5 exercises for toned arms
Friday 23 October 2009
With Christmas just around corner, you now have the perfect excuse to start looking for that fabulous little black dress.
But wait - your legs might look great (thanks to our guide to perfectly toned legs!), but does your upper body need a little work?
Fear not! You can improve your silhouette in five easy steps with our simple exercises to tone and shape your upper arms and shoulders. They can even be done in the comfort of your own home without having to go to the gym. Result!
Always make sure to warm up properly before exercising to prevent injury and have lots of water handy to avoid dehydration!
What it will do: This military style exercise is great for building upper body strength.
* Start by laying chest-down with your hands at shoulder level, palms flat on the floor and slightly more than shoulder-width apart, with your feet together and parallel to each other. Make sure to look forward rather than down at the floor so that the first contact you make with the floor is your chin, not your nose.
* Straighten your arms as you push your body up off the floor. Keep your palms fixed at the same position and keep your body straight. Exhale as your arms straighten out. Pause, then lower your body slowly towards the floor. Bend your arms and keep your palms in fixed position. Keep your body straight and your feet together. Lower your body until your chest touches the floor.
* Keep your knees off the floor, and inhale as you bend your arms. Pause for a moment. Begin straightening your arms for a second push-up. Exhale as you raise your body.
Dumbbell Triceps Extensions
What it will do: This exercise will tone the muscles in your upper arms without making you look like a body-builder.
* Using a seat with a back support (but not too high), sit and position your hips slightly forward.
* With your elbows overhead, lower your forearm behind your upper arm by flexing your elbows. Flex your wrists at the bottom to avoid hitting the weights on the back of your neck.
* Raise the weights overhead by extending your elbows while hyper-extending your wrists. Return to the starting position and repeat for a set of 6.
What it will do: This exercise will shape and tone your mid-upper arms
* Stand up straight, with your knees slightly bent. Place your feet hip distance apart, making sure your toes are pointing forward and keeping your shoulders even. Hold the weights in both hands, palms facing upward, with your elbows positioned next to your waist and rib cage.
*Position your arms so the weights are directly above your thighs and your elbows are slightly bent. Breathe out as you slowly and evenly lift both your forearms upright to shoulders to a full bicep curl.
* Breathe in as you evenly and slowly lower both arms down to starting position. Remember to squeeze your bicep muscles as you lift down, instead of letting gravity do the work. Repeat exercise for a set of 8.
What it will do: This exercise is perfect for toning up your shoulders and will work wonders for your posture.
*Start by standing upright with your arms by your sides, holding light weights.
* Squeeze your shoulders forward, then lift them upwards, then squeeze them backwards, then pull your shoulders downwards, repeating five times.
*Now reverse the whole motion by beginning with squeezing the shoulders backwards, then up, then in front and finally down. Repeat five times. You can start by doing one set and then increase it to two sets.
What it will do: This exercise will sculpt your upper back. Ideal if you are a fan of strapless dresses!
*Grasp appropriately weighted dumbbells and bend over at the waist while maintaining spinal alignment. There should be only a slight bend at the knees, and the torso should be bent over at a 45 degree angle.
* Exhale, retract the shoulder blades and draw your arms up towards the ribcage. Inhale and extend your arms back to starting position at a controlled speed.
* Lower your back to starting position. Repeat ten times, rest and then start another set.
By Toyin Owoseje
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