How to Get Your Best Arms Ever in Only 15 Minutes

Amy Lawrenson

“Fifteen minutes is all it takes to get your best arms ever,” says Matthew White, personal trainer at Equinox. Last month, the luxury London gym launched the super-short class for its members. It combines dumbbells and elastic resistance for a workout you will feel for days. Thankfully there’s not a push-up in sight, and with new iterations of bicep curls and tricep-sculpting moves, you won’t get bored.

The attention to technique and constant tension rather than hefty weights will mean your arms will lean out, not bulk up. Now, I know what you’re thinking: I’m not an Equinox member. Well, neither am I, so I asked very nicely if White would share one of the workouts with us, and he did. If your arms are your pain point, factor in this 15-minute workout and you’ll be flailing those newly lithe limbs around for anyone to see in no time.

Keep scrolling to arm yourself with all the information (#sorrynotsorry).

The Benefits

“This workout is not only an effective way to transform your arms, but you will also see increased muscle definition and toning across your shoulders and upper back,” says White. Win-win, we say.

“Another and unexpected benefit of training your arms is a significant improvement in your postural alignment, as you will strengthen the muscles that pull back your shoulder blades. This is especially important for those who spend a long time sitting at a desk.

“Your arms are complex, so to get your best arms ever, you’ll want to do targeted exercises that work the front upper arms (triceps), back upper arms (biceps) and shoulders,” he adds.

The 15-minute workout uses the time-under-tension methodology, so you are working with a constant load and tension—this delivers results you can feel and increases muscle definition but not bulk.

The Workout

YOU’LL NEED:

THE PLAN:

Seated dumbbell shoulder press: 12 reps

Seated lateral raises: 10 reps

Seated rear-delt raises: 20 reps (Here you may want to drop to a lighter weight.)

  • Perform the above exercises straight through.
  • Rest for one minute and 30 seconds; then repeat.
  • Repeat two more times.

Now move onto:

Alternating bicep curls: 20 reps (10 on each arm)

  • 45 seconds of rest
  • Repeat two more times.

Now move onto:

Bicep curls with a resistance band: 15 reps

Tricep extension with resistance band: 15 reps

  • Perform both with no rest.

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Why: This exercise is the king of development when it comes to the front of the shoulder.

How:

  • Sit up tall with your legs at 90 degrees.
  • Hold the dumbbells just above your shoulders with your elbows facing forward.
  • Press the dumbbells overhead, keeping your elbows in, only turning them out at the top.
  • Lower the dumbbells, being sure to bring your elbows back in to face forward at the bottom.
  • Repeat.

Seated Lateral Raises 

Why? We can't leave the middle part out when it comes to getting toned shoulders. If you want your shoulders to have a nice 3D look to them, then lateral raises are where it's at.

How?

  • Sit up tall with your legs at 90 degrees.
  • Dumbbell in each hand, raise your arms out to the side with a slight bend in the arm.
  • At the top, you should look like a human T.
  • Be sure to lead the raise with your pinky finger, one end of the dumbbells will face the ceiling all the way up and down.
  • Control your arms back down, but don't let them touch the sides of your body before going up for your next rep.
  • Repeat.

Seated Rear-Delt Raises

Why: Completing that 3D shoulder look (and helping with posture) are the rear delts. Rear-delt raises should be a staple in all shoulder programs.

How:

  • Sit with your bum on the edge and your legs together straight ahead of you, with a slight bend in the knees.
  • Bend over like you’re going to put your head in between your knees—this is your starting position.
  • Hang your arms down with the dumbbells in hand, the two ends touching underneath your legs.
  • Without shrugging, raise your elbows out to the side and forward, your arms should make a 90-degree angle at the top.
  • Control the dumbbells back to meet beneath your legs.
  • Repeat.

Finishers: Dumbbell and Band Combined Moves

For these three moves, you will combine a long resistance band with the dumbbell.

Why? Don’t avoid these curling exercises for fear of bulk. These are effective toning exercises for sculpting the arms.

How?

Alternating dumbbell bicep curls: Switching from left arm to right arm, do 20 bicep curls (10 reps in each arm).

Not sure how to do a dumbbell curl? Watch this video.

Dumbbell bicep curls with resistance band: In your right hand, hold a dumbbell. Now stand on one end of a resistance band, and grip the other end of the band with your right hand. Perform 15 bicep curls before transferring the dumbbell and band to the left hand.

Tricep extension with resistance band: In your right hand, hold a dumbbell. Now stand on one end of a resistance band, and grip the other end of the band with your right hand. Perform 15 tricep extensions before transferring the dumbbell and band to the left hand.

Not sure how to do a tricep extension? Watch this video.

Next up, the eight-week Australian fitness challenge taking over London.

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