The How, Why, and When of Arm Exercises After 50


How to Lose the Flab and Get the Fab Arms You Want

I’ve watched this happen so much it makes me crazy. A woman wants toned arms for sleeveless weather or the little black dress moment at an event. She heads to the weight rack solo or with a trainer and begins the assault on her upper arms.

Now, typically when I see this happen there are other things that color the situation. There hasn’t been much exercise up to this point. There isn’t much focus on nutrition or what is there is a calorie-restricted, fat-restricted, and often protein-restricted diet.

If you’re guilty…no one knows… but keep reading!

First, let’s deal with the question of whether or not you can indeed lose that crepe-like skin and upper arm flab. It’s tough. You can’t tone the fat and lose skin. You can however, tone muscle that lies underneath the fat and gain more shapely upper arms.

Second, let’s look at the facts. Part of the lack of tone or increase of fat accumulation in the upper arms is due to an overall increase in fat. You may be thin, even skinny, and still fat. Having too little muscle renders you fat. Having too much fat obviously renders you fat.

So if we deal with the real challenge – increasing lean muscle tissue and toning what’s there along with losing body fat – you stand a better chance of toning those upper arms.

To lose fat and gain or maintain lean you want exercises that boost your metabolism. Doing major muscle group exercises will tone and define your arms faster than doing arm exercises. What? Yes. Your arm muscles are small. Your chest and back muscles are big. If you boost metabolism by working chest and back you will do far more good for your overall muscle tone than if you simply attempt to target arms.

Meanwhile, your chest and back exercises use the arm muscles. You’re not ignoring them. Yet, they don’t need to be “prettied up” until you’ve reached a certain level of foundation work.

Cardiovascular exercise changes can also help. Cardio is another way to boost metabolism if it’s of sufficient intensity. Yet, choosing swimming, boxing, or using battle ropes for instance can also increase the tone to your arms while you’re boosting metabolism. You haven’t seen a swimmer who doesn’t have toned arms. Oddly, if you ride a bike whether in a spinning class or outdoors and ride in “aero bars” your triceps are contracted the entire time. If you ride for a couple hours a week, that adds up.

Other types of conditioning can also help you tone your arms. Certain yoga styles involve multiple push up type movements in a slow controlled manner. These kinds of repetitions make a difference.

Add it all up and be sure that you sequence the highest priority exercises first. You can do bicep curls and tricep kick backs. Just save them for last and it’s OK if you run out of time. If you spend time swimming or lifting heavy for chest and back, you have indeed used your arms in a way that will increase the tone far more than a few arm exercises if they are the only thing you’re doing.

So, go on, get armed and dangerous! Want more step-by-step in video? You’ll love this. 

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