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5 Dumbbell Exercises to Sculpt Strong Arms and a Ballerina Body

Barre classes make lots of promises: Sculpt a leaner body, elongate your muscles, and tone up all over. And while (like anything in life and in fitness!) nothing good comes without hard work, there's something to be said about these tiny, isometric movements that the ballet-inspired workouts focus on. They sure do complement a diverse workout regime—and who doesn't covet that lithe, legs-for-days ballerina look? 

But a barre workout isn't just about sculpting long legs—you can easily firm up and lean out your arms too. And you don't need a lot of equipment to firm up either! We tapped Burr Leonard, founder of the Bar Method: for her go-to, do-anywhere arm moves. All you need is a set of hand weights and some willpower. Strong, sleek, sexy arms, coming right up! (Then, when you're done with these moves, do these 7 Slimming Thigh Exercises from Pure Barre.)

Total Time: up to 30 minutes

You will need: Free weights

1. Shoulder Walks

A.

Stand with feet hip-width apart. Soften knees, squeeze glutes, and lift chest. Straighten arms, turn palms so they face each other, and hold 2-3 pound weights on top of thighs. Holding 2-3 pound weights, raise one arm so that it is directly overhead.

B.

Raise and lower arms until they meet in the middle, parallel to floor. Begin to walk your arms up and down smoothly, so that both arms cross as they reach the middle of the range of motion.

Sets:

1

Reps:

AMRAP for 2 to 3 minutes

2. U-Lifts

A.

Stand with feet hip-width apart. Soften knees, squeeze glutes and lift chest.

B.

Holding onto 3-5 pound weights, bend arms at a 90-degree angle with palms facing each other. Lift elbows up to shoulder height. Open arms 1 inch wider than shoulder-width to keep your chest lifted.

C.

Slowly arc elbows out and bring arms down and behind back in a semi-circular motion. Reverse the path keeping torso still and arms bent, so you end up in starting position.

Sets:

1

Reps:

AMRAP for 30 to 60 seconds

3. Bicep Pulses

A.

Separate legs to 2 feet apart and bend knees until in a wide stance. Squeeze glutes, pull in abs, and lift torso.

B.

Holding 3-5 pound weights, straighten arms, turn palms up, and draw hands about 1 feet forward in front of thighs.

C.

Bend arms so weights are 1 inch lower than elbows and hold for a few seconds. Lift weights up 1 inch and back down 1 inch, making bends small and controlled. Keep upper arms still, and keep elbows at a fixed point.

Sets:

1

Reps:

AMRAP for 30 to 60 seconds

4. Lat Pulls

A.

Separate legs to two feet apart and bend knees until in a wide stance. Squeeze glutes, pull in abs and lift torso until it is upright. Holding 3-5 pound weights, bend both elbows 90 degrees and rotate lower arms outwards so weights and elbows are in line with each other. Draw arms behind waist.

B.

Press elbows inwards and hold this position for 10 seconds, then begin drawing elbows towards each other in small, 1-inch increments.

Sets:

1

Reps:

AMRAP for 30 to 60 seconds

5. Reverse Pushups

A.

Place hands on floor underneath shoulders with fingers facing forward slightly out. Raise butt off the floor and shift shoulders directly over wrists. Press shoulders firmly down and tuck seat up 1 inch towards wrists.

B.

Bend elbows straight back and then press back up to the starting position. Continue this exercise for approximately 20-30 reps, or one minute.

Sets:

1

Reps:

20 to 30 reps for 60 seconds

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