Beat Arm Jiggle in 20 Minutes
Good news: You don't have to pump major iron to beat dreaded arm jiggle. To help you get sleek, sculpted arms in time for tank-top season, we asked Michael Olajide, co-owner of Aerospace HPC studio in New York City, for a routine that's low on equipment and big on benefits. And it takes just 20 minutes!
This seven-move workout, based on Olajide's Aerosculpt class, requires nothing more than your own body weight, a jump rope, and a set of 1- to 2-pound hand weights. Begin by skipping rope, which helps tire out your arm muscles. "This way, you won't need to lift much weight to achieve results," explains Olajide. Instead of counting reps, you'll count seconds for an easy-to-follow routine that blasts fat as it sculpts muscle.
Do each move in order without rest for 60 seconds (or until your muscles are exhausted), then repeat twice more. Done three times per week, this routine will sculpt your arms from your shoulders to your fingertips in less than a month!
Fitness Focus: shoulders
- Hold a jump rope with an end in each hand, palms facing forward.
- Begin skipping, hopping up just enough to allow the rope to pass beneath your feet.
- Once you've got the rhythm, slowly extend your arms out from your sides as far as possible as you skip.
- The goal is to make big circles with your arms so you feel as if you're rowing a boat backward.
- Continue skipping for 60 seconds.
2. Aerolean Push-Up
Fitness Focus: chest, shoulders, triceps
- Come into push-up position with feet together and hands spaced wider than shoulder-width apart, fingers pointing out to the sides.
- Bend your right elbow so you tilt to the right.
- Return to center and repeat with the left arm; alternate for 60 seconds, or until fatigued.
- If this move is hard at first, keep your knees on the floor.
3. Wrist Rotation
Fitness Focus: shoulders, lower arms
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a 1- to 2-pound dumbbell in each hand, arms extended in front of you at shoulder height, palms down.
- Quickly rotate your wrists inward as far as possible, then outward.
- Continue alternating for 60 seconds.
4. Floor Pull-Up
Fitness Focus: back, biceps
- Lie flat on the floor with your head and shoulders underneath a high, sturdy table.
- Grasp the table edge with both hands, palms shoulder-distance apart and facing in.
- Pull yourself up off the floor as high as you can, keeping your abs tight and your neck straight.
- Pause for 1 second, then lower yourself back down.
- Repeat for 60 seconds, or as long as you can.
- If you don't have a table available, lay a broom handle or pole across two chairs placed a few feet apart.
5. One-Arm Triceps Dip
Fitness Focus: triceps
- Sit on the floor with your legs and feet pressed together, knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Place your hands about a foot behind your butt, palms shoulder-distance apart, fingers pointing toward your butt. Straighten your arms to raise your butt off the floor.
- Bend your left elbow and lower your butt as close to the floor as possible without actually touching it.
- Straighten your left arm; repeat, this time bending right arm.
- Alternate sides for 60 seconds.
- To make the move a little easier, try spreading your legs up to 2 feet apart.
6. Weighted Punch
Fitness Focus: shoulders, biceps
- Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a 1- to 2-pound weight in each hand, fists in front of your face, palms facing each other.
- Without moving your left fist, punch your right fist up as high as possible without locking your elbow.
- Quickly pull right fist back to starting position as you simultaneously punch your left fist upward.
- Continue alternating for 60 seconds; start slowly and gradually increase speed until you're moving as fast as you can.
7. The Aerobox
Fitness Focus: shoulders
- Stand holding a 1- to 2-pound weight in each hand.
- Bring fists in front of face, palms facing each other.
- Step left foot 6 inches forward and right foot 6 inches back.
- Punch with left fist, then right. Start slowly, speeding up until you're going as fast as you can.
- Repeat for 60 seconds.
- Switch feet and repeat.
Quick Moves to Boost Results
Sculpting sexy arms requires gripping weights, which can strain the forearm muscles. Stay safe with this mini routine:
- Wrap a thick rubber band around your left hand at the knuckles.
- Spread your fingers apart as far as you can and hold 4 to 5 seconds.
- Repeat 8 times, then switch hands.
- Extend your left arm in front of you, palm facing down.
- Grasp your fingers with your right hand and pull your left hand back as far as is comfortable.
- Keeping arm extended in front of you, lower your left hand so that your fingers are pointing to the floor.
- Place your right hand on top and gently stretch your left hand downward.
- Do both moves several times; repeat on opposite arm.
The Arm Sculpter That Sheds Pounds
Go sleeveless with confidence with these three twists on jumping rope. Do two minutes of each variation before moving to the next, then repeat the cycle two or three times.
1. Lateral Hop
Works: inner and outer thighs; strengthens ankles
- As the rope nears your toes, hop to left with feet together.
- Land on the balls of your feet, then hop back to center.
- Do 2 regular turns, then jump to the right; repeat shuffle.
2. Jumping Jack
- Spread your feet about shoulder-width apart as the rope passes underneath you.
- When it comes around again, jump up and draw your legs together so your feet are almost touching as the rope passes beneath you.
- Do a few regular skips, then repeat the variation.
3. Double Skip
Burns: extra calories — by forcing legs to work harder
- Jump once when the rope passes under your feet, then quickly take another hop while the rope is circling above your head.
Mistake-Proof Your Workout
Poor form can sabotage your arm-toning routine by allowing other muscle groups to do all the work. See if you're cheating yourself out of results during these common arm exercises:
The Move: Biceps curl
The Cheat: Bending forward or backward at the waist makes it easy for momentum to take over.
Fix It: Do the move with your back against a wall.
The Move: Standing shoulder press
The Cheat: Many people bend their knees too much, then stand up to give themselves added power when pressing the weights overhead.
Fix It: Do the move seated instead.
The Move: Triceps push-down
The Cheat: If you draw your elbows behind you as you press the bar down, it shifts the effort off the triceps and onto the shoulders and lower chest muscles.
Fix It: Pin your elbows to your sides to prevent them from swaying back.
Originally published in Fitness magazine, May 2005.