Though you don’t have to work specific muscle groups together, it can be fun to multitask! Two areas that don’t always get a ton of love are the arms and the abs, but this workout is going to change that. Whether you’re a runner, zumba enthusiast, or spin class devotee, many people tend to work their lower body more than their upper body. The upper body strength moves in this workout will help correct that imbalance. And fitness junkies of all kinds can use more core strength—it improves nearly any workout you do and helps protect your back, too! So what do you say? We’ve got a quick ab and arm workout that will tighten your tummy, sculpt your arms, and give you upper body and core strength that are integral for any other workout you do.
But first, let’s explore why it’s important to work these often-overlooked areas.
Why Core Strength Is Important
A strong core does so much for you—aside from giving you a flat stomach, core strength helps protect your back from injury. It also helps the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips, and abdomen to work in better harmony. According to the Mayo Clinic, “this leads to increased balance and stability, whether on the playing field or in daily activities.” Not to mention, a toned tummy feels great! You don’t necessarily need to do crunch after crunch to build core strength (although crunches are a great ab exercise). As you’ll see in the workout below, you can also incorporate moves like standing ab exercises to build core strength and give yourself some variety.
Why Upper Body Strength Is Important
Upper body strength helps you get more out of your workouts, in addition to simply helping you to do more as you age. Have you ever been in a yoga class and struggled with some of the upper-body-focused poses? Or done a HIIT workout but balked at the idea of push-ups? Having strong bicep, tricep, back, and shoulder muscles will help you get more from your workouts and make you feel unstoppable. Not only that, but maintaining upper body strength is crucial as you age. Everything from lifting heavy objects to opening jars requires a functional level of upper body strength, so don’t ignore your guns!
Ab and Arm Toning Workout
Ready to train those arms and work those abs? Here are 7 moves designed to give you the ultimate ab and arm workout! (Click on the image of the exercise if you want to see a full description of how to perform it!) Perform 8-10 reps of each exercise, and go through the entire series twice. Incorporating these moves into your weekly repertoire will result in a leaner tummy and sculpted arms. Let’s do this!
This move is great for targeting—you guessed it—the triceps! Be careful not to arch your back when performing this move; try to keep your tailbone tucked under and your core engaged.
If you’re sick of crunches, try a standing ab exercise instead, like these oblique burners. Be sure not to stick your hips back or bend forward in any way, just focus on moving side to side.
Not only does this amazing move target the triceps, but it will also bring your back and shoulders along for the ride! You can use whatever size dumbbell is “comfortably hard” for you. You want to feel like it’s a challenge, but not so much that you can’t complete 8-10 reps.
This fun push-up variation not only tests your upper body strength, but keeping your core engaged as you switch from downward dog to push-up position will seriously work your abs, too. Consider it a two-for-one ab-and-arm special.
This traditional Pilates move is infamous for making you “feel the burn” in your low abs, also called your transverse abdominus. The transverse abdominus muscles wrap around your stomach like a belt in front of your hip bones and around the small of your back. These muscles act as a sort of internal “corset” and it’s one area that’s important to target if you want a flatter stomach.
This plank variation is another great move that packs a double whammy; it engages your core while also testing your upper body strength. Perform 8-10 reps on one side, and the next time you run through the sequence, do 8-10 on the other.
If you’re not a fan of crunches, don’t panic! Froggy crunches are a great variation that is a little more comfortable for most people, since it prevents your quads and hip flexors from tightening up while in a traditional crunch position.