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Upper Body Moves for Toned Summer Tank Top Arms

Get fit and fabulous in just 15 minutes a day with these powerfully effective upper body exercises from Zuzka Light.

Welcome to our summer fitness series with workout routines that are guaranteed to burn fat and build ripped muscles. This month, we’re featuring weekly exercises from Zuzka Light’s, 15 MINUTES TO FIT. These fitness routines are based on innovative high-intensity interval workouts that are designed to be done anywhere and anytime (no fancy gym equipment necessary), in just 15 minutes a day. Feel free to take this fitness routine outdoors and get some fresh air and a healthy dose of vitamin D as you get fit (please take the necessary precautions for staying safe in the sun by keeping hydrated and using sunscreen). This week’s workout targets the upper body.

As the days get longer and the hot summer afternoons have you ditching the turtlenecks and long-sleeved sweaters of colder months, it’s time to bust out those tank tops. And in those tank tops, your shoulders, upper back, and arms will be on prominent display, which means it’s time to start toning your upper body to get the ultimate tank top arms.

Whether you’re heading to the beach or rocking a sleeveless dress at a summer wedding, getting your arms in tip-top shape will take some work, but a series of bodyweight moves — which means no equipment and no bulky workout setup — can help transform your upper body.

“We’re not trying to develop big, bulky muscles; we’re trying to get fit for life,” says Zuzka Light, author of 15 Minutes to Fit. “These workouts will involve your whole body, not just one area, so there won’t be any particular muscle dying for rest.”

Because they elevate your heart rate while working your muscles (the true beauty of doing cardio and resistance training, all in one), you need no more than 15 minutes to really get the effectiveness of the moves.

“Train for the sleeveless shirts and swimsuit you’ve been dying to wear,” Light says.

Here are her five go-to moves for toning your arms for summer:

Side Burpeeside burpee demonstration

Side Burpee DemonstrationHow to do it: Start standing with your feet hip-distance apart. Squat down, as you would with a standard burpee, bringing your palms to the floor to one side, while extending and landing your feet on the opposite side. Complete one pushup, firing up your biceps, then return your feet into the squat position. Jump up to finish the move, then do it on the opposite side. Complete 10 reps.


Kick-Through Push-Up

Kick-Through Push-Up Demonstration

Kick-Through Push-Up Demonstration

How to do it: Start in a regular push-up and plank position. Bring your left foot to meet your left hand while lifting your left hand in the air and swinging your right leg between your arms. Keep the motion fluid, and bring your feet back into push-up position, and finishing the move with a standard push-up. Repeat the sequence on the opposite side. Complete 10 reps.


Competition Burpee

Competition Burpee DemonstrationHow to do it: The most dreaded bodyweight move is back. Start standing tall, then drop to the ground, with your chest, thighs, and knees on the floor. Push up (doing a half push-up), jumping into a squat and then jumping as high as you can to hit your vertical limit before coming back into starting position. Complete 10 reps.


Plank Side Jump

Plank Side Jump DemonstrationHow to do it: Start in a standard plank or push-up position, keeping your shoulders, hips, and ankles in a straight line. Jump your feet together, bringing them forward and to your left side. Jump back into plank position, then jump your feet to the right. Complete 20 reps.


Clapping Push-Up

Clapping Push-Up

Clapping Push-up Demonstration

How to do it: Start in standard push-up position, with your body in a straight line from shoulders to ankles. Bend your elbows, as if you’re performing your chaturanga in yoga class, and immediately push up off the ground, higher than you started, clapping your hands together before returning them to starting position. Complete 5 reps.

Do as many sets of these five workouts as you can in your 15-minute session, and watch those arms get toned right in front of your eyes.




Fitness routines courtesy of Avery, an imprint of Penguin Books USA, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright 2015 by Zuzka Light and Jeff O’Connell from 15 Minutes to Fit.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock


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