Jessica has been going to the gym for the past 6 months and has noticed marked strides towards achieving her goals; she’s started losing a bit of body fat, her legs and butt are getting toned up and she is getting stronger.
The one thing Jessica can’t figure out is why she isn’t able to tone her arms up any. No matter how much she tries, it just seems impossible.
With so much information online, it’s impossible to sift through all of the articles to find out why her arms aren’t getting toned. Fortunately for her she reads this blog and she tries this routine out.
Why is it so hard to tone your arms?
Arms are hard for anyone to grow because they either aren’t progressing properly, they aren’t doing enough volume, or their workout routine isn’t working for them.
This routine is going to be based off of super sets.
Never heard of super sets?
Well, a super set is when you take two exercises and do a set one after the other. So for an example you have tricep extensions and dumbbell bicep curls. You would complete 1 set of tricep extensions and immediately do 1 set of dumbbell bicep curls after. Then you can rest between sets.
This adds a new level of intensity and changes the whole dynamic of your workout.
I tell my clients that you cannot out exercise a bad diet. “Going on a diet” and your diet (what you eat) are two different things; I want to change what you see as regular foods.
Moderation is the most important word that you need to learn next to planning. You can eat the cake, donuts, and ice cream in moderation especially when you plan your meals.
If you want to eat something that will embarrass you to admin you’ve eaten, you need to plan it out and eat accordingly the rest of the day. Having a donut or two once a week and cutting down on the other amount of sugar and carbohydrates you eat throughout the week will not completely ruin everything that you have worked towards… but going on a random binge will.
If you can get 80% of your food through fresh meats and vegetables that you prepare, the other 20% can be whatever you want. Bad things happen when you start depriving yourself of foods that you’ve grown to love.
Proteins should be priority number 1 in your meal planning. You need to eat plenty of protein to recover fully from all of the exercising and weight training you do.
- Supplements – protein shakes or protein bars are easy and can be had on the go
- Chicken – boneless skinless chicken breasts, boneless skinless chicken thighs
- Beef – ground beef, steaks
- Turkey – ground turkey is a leaner substitute to ground beef if you need to cut fats or calories
Carbs catch a bad rap because there are so many myths that people believe are true. Carbs are a source of energy and are important, but when eaten in excess they are stored as fat.
- Rice – white, brown
Fats make you fat, right? Wrong. Healthy fats are extremely important for a healthy body because they help regulate hormones, they are satiating, and frankly they make food taste better.
- Olive Oil
- Real Butter
As with all of this, moderation and planning are key. There’s no reason to stop eating your favorite foods you just need to adjust the rest of your diet accordingly.
Check out these 39 fat loss myths debunked while you’re at it.
No more hours of cardio!
Spending hours on the cardio machines do nothing but burn you out and make you wish you never started going to the gym in the first place (trust me I know).
So here’s the deal…
- 5-10 minutes warm up when you first get to the gym – this is going to get your blood pumping and prime your body for exercise. Choose something that isn’t too hard on the body such as walking, bicycling, or the elliptical.
- 15-30 minutes after you are done weight training – this will boost your metabolism and help your body start to recover from the abuse you just put it through. Here is a good article about the effects of cardio on muscle growth; check it out.
For your post workout cardio you can tackle it in one of two ways; hard and fast or nice and slow.
- Hard and fast – 15-20 minutes of high intensity interval training. This means running for a certain amount of time and then walking for a short break, rinse, and repeat. I won’t go into detail about HIIT training but if you do not know what it is, check out this article about HIIT training from Muscle & Fitness Magazine.
- Nice and slow – 20-30 minutes of lower intensity cardio. Think of this as a brisk walk or slight jogging. Something that you can do so that you are breathing hard but not so much you couldn’t regularly carry on a conversation.
Do this and get out of the gym.
I invite you to find something you can do outdoors away from the gym that will keep you active. Choose anything that interests you like picking up a sport, bicycling, or hiking… use your imagination. The reason you are going to the gym is to look and feel better, right? Go have some fun.
