There’s no doubt about it…bikini season is just around the bend and I have to say, I am EXCITED! Why? Well, as a mom of two, I am ready for the break. At this time of year I am finding myself singing the familiar song of Finding Nemo: “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…” Plus, even though I live in south Florida, and the beach is minutes away, we don’t get there as often as I would love to. But, during the summer, I typically take a day or two and the kids and I will go for a few hours after breakfast and then head back home for lunch, beating the afternoon showers that are so typical of Florida. Considering the time I will spend out there, now is when I kick up the workout notch and this arm workout is no exception.
Why warm-up before this arm workout, or any workout for that matter? A warm-up will increase body temperature and blood flow. This will enhance metabolic and cardiovascular response to exercise. Simply stated, it’s an advantage to you and your fitness advances. So warm-up girl!
- jog in place or on a treadmill
- do jumping jacks
- perform the following exercises with a lower weight
Perform warm-ups for approximately 5-10 minutes.
(Full video below).
Go through a full round of each of the below and then, do a round of the cardio kick. Each exercise should be performed for 12-15 repetitions with a challenging weight. A challenging weight will begin to burn during the last 2-3 repetitions. Remember, yes, it will burn, and can sometimes really burn…but that’s when the changes take place so keep going.
Bench Chest Press & Pullovers: Begin with the bench press. Lie on your back on a bench, spine in neutral and dumbbell in each hand. Shoulder blades moved down and back so they are in contact with the bench. Wrists neutral, elbows bent at 90 degree angle, inhale and then exhale as you press dumbbells towards the ceiling, elbows fully extended without locking out, inhale again as you bring dumbbells back down towards the chest. Repeat for a full set.
Move straight into the pullovers by using only one dumbbell. Straighten your arms up above your chest while holding the end of the dumbbell that is closest to the ceiling. Inhale and slowly stretch your arms up overhead while keeping elbows fairly straight. Once your arms are overhead, exhale and move arms back to the starting position of arms over your chest. Repeat for a full set.
Side note: In the video, you will see that I like to keep my legs up…Whatever your preference, just be safe and know that you can always research the move or hire a personal trainer to get one-on-one, in person direction.
Standing Tricep Kickbacks & Bicep Curls: I love to do my tricep kickbacks in a static one-legged deadlift position, so-to-speak. Halfway through the set, I will switch legs (umm..if I remember!). The basics of a tricep kickback are the same though.
Once you are in position to begin your triceps kickback, hold dumbbell in your hand, brace your abdominals, to stabilize. Bend your elbow and bring your upper arm up alongside your back and your forearm perpendicular the floor. Inhale and then on the exhale, straighten your elbow while keeping your upper arm stationary, squeeze that tricep. Inhale again while bringing your forearm back down towards the floor, bending your elbow. Repeat this for a full set.
For a different angle: I will slightly twist my hand once my elbow has straightened, so that my palm faces more upward. This will just give a different working angle on the tricep…not necessary, but something different and sometimes, it can be that tweak that make a difference in a plateau.
Move straight into bicep curls. In the video I did use a different weight. For the triceps I was using 8lbs and for the biceps I went to 10lbs. Remember, we are using what will give us a burn towards the end of the set. Holding weights, keeping arms near your body, arms straight, inhale and then while you exhale, bend your elbows, bringing your dumbbells towards your shoulders. Inhale and straighten your elbows as you bring the weights back down towards your side. Halfway through, I like to switch my arm position so that on the exertion (bringing the weight upwards), the weights are more at the side of my body as opposed to directly in front. Again, just as above with the triceps, its a different angle on the muscle and it’s just what I prefer. Repeat this for a full set.
Side-Body Tricep Press: This exercise is a little different. I grabbed it somewhere several years ago and will use it once in awhile. Because I am not fond of pushups, this is what I like to do. Plus, I find it to be something fun and different for the triceps. One thing I will also say is that this move gets me all wonky and if I don’t have my legs properly positioned, it is not comfortable. So, lie on your side, wrap your lower arm around and hang onto your shoulder. Place other hand on the floor inhale and then on the exhale, press your hand into the ground and push yourself up, straightening the elbow. Inhale and lower back down. Repeat for a full set on one side and then repeat for the opposite side.
CARDIO KICK: Body Dips are something I found from Zuzka. You will be in a crab crawl position and swiftly kick one leg up at a time for a total of 40-50 repetitions. It keeps your abs and triceps engaged and kicks up your heart rate as well. So you can pop this move into this workout in any sequence you see fit. I like to do mine after I have completed one round of each of the sequences above.
STRETCH and COOL DOWN
Ok, so my cool downs are typically just stretching. Be sure to stretch the major muscle groups from this arm workout: triceps, biceps and chest. You can also add in some back and shoulder stretches as well. Take a few deep breaths in and hold them before you exhale. This will help to bring your heart rate down as well as bring you into a calm frame of mind.