5 Exercises for Amazing Arms

By: VICKI VARA, Owner of the v.method and certified mat and reformer Pilates instructor

In the middle of winter, it’s hard to believe we will soon be shopping for sleeveless tops. If you can, think ahead a few months to when the warm weather hits and you are reaching for lightweight shirts and tank tops. Will you be comfortable bearing those shoulders, waving to a friend, and wearing a strapless dress? To eliminate arm exposure stress this year, get started with our ultimate arm workout today!

Begin by taking a look at the foods you eat. We canʼt just decide to begin an upper body strength program without first focusing on our diets. Certified strength and conditioning coach and fitness blogger, Joseph Lopez, reminds us that if we want to achieve those cut lines in the shoulders and triceps, we need to concentrate on the diet more than anything else. The lower your body fat percentage is, the more those muscles will begin to pop. A diet high in lean proteins, veggies, and whole grains will help to fuel our lean muscle mass and increase metabolism. Focus on a diet made up of 20 percent lean protein, 30 percent healthy fats, and 50 percent complex carbohydrates (fruits, veggies, and whole grains).

Once you have mastered your diet, it is time to get started on your fitness plan. Plan on a full body strength training program 3-4 times a week with the addition of cardiovascular exercises. Make sure you allow at least 48 hours for the muscles to rest and repair before working them again. Try incorporating some or all of these exercises; making sure to increase repetitions and/or weight as you go, as well as varying the exercise order for optimal results.

Arm circles

Old school arm circles help to define both the front and back of the shoulders and target that back fat jiggle. To preform them properly, stand with your abdominals engaged so your torso doesnʼt swing, and take your arms through the full range of motion. Fight to keep your arms up as long as possible and keep them as straight as you can. For an added benefit hold one pound weights or do your arm circles while holding a squat or a lunge.

Push-up or reverse curl

Place hands on the floor with your feet on a stability ball (the farther away the ball is from the body the harder it will be). Engage the core, bend the knees, and roll the ball underneath your torso and back out. Then, with your leg straight, bend your elbows and lower your upper body down toward the floor into a push-up. Push back up until your elbows straighten and repeat the abdominal curl Alternate between the two exercises for 10-15 repetitions.

Alternating bicep curls

Hold 8-pound weights in front of your body with your palms facing in and your legs in a wide plie squat (knees and toes rotated to the sides). Squat down and curl your right arm towards your chest. As you lower it back down, lift the left keeping the core engaged. For variety rotate the palms up or add a small pulse with the legs.

Plank walk

Beginning in a forearm plank position, raise your body up into a full plank position one arm at at time. As you raise up, be sure to keep the core engaged so your body doesnʼt shift from side to side. Place your wrists directly under your shoulders in the full plank position and hold it for one deep breath. One arm at a time, lower yourself back down to a forearm plank and repeat for 5-10 repetitions.

Rope overhead tricep extension

If you have access to cable equipment, Lopez recommends the overhead extension for an efficient upper body movement. “Stand with your back away from the cable and bring the rope handles to a point just in front of your forehead,” says Lopez. “From this starting position, engage your core for a solid base and without moving your shoulders extend your arms all the way out in from of you and then slowly lower back to the starting position.” Repeat for 8-12 repetitions. This exercise forces the triceps into full extension at the end of exercise for maximum definition.

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