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Your arms bear the brunt of many daily activities, whether it's carrying groceries up the front steps, picking up a child or chopping hearty vegetables for dinner. Toning the muscles of your arms can make those activities easier and improve your physique. If your routine weight-lifting exercises leave something to be desired, learning a few tips and tricks can spice up your arm-toning workout.
Change Your Grip
Sometimes, you can form habits when lifting weights, such as always doing a bench press with an overhand grip or bicep curls with underhand grips. Building muscle requires consistently challenging yourself, so break the habit and flip your grip to target the muscles from a different angle, which places different stressors on your body. Changing other facets of your approach to weight-lifting can make a difference, too - for example, widening your grip on certain exercises, such as during a lat pull down, can test your muscles in a different way.
Use a Stability Ball
Instead of standing while lifting weights, engage your core by sitting on a stability ball. This amplifies the results you get from exercises, according to "Shape" magazine. To create stability for the shoulder joint, work the chest muscles in addition to the arms by performing a single-arm chest fly while sitting on the stability ball. Sit on the ball, lie back and roll the ball so it's under your shoulders and your hips are lifted with your feet flat on the floor. Hold dumbbells in each hand and extend your arms toward the ceiling. Lower one arm at a time out of the side, pause, and return it to the center. Do 15 reps on each arm.
Using a rowing machine gives you a cardio workout - which helps you lose overall body fat - and an arm-toning workout all in one. If your gym doesn't have a rowing machine, simulate the movements with an Olympic bar. Stand with the bar between your legs and pick up the end in front of you. Walk backward until you're standing over the middle of the bar. Bend your arms to bring the bar closer to you and then extend them so you're doing a rowing motion. Perform 20 rows on each side.
Switch to Free Weights
While machine weights are ideal for beginners because they're safer and easier to use, switching to free weights can boost your muscle-toning ability. Free weights allow you to do exercises involving multiple planes of motion, mimicking movements you do on a daily basis. While certain machine weights isolate a single muscle or muscle group, free weights let you do compound exercises, so you're working multiple muscle groups at once - this can cut down the amount of time you spend working out, as well as work your stabilizing muscles and targeted muscle groups.