A 5-minute routine to tone your arms by summer

Performing these four exercises just three times per week will help you tone your arms for summer.
Image: Toned arms
Exercises that work the shoulders will help create a round and sculpted definition in the upper body.Blue Jean Images / Getty Images
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By Stephanie Mansour

Are toned arms one of your summer goals? Well, here's some good news: If you start committing just five minutes a few days a week now, you can see some serious results in a few months.

These exercises are part of the arm routine on my Step It Up with Steph workout DVD, and it’s the routine that my clients follow to build muscle that looks sleek and toned, but never bulky.

Ready to get started? Grab a pair of dumbbells: I recommend starting with 5 pounds and not going higher than 8 pounds. When it comes to toning, heavier isn't necessarily better. As a benchmark, I have stayed at 5 pounds myself for years. You also want to make sure that you are not sacrificing form to lift a heavier weight, so starting off lighter (sometimes even at 3 pounds) can be useful.

Add these exercises to your workout routine three times per week for toned, chiseled and strong arms:

Bicep Curls

Bicep Curl

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The muscle in your upper arm in between your shoulder and elbow on the front of your body is the bicep. The flexed “guns” you see are a result of toning this muscle. To work the muscle, hold onto a pair of dumbbells with one in each hand. Rest the arms down at your sides. Then, hug the elbows into the sides, shoulders back, and curl the weights up towards the shoulders into a bicep curl. Slowly lower the weight down. Repeat 10 times.

Tricep Dips

Tricep Dip

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The triceps are the muscles opposite the biceps. They are behind the arm and are sometimes referred to as “flab” or a “bat wing”. To work this muscle, sit on the ground and reach your hands behind you with your fingers pointing towards your butt. Press down firmly with the palms of your hands. Bend your knees in front of you, and press yourself up onto your feet and hands. Bend the elbows straight back to dip down, and then press back up. Repeat these tricep dips 10 times. (You can also perform the dips on a bench or step.)

Overhead Press

Overhead Press

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Working the shoulders will help create a round and sculpted definition in the upper body. To start, hold the dumbbells in a goal post position with the weights in alignment with the ears. The upper arms are parallel to the ground, and the forearms are perpendicular to the ground. Press the weights up overhead, in front of your forehead so that you can see them with your eyes without tilting your head up. Then bring them back to the starting position. Repeat this 10 times.

Side Extension

Side Extension

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Another very effective exercise for the shoulders is the side extension. Start with the arms down by the sides holding dumbbells. Then, exhale as you extend the arms out to the sides just as high as the shoulders. Make sure that the trapezius muscles (the muscles of the upper back/neck) are not hunching up towards your ears. Keep these muscles relaxed. Then, lower the arms back down to the starting position at your sides. Repeat this 10 times.

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