Tone Those Arms with More Than Just Push-Ups

Get back in shape by toning your body—let's start with the arms and strive for definition.

Banging out a few bicep curls does not suffice for an arm workout—it leaves other muscles like your triceps in the lurch. Give your arms the attention they deserve: tone them quickly and efficiently with this thrice-weekly routine.

You'll need some stretchy bands to complete this workout, but don't let that dissuade you—bands are cheap. They're often sold on six-yard rolls that cost about $15 each—you can cut off as much as you need. Bands also come with different levels of elasticity (stiffer ones offer more resistance). They are versatile (use them to work your back, chest, shoulders and legs), and they're a breeze to pack. You can buy them at most sporting-goods stores or online.

Try these three exclusive triceps-firming exercises at home.

Triangle push-ups
Get on your hands and knees, dropping your hips down and tightening your abs so your torso forms a straight line. Position your hands under your chest and form a triangle with your thumbs and forefingers. Angle your elbows so they're pointing behind you. Bend your elbows and slowly lower yourself until your nose is almost touching the floor, then push back up. Keep your neck in line with your spine. (Don't look up or let your head sag down onto your chest.) Start with three sets of 10 push-ups and then increase to 15 or 20 repetitions. If you're used to doing full military-style push-ups or if you can do 20 of these push-ups without fatiguing, feel free to extend your legs and do these triangle push-ups on your toes.

Overhead triceps extension

Hold about two feet of stretchy band with one hand at each end. Position your right hand behind your head and put the knuckles of your left hand just above your butt, in the center of your back. Adjust your grip so the band is taut between your hands. (Your arms should look like you're going to dry your back with a towel.) Keeping your right elbow high in the air and your left hand firmly anchored, straighten your right arm, and slowly bend it back down to the starting position. Do 10 repetitions with your right arm. Then switch your grip so your left hand's behind your head, and repeat the exercise. Do three sets of 10 and work your way up to 15 repetitions. Try to keep your wrist straight throughout the movement. You can make the exercise more advanced by "choking up" on the band for more resistance or advancing to a stiffer band.

Band kickbacks
Loop the band around a stationary vertical object, like a column or pole, at about chest height and hold an end in each hand. Lean forward from your hips until your torso is at a 45-degree angle to the floor. Your back should be flat and your abs tight. Bend your elbows, keeping them close to your sides. Slowly straighten your arms behind you, keeping them at the same level as your torso. Don't allow your upper arms to move around. Try three sets of 10, working your way up to 15 repetitions. As you get stronger, progress to using a stiffer band.

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