A guide to toning up flabby arms
by Cathy Gatson
With Spring in the air and Summer just around the corner?it will soon be time to "change clothes and go"?sleeveless. If you've been shopping lately, you may have noticed many of the blouses, tops and dresses for Spring/Summer are haltered, strapless, or sleeveless, exposing lots of skin. The styles are sexy but flabby arms are not. If the backs of your arms are waving in the wind, then here are the most recommended and easiest exercises that I've found to improve muscle tone to your arms, shoulders and chest just in time for Spring.
The muscles you want to target are:
Biceps - located at the top of your upper arm. Clench your fist and make a muscle, the bump that should appear is your bicep.
Triceps - located at the back and below your upper arm.
Pectoralis Major & Minor - chest muscles
Push ups are a tried and true exercise which work the triceps, chest, and shoulders. You may modify the traditional push up by both knees on the floor rather than straightening them behind you. Place your hands on the floor in front of you, shoulder width apart and push your upper body away. Go at a pace that works for you but be consistent. Gradually increasing your reps. No need to go the gym for this exercise. You can drop and do 20 right before you climb into bed.
Kim King, head strength and conditioning coach for Olympic Sports at the University of Pittsburgh, suggests the following exercises:
Dumbbell triceps curl
· Stand erect with back straight and feet shoulder width apart.
· Hold dumbbell (if weights are not available substitute weights with 32 oz. waterbottles) in right hand and raise overhead with arm extended.
· Keep upper arm close to head and perpendicular to the floor.
· Slowly lower dumbbell behind head until forearm touches (nears) bicep.
· Raise dumbbell to starting position and repeat movement.
· Inhale when lowering dumbbell, exhale when raising (extending) arm upward.
· Repeat with opposite arm. This exercise can also be done while seated.
Dumbbell triceps extension
· Stand holding dumbbell in your right hand with palm facing in.
· Bend forward until your back is nearly parallel to the floor.
· Position left hand on left knee.
· Position upper right arm against side (parallel to ground) with lower arm vertical to ground.
· Press dumbbell back until arm parallel to floor.
· Pause for a moment, then lower dumbbell slowly to starting position, then repeat.
· Inhale when raising dumbbell, exhale when lowering. Repeat with opposite arm.
Hammer bicep curl
· Stand erect with feet shoulder-width apart.
· Hold a light dumbbell in each hand with arms extended down and palms facing inward.
· Keep upper arms tight against ribs and perpendicular to the floor.
· Raise one dumbbell at a time by flexing the arm at the elbow.
· Curl movement should bring dumbbell in line with the shoulder.
· Lower dumbbell slowly until elbow is fully extended.
· Repeat with opposite arm.
· Exhale during upward movement; inhale during downward phase.
According to the fitness manager at 24 Hour Fitness at Hilltop, Izaac Tyrell, the most effective way to reduce weight is "by eating a balanced diet (consisting of carbs, protein and a little fat), doing cardio-vascular exercises in combination with weight training".
Izaak reiterated what I've read in countless health magazines which is there is no "spot reduction" way to reduce fat in other words, there is no quick fix to flab-less arms!
If done correctly, the exercises mentioned, will yield noticeable results but only if incorporated with cardio exercises and a low fat, nutritious diet. Start now and by summer you should be able to brush your shoulders off and wave flabby arms goodbye!
Resources: For more information on weight loss, and exercise, The Ultimate Weight Loss Revealed by Brad Callen e-book has great fat burning tips and cardio exercise programs (www.free-weight-loss-resources.com). Another great resource for nutrition and exercise tips is www.ivillage.com. Winsor Pilates video available at Target for $29.95 an awesome program designed to tone and sculpt your entire body and help you lose weight. Tamilee Webb's, "I Want Those Arms" a good video for beginners to intermediate excercisers. available on VHS for $14.95 www.collagevideo.com
Cathy Gatson is a freelance writer and owner/operator of Yada Beauty Lounge, a hair and body salon in Northern California.