Friday, June 11, 2010

10 Must-Do Arm Exercises

With it being bikini season combined with the fact that I'm getting married in less than a year, strength training has become a huge part of my workout routine. While I try to train all of muscles, doing exercises to build arm muscle is by far my favorite. How can you not notice when a woman's arms and shoulders are ripped?!

I do the exercises below twice a week, on non-consecutive days. I've been doing this routine for about three weeks and am already seeing great results. Be sure to add in some cardio 3-4 days as well to torch those calories.

10 arm exercises for sexier shape and strength
It might sound overwhelming at first, but beginning your arm exercise routine is easy – just grab a sturdy chair, a towel and a yoga mat for floor exercises. Then, start with 10 repetitions of each arm exercise, working your way up to 20 repetitions over time. Keep in mind that in order to maximize the benefits of arm exercises and prevent injury, they should be practiced with straight spine and bone movements as well as slow, fluid motions. Eventually you’ll want to do more arm exercises that target the triceps versus the biceps to achieve a sexier overall look to your arms.

1. Double Arm Lift
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and slightly bend your knees. If you don’t have free weights, utilize something around the house like a bag of frozen vegetables, canned food or water bottle as a weight for each hand. Holding the weights in your palms, let your arms drop in front of you and hold your fists about 6 inches away from the tops of your thighs.
Making sure to keep your shoulders down and not scrunched toward your ears, raise your fists to shoulder height, maintaining a straight line throughout your arms. You can do this by imagining there is a board connecting your shoulders to your wrists. Hold this position for 5 seconds, and then lower your fists back to your thighs in one fluid, steady motion.

2. Water Drop
Seated on the edge of a sturdy chair, keep your back in a straight line and constrict your abdominals. Using your water bottle or canned food as weight, lift your arms over your head while holding the weight with both hands. Lower the weight behind your head by bending your elbows until you feel a strong resistance or the weight touches your back. Slowly lift the weight back above your head, keeping your abs tight and your back straight. Repeat.

3. Easy Arm Extensions
Grasp a weight in each hand while keeping your abs tight and your knees slightly bent. With back straight, lower your upper body by hinging your hips forward to about a 45 degree angle from your lower body. Extend your arms back as though you are handing your weights to someone behind you, all without moving your upper arms. Slowly curl your arms back into the starting position and pause before repeating.

4. Easy Curls
Sitting in a chair with a straight back and torso, relax your arms along the side of your body. With your palms facing the ceiling, grip your weights and slowly curl them up and toward your shoulders.
Pause for a few seconds before slowly lowering your arms back down again.

5. Twisted Raise
Stand again with your feet hip-width apart, while slightly bending your knees and holding your weights in the palms of each hand. Let your arms hang naturally by your sides with your palms facing the side of your thigh. Keeping your shoulders down, lift your arms straight out from your sides, keeping them in one vertical plane with the rest of your body. Rotate your arms, turning your palms toward the ceiling. Hold for 5 seconds before rolling your palms back toward the floor.

6. Triceps Push-Up
After placing a towel or yoga mat on the floor to prevent slipping, start on your hands and knees. Walk your hands forward and lift your hips toward the ceiling. Extend your spine in a straight line like it is a board connecting your neck to your tailbone. Tuck your elbows back so they stay at your sides and slowly lower your chest toward the floor, keeping your back straight. Keep your body 2 to 4 inches above the floor. Hold this position for 5 seconds, then raise slowly back into the starting position.

7. Triceps Dips
Seated on the edge of a chair, place your hands behind your hips, using your palms to support your body weight. Angle your elbows outward before lowering your hips slowly toward the floor. Keeping your body angled slightly forward, straighten your elbows, but stop the motion before they are completely straightened (do not lock your elbows).
Pressing your weight onto your hands, slowly push yourself back up into the starting position.

8. Slow Row
Sitting on your towel or yoga mat with your legs straight, wrap a T-shirt or towel behind the soles of your feet. Grasping one end of the shirt or towel in each of your hands, push your shoulders and elbows back so that your elbows are behind you. This motion should provide enough resistance to give the shirt or towel a firm stretch. Slowly return to your starting position and pause for a few seconds between repetitions.

9. Plank
Lie face down on your towel or mat with your palms shoulder-width apart and your toes digging slightly into the floor. Breathing in deeply, push your entire body (except for your toes) off the floor. Constricting your abs, keep your back straight and balance all of your body weight on your arms and feet. Breathing normally, keep your back horizontal and maintain the position steadily for 20 seconds. Slowly lower your body to the floor and rest before repeating.

10. Sun Lift
Lie on your back. With your arms outstretched to your sides, lie on your towel or mat and grasp your weights with the palms of your hands facing up. Keeping your arms straight, constrict your abs and then lift your arms to meet one another above your chest. Breathe normally and hold this position for 10 seconds. Slowly lower your arms to starting position.

The Total Arm Workout
Because biceps are seen as the heavy-lifters of the arm muscle group, they often get all the attention when it comes to arm exercise. However, when the triceps are neglected, they become a haven for fat, creating that stubborn flab that plagues many women as they grow older. Even more importantly, if shoulders are neglected while performing arm exercises, the arms build muscle that cannot be supported by the rest of the frame, which can cause serious neck and back problems. The tips and benefits of arm exercises are only fully taken advantage of when used in a rotation that develops biceps, triceps and shoulders altogether. To fully maximize the benefits of these arm exercises, combine them with strength training of your other muscle groups like your core and lower body, along with aerobic activity and a nutritious diet. Achieving a long, lean look for your arms does not happen overnight. There is no quick exercise that will make you look fabulous in a few days. Attaining your perfection of body beautiful may take months, so make the commitment and be consistent and you will discover sexy arms in sleeveless tops once again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great information! I’ve been looking for something like this for a while now. Thanks!