Getting your arms ready for tank-tops and summer

I found myself telling my client the other day that my arms were my favourite body part, a statement I would have never said just a few short years ago. Not that my arms were horrible – just I never really paid attention to them.

One of the most frequent comments I get from my female clients is that they don’t want to bulk up their arms – you know “Madonna arms” as they say. And in turn, many of them ask me to concentrate on cardio, abs and toning their legs. Arms are always left off the list – the forgotten body part. However, when it comes to summer, your arms are the first body part you bare.  Think about that sleeveless cami you wear under your suit jacket or the tank top you wear on the weekend. Fit, toned and strong arms will not only make you appear sleeker and slimmer, but yes ladies, even a bit younger J

And get this, to get fit, toned and strong arms, you don’t have to hit the gym and pump the iron. It’s as easy as owning some 5lb weights. Not excited about weights, what about a nice stable chair! Moms, you can even incorporate your new little one with your arm exercises.

Here are just some of my favourite exercises to help tone and shape those arms:

With weights:
Bicep curls, triceps kickbacks, and lateral shoulder raises  – Do 3 reps – first one of 20, rest for 10 seconds, then 15 reps, rest for 10 seconds, then 10 reps and rest. Do these 3-4 times a week. Want to add some intensity? Ensuring your form is still intact; try speeding your reps up, i.e. 20 reps in 20 seconds, 15 reps in 15 seconds and 10 reps in 10 seconds. Want to add even more intensity, try opening your hands up on the weights rather than a closed clenched fist.

Without weights:
Push-ups – You can either do full plank push-ups on the ground, or my favourite, using a stable chair against the wall, my couch or if you’re outdoors, a park bench. Also, don’t feel pressured to do a full plank push-up – a Pilate’s push-up (or a girl push-up on knees) is just as effective.

Triceps dips – Ensure you have a stable elevated surface such as a chair against a wall, or couch, or park bench.

I like alternating between to two – 20 push-ups, switch to 20 triceps dips, 15 push ups, 15 triceps dips and finally 10 push-ups and 10 triceps dips. 3 times a week will give your arms a good workout!

To increase the intensity, the lower the elevated surface, the more intense the movement, also increase your speed. To decrease, use higher elevated surfaces, switch to Pilates push-ups, or decrease the number of reps, i.e. starts with 15, then 10, then 5, for example.

For new moms:
For little ones less than three months old, or who cannot yet hold their head up, I suggest laying them comfortably on a mat underneath you and then doing a Pilates push-up, bringing yourself far enough down to kiss their forehead, or tummy, depending on their position. Not comfortable with them right under you, try beside you. When your little one is a bit older and can hold their head up, try laying in a supine position (on your back) and doing some modified chest presses, starting with baby on your chest, holding them firmly by the waist with both hands, and pushing them up. Repeat 10 times and then give baby a wee rest.  You can do this one or two times a day and daily if baby really likes it!