Here comes the part you’ve been dreading; the weight training. The gym is intimidating especially to those who haven’t actually even been in one or used any of the machines yet.
If you haven’t picked out a gym yet, check out these 6 tips for picking the right gym.
First thing’s first; everyone has been there and no one will laugh at you. Don’t be afraid to ask a nearby patron for advice or help if you are unsure how to do something.
To those who I meet that have never set foot into a gym, I give them a week to get used to the environment. This means I let them try the machines, pick up free weights, and try everything out. This helps keep the mood high and the disappointment low.
Once you are more comfortable with the equipment in your gym, it’s time to start with the routine.
If you do not plan on having anyone train with you, I advise checking out YouTube or the links I provide with the workout names to see how they are done. I’ve chosen exercises that are not hard to get the movement correct.
What weight should you pick?
After you get into your routine, you will need to take another week testing out weight to see what is suitable for each exercise.
You are going to want to pick a weight that isn’t so heavy you cannot complete all of the reps safely and not so light that you barely break a sweat.
Remember, you have to struggle and push yourself to change, nothing will come easy.
Check out this short article about free weights and how much is too much. I went into better detail about how much weight you should choose and why.
The reason your body get stronger, builds muscle, and gets leaner is because your body adapts to the condition it is being put in.
If you are forcing your body to press 25 pounds, your body will adapt and make it easier to press 25 pounds… That is when you start pressing 30.
The progression scheme is easy:
- Add more weight to the exercise when you complete all reps.
- The weight you pick will be done throughout every rep of every set.
- This means if an exercise is 3 sets of 8 reps, you will keep that same weight for all 3 sets.
Schedules are hectic and I get that. The great thing about training is there is no absolute “set in stone” rules for when you train. There are some guidelines you should follow when choosing your workout schedule, but nothing you need to worry about.
The ideal schedule would look like this:
- Sunday: Off
- Monday: Arm Day 1
- Tuesday: Off
- Wednesday: Off
- Thursday: Off
- Friday: Arm Day 2
- Saturday: Off
This schedule above also depends on if you are using one of the workout routines that I’ve written or if you are going to replace your current arm routine on this.
If you are replacing arm work in one of the routines that I’ve written, see what works best for you; that’s the great thing about fitness, you find what works for you.
Weight Training Routine
The syntax for this routine is simple:
To signify which workouts will be super set, I will have them together separated by a / mark.
So going off our example above:
- Tricep Extensions / DB Bicep Curls
|Arm Day 1|
|Close Grip Bench Press / Concentration Curls||4||10|
|Curl Machine * / Tricep Machine *||3||20|
|Tricep Kickbacks / Cross Body Hammer Curls||3||15|
|Arm Day 2|
|Barbell Curls / 1 Arm Cable Tricep Extension||5||10|
|1 Arm Dumbbell Tricep Extension / Reverse Grip Bicep Curls||3||15|
|Lying Dumbbell Tricep Extension / Dumbbell Curls||4||15|
- Machine* – Pick a machine you like and feel comfortable with. Be sure that it works the body part in the workout. Most machines are clustered together so finding one that you like that works the body part you are looking for will be easy.
- Depending how your gym is set up, you may have to take some weights with you to another spot. For instance, I would recommend taking a set of dumbbells to the bench you will be doing close grip bench press on so you can sit up and then do concentration curls without having to cut across the gym.
- Keep proper form – if you are unable to properly complete all of your reps, slow down and keep trying. Super sets are meant to be hard and challenging.
I can’t guarantee that you are going to see results instantly… as a matter of fact I will tell you it will probably take at least 3 weeks to start seeing and feeling results. You can’t expect overnight changes and anyone who promises them you should run far away from.
Super sets are difficult and will take some getting used to, but will pay off in the long run.
If you have any comments or questions, please leave them below and I’ll get back to you!