Warmer weather is on its way, and you know what that means: time to break out the short-sleeved and sleeveless T-shirts. If your upper arms aren’t as toned and sculpted as you’d like, now is a good time to step up your strength training. Do the following exercises at least twice a week, with weights you can really feel (no super-light dumbbells!), and you’ll be saying goodbye to those bat wings in no time.
- Use a military bench press (the bench with a short back that looks like a chair). This provides back support.
- Hold a dumbbell behind your neck, using both hands and keeping palms flat.
- Slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head (about 90 degrees) while holding upper arms up in the air.
- Return to starting position, pushing through your palms as you lift. It’s very important to just move your forearms, keeping the upper arms stationary beside your head.
- Use a low-backed chair. Follow same steps as above with dumbbells, if you have them, or a milk jug filled with water (hold by the handle).
- Try using a resistance tube. Stand on the tube with handle behind you. Working one arm at a time, pull up, then lower tube back down.
- Use the cable machine with short, straight bar.
- Facing the bar attachment, hold the bar with palms down and arms shoulder width apart.
- Keeping elbow close to your side and slightly back, push down the weight, concentrating on the triceps.
- Slowly (count to 3) raise up the bar so it’s aligned just under your chest. (Only your forearms should move during the exercise; elbows & upper arms should be stationary by your sides.)
- Lower the bar down again and repeat.
Do good old push-ups or dips:
- For push-ups, if you’re new to them, use bent knees. For those who are more advanced, do full body push-ups. You might even use push-up bars,
- For dips, with back facing chair, place palms flat on seat and stretch legs in front of you (bend knees for an easier exercise). Dip down, keeping upper arms stationary; push back up.
- Start with a dumbbell in one hand, palm facing your torso.
- With your back straight and knees slightly bent, bend forward at the waist. Your torso should be almost parallel with the floor and your head up, with your upper arm close to your body and elbow pointing upward.
- Keeping your upper arm stationary, lift the weight back (kickback) as you fully extend the arm. Concentrate on moving the forearm, squeezing the triceps muscle as it extends.
- Lower the weight to starting position and repeat.
- Follow the same steps as above using household items such as a water bottle, soup can, etc. instead of a dumbbell.
- A resistance tube is also a great alternative to a dumbbell. Stand on one end of the tube and use the handle at the opposite end to perform the kickback exercise.