Good posture, increased energy, and a toned upper body right this way.

By Cassie Shortsleeve
Aug 04, 2020 @ 3:06 pm
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If you’ve ever needed a super-fast, super-effective, no-excuses-in-sight workout to get your blood pumping and look and feel your best (all from the comfort of your home, of course) it’s now. 

After all, as the COVID-19 pandemic has closed gyms and added unnecessary, excess stress to day-to-day life (unemployment, kids at home, a hunt for that ever-elusive work-life balance), it’s easy for exercise to seem like … just another chore.

But exercise — specifically strength training — can be an elixir: for stress, for mood, for disease. And it doesn’t take long to see results. Take it from Peloton instructor Ally Love. She regularly churns out short, effective, high-energy arm workouts for women via Peloton’s über-popular at-home platform (and she has the toned body to prove that they work).

But arm exercises aren’t all vanity. They’re a crucial part of maintaining your overall health, too.

“Strength training improves range of motion, flexibility, and stability. It is important in performing everyday activities such as pushing, pulling, reaching, and lifting,” says Love. “It is also vital for good posture, reducing injury, and, overall strength training increases bone density, which means healthier bones.” In short, the right exercises help you sculpt a strong body and a strong mind.

This arm workout for women — which Love created exclusively for InStyle — delivers a mix of essential movements in different planes of motion to work your upper body to exhaustion in 10 minutes flat. 

To get started, all you need is a set of medium-weight dumbbells that you’re able to complete 10 to 12 reps with.

Alternating Hammer Curls

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Hold a dumbbell in each hand, resting on the side of each thigh. Bend one arm at the elbow, bringing the dumbbell vertically toward your shoulder and lower back down. Repeat with the opposite arm. Perform 10 to 12 reps

Bilateral Upright Dumbbell Row

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Hold dumbbells on outside of your thighs, palms facing towards one another, back flat, knees slightly bent, and shins vertical. Pull the dumbbells up toward the bottom of your rib cage, with your elbows drawing towards each other. Pause at the top and slowly lower back down to your starting position. Perform 10 to 12 reps.

Alternating Front Raises

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Hold a dumbbell in each hand, resting them on the front of your thighs. With a slight bend in one elbow, lift the weight upward with your arm out in front and palm facing down, until the weight is in line with your shoulder. Lower the weight back down to return to your starting position and repeat with the opposite arm. Perform 10 to 12 reps. 

Narrow Overhead Press

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Set your feet shoulder-width apart and slightly bend your knees. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height with palms facing your midline. Press the dumbbells straight overhead. Return to start position and repeat. Perform 10 to 12 reps.

Bent-Over Row

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Holding a dumbbell in each hand, bend your knees slightly and hinge forward at your hips (your upper body should almost be parallel to the floor). Keeping your core tight and back straight, bend and straighten the elbows, moving the weights up toward the chest. Lower and repeat. Perform 10 to 12 reps.

Triceps Kickback

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Set your feet shoulder-width apart and slightly bend your knees. Hinge at the hips and lean forward. (It’s important to keep your back flat in this bent-over position.) Holding one dumbbell in each hand, row the dumbbells up so your hands are under/in line with your elbows and your shoulders are set down, back, and away from ears. Extend elbows towards the back. Bring the weights back to the start position and repeat. Perform 10 to 12 reps.

Repeat the workout three times with 30 to 60 seconds between each round. To make it easier, use lighter weights, do 5 to 6 reps instead of 10 to 12 for every exercise, or go at a slower pace.