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Can You Tone the Upper Arms and Tummy?

By Kevin Rail

A toned body is characterized by lean, defined muscles with little visible body fat. Achieving this aesthetic with your upper arms and tummy is a big confidence booster. The game plan involved takes discipline and the right changes to your lifestyle. Exercise is an obvious key component, but you also cannot overlook your diet. Without proper nutritional habits, your body will not function optimally during training.


  1. Reduce your calories if you need to lose weight. Cut 500 calories from your normal, needed amount and you should lose about 1 pound a week. Determine your starting intake by tracking your calories for five days, summing the totals and dividing by five.

  2. Eat nutritious foods that benefit muscle building. Stick with fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, low-fat dairy, fish, beans, nuts and seeds. These foods give you quality sources of protein, carbs and fat. Protein is especially important because it helps repair broken down muscle tissue.

  3. Consume small meals throughout the day instead of two or three large ones. This will keep your metabolism raised, appetite satisfied and energy levels high. Eat your first meal as soon as you get up and space the rest of your meals two to three hours apart. A tuna sandwich on whole-wheat bread with lettuce and tomato is a healthy option.


  1. Incorporate sprint training into your workout regimen. Sprinting burns a high amount of calories, boosts your metabolism for hours when you are done and also causes you to forcefully work muscles throughout your entire body. All of these benefits can help promote toned arms and a toned tummy. Start with a light warm-up jog for five minutes. Sprint as hard as you can for 20 seconds and rest for 40. Sprint again for 15 seconds and repeat this cycle 12 to 15 times. Finish with a light five-minute cool-down jog. Perform three sessions a week on nonconsecutive days.

  2. Target your arms properly with exercises. Focus your attention on both the triceps and biceps. The triceps sit on the back of the upper arms and the biceps sit on the front. Working both of them will define your arms and make them look balanced. Include exercises like close grip bench presses, triceps pushdowns, dips, barbell curls, twist curls and reverse curls. Aim for 10 to 12 reps, do four or five sets and work out three days a week on non-cardio days.

  3. Pay strict attention to your form when doing these exercises. The most important thing is to not use momentum. For barbell curls, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a barbell in front of your thighs with an underhand, shoulder-width grip. Keep your abs tight and back straight as you bend your elbows and lift the bar. Stop when your palms face your chest and squeeze your biceps forcefully for a second. Lower the bar back down slowly and repeat.

  4. Tighten and define your tummy. Focus on all areas of the stomach instead of just one region. Perform exercises like hanging knee raises, decline crunches, Russian twists and tabletop crunches to target your lower abs, obliques and upper abs. The obliques sit on the sides of the stomach. Aim for 15 to 20 reps of each exercise, do three or four sets and work out three days a week after your sprinting sessions.

  5. Use proper form for the best results. For decline crunches, lie face-up on a decline bench or ab board with your feet hooked under the padded supports and hands placed on the sides of your head. Keep your lower back pressed to the bench as you raise your head and shoulders, and curl your torso upward. Squeeze your abs forcefully for a full second, slowly lower yourself back down and repeat.

  6. Tip

    Reducing your calories by 500 is a common rule of thumb, but not a gold standard. If you consume less fat reduce your calories by 250. However, if you consume a lot of fatty foods, reduce the number of calories per day by up to 1000.


    Check with your health-care provider before beginning an exercise program for the first time or if you have been away from fitness programs for a while, or if you have any chronic health issues.

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