I’m always so flattered when people compliment me on my arms, especially since I feel that I look like a Sharpei, with my skin too big for me! My response? Tell them that my arms are purely decorative! Of course, that’s not entirely true since a strong upper body is incredibly useful. Being strong gives you independence! I never need someone to open a jar or put a heavy piece of luggage in the overhead bin on a plane! Thank you very much, but I can do it myself! Not to mention aesthetically, strong arms look good, just ask my client Ellen in her mid 70’s rocking the sleeveless shirts in summer.
So how do you get those elusive strong and shapely arms you’ve always wanted? Read on!
Typically speaking, I favor a functional approach to training the body by using integrated, whole-body movements. I prescribe exercises that involve squatting, lunging, pushing, pulling and rotating; However, I’ve found that if you want to put on a gun show, training those muscles in isolation is very effective, (in conjunction with all those lovely functional exercises I listed above).
Here are my four favorite arm exercises that get the job done! The good news is you’ll only need a rubber resistance tube and a set of dumbbells. Choose a light resistance tube for the ‘Triceps Walk-Back’ and heavier dumbbells for the other triceps and biceps exercises. Do these exercises at the end of your workout, after you’ve trained all your body’s larger muscle groups.
Loop a resistance tube around a pole to secure it and stand facing it, holding each handle in each hand. Now, fully extend both arms and extend your shoulders so that your hands are behind you slightly. While keeping your hands perfectly stationary, take small steps forwards and backwards maintaining an isometric contraction in your triceps. Remember to hold your shoulders down and back and look directly forward.
2. Supine Dumbbell Triceps Extension
Lay down with dumbbells over your shoulders and palms facing towards each other. Keep your elbows in a fixed position, bend your elbows to bring the weights to your ears. Then extend your elbows, keeping them in line with your shoulders.
3. Dumbbell Hammer Curl
Keep your elbows tight into your side ribcage, shoulders down away from your ears, and knees soft. Lift the dumbbells to your shoulders, keeping your palms facing each other. Lower without dropping or swinging the weights.
4. Dumbbell Concentration Curl
Isolate your movement by keeping the elbow stabilized and in line with your shoulder.
Stay tuned for the next installment: Bolder Shoulders and followed by Absolutely Abs