Arms On Fire

You’ll feel the burn in this quickie series for sleek, strong biceps, triceps and then some. You can do it anywhere, anytime—even with zero equipment—just in time for tank-top season.

By Chelsea Streifeneder • Edited by Amanda Altman

If there’s one thing I get asked frequently, it’s for the secret to strong, toned arms. The secret is that there’s no secret. It’s about real work and being consistent.

I’m constantly reminding myself and my clients that defined arms are so much more than what meets the eye. We need strong arms for our everyday activities and living. Our arms help lift the groceries out of the trunk, and our wine glasses to our lips. We use our arms to pick up our children and furry friends, pull on those (maybe) too-skinny jeans or spandex, and even scroll through our social media. The list goes on.

However, sometimes we don’t always have hours to spend at the studio and/or at home working out. I crafted this series so even you can fit it in, and notice a difference in the strength and look of your arms. This quick and effective routine can be done anywhere and anytime, whether you’re waiting for your coffee to brew or the laundry to finish, or have a couple of minutes in between clients. Because the more you do outside the studio, the better and faster your results will be.

These exercises incorporate light toning balls, and even though they may look easy, I promise, they’re not! All of these small and controlled arm movements ensure that you will feel the burn—literally. You don’t need fancy equipment, you just need the right moves, and here they are. But don’t worry if you don’t even have weights; you can do the moves using just the resistance of your own body and still reap the fabulous strengthening and toning benefits. Do your best, and your body and arms will thank you. Oh, and don’t forget to smile because working out is fun!


Props: 1–3 pound toning balls or weights
Purpose: strengthens and tones the arms
Breath: Breathing might sound like such a natural act, but how many times have we been guilty of stopping our breathing during our workouts? Focus on breathing naturally throughout—don’t hold that breath!
Reps: Aim for 10–12 with good form and alignment, and really try to flow from one exercise to the next without stopping. Beginners should start with 6–8 reps.
• Do this series 2–3 times a week in addition to your other workouts.
• To modify, you can sit on a chair and/or omit the weights throughout.
• For an added balance challenge and some extra work for your calves, do the exercises with your heels lifted.
• Remember that this is your workout—listen to your body and focus on you! Don’t feel guilty for taking “me time,” and heed this friendly reminder from Joe: “Decide to remain true to yourself.”

Hug a Tree

Setup: Stand with your feet parallel and sit bone–distance apart while holding the weights. Bring your arms to a T position with your elbows soft, palms facing forward and weights in your peripheral vision. Keep your neck long, core engaged, and shoulders back and down.

1. Bring your palms together in front of your chest, keeping your elbows lifted and arms as long as possible.

2. Return to the starting position.

Hug a Moon

Setup: Same as Hug a Tree, but turn your palms to face up.

1. Bring your palms together overhead, reaching your arms long.

2. Return to the starting position.

Tips: Keep your arms in front of your torso. When your arms go up, pull those shoulders back and down!

Shoulder Press

Setup: Same as Hug a Moon, but bring your arms into a “goal post” (or L) position with your elbows bent at 90 degrees at shoulder height and palms facing forward and upward.

1. Using resistance, push your arms straight up and overhead, pulling your shoulders down your back.

2. Return to the starting position.

Tip: If you’re starting to get tired at this point in the workout, it’s okay to take a quick break so the work stays in your arms and back, and doesn’t creep up into your neck.

Get the rest of this article and more exercises like this in our current issue, available on newstands and on Magzter now!

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