What is the best exercise for toning arms?
I often get asked this question usually when someone shows me the floppy skin on the back of their arms that is also known as the ‘Bingo Wing’. Getting rid of the loose saggy skin is not as straight forward as simply doing a load exercises that target that area and I’ll explain why later on.
Firstly I will give you my top exercise for toning the back of the arm (the Triceps). Dips are my top exercise for toning the back of the arm. When a team tested a variety of tricep exercises using electromyography to measure muscle activity the top answer was the diamond or triangle press up followed closely by the kickback and then the dip.
I’ve chosen dip to be the best tricep exercise for two main reasons; Firstly they are accessible to everyone, all you need is a chair, stool or low wall whereas kickbacks require dumbbells or some kind of resistance. Secondly, diamond or triangle press ups require a very good level of strength (even when doing a kneeling variation) to perform correctly whereas the difficulty of a dip can be changed by altering your feet position to suit your ability and strength level.
I’d recommend doing the little and often approach which as a method used long ago by the Russians for strength. Start by doing one set to failure (when you can no longer perform a good correct repetition) every day for a week then two sets the following week, then three the week after and in a month 4 sets a day, spread evenly throughout the day. I chose this method because when trying to do something new and install what is effectively a new habit, doing little and often is the best way. What’s more, starting with just one set each day gives your arms the right amount of stimulus for growth and toning and it’s also so much easier to find time for one set that takes just 60 seconds than a full workout!
Now simply doing a load of dips will only make a change to the feel and size of the muscle and consequently the shape of your arms if you eat and recover well. Including nutritiously balanced meals will help the growth and repair of the muscle for toning and will also assist in stripping away some of the subcutaneous fat (skin fat) that sits directly under the skin.
Recovery is important too so burning the candle at both ends will not put your body in the right state for fat loss and muscle building. Could you do with more sleep and rest?
So, to summarize if you want firmer more toned arms, start doing Dips but know that diet and recovery are just as important.
Matt Jordan – the Energy Coach