 3 sets of 12-15 reps.
For this move, you want to act like you’re pulling the opponent’s face into your knee. Make it powerful, and feel your abs contract.
1. Begin with your feet hip-width apart. Extend one behind you as the front leg bends (make sure bent knee doesn’t cross over your toes). At the same time, extend your arms out and above your head like you’re reaching for the head of an opponent.
2. Swiftly pull the back leg through to the front, knee-first. Bring the hands down, elbows tucking into your sides. Complete 3 sets of 20-30 reps on each side.
1. Lie on your back and hold a pair of dumbbells above your shoulders with straight arms. Keep your knees bent with feet flat on the floor.
2. Lower your arms down until your upper arms quickly touch the floor and then press upwards to the starting position. That is one rep. Pause briefly at the top before slowly reversing the movement. Complete 3 sets of 12-15 reps.
For this move, you want to aim for your opponent’s nose and lean into the jab by shifting your weight to the front leg. The more power you put into this move, the more your muscles will benefit.
1. Begin in a side stance with your feet slightly staggered for balance. Your knees are soft and the core is tight. Bring the hands up to the face in fists.
2. Bring the elbow back, then launch it into your jab. Snap the arm back to the face and repeat.