Words of Wisdom

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Great Arm Workouts...

So my little friend "bride-to-be" was looking for some tips on getting toned and in shape (especially her arms) for her upcoming nuptials (which I'm totally psyched for)...I gave her some ideas and then realized that maybe some other people might want to hear these ideas too!

Here they are:

Cardio: Spinning v. the Stairmaster
-The stairmaster is different than spinning because it keeps you in a "fat burning" mode rather than a purely cardiovascular mode.  It keeps your heart rate down so that you are burning fat more effectively...high intensity cardio like spinning or running keeps your heart rate up so that you are improving your cardiovascular endurance but not necessarily burning fat.
-A great exercise that does both is alternating running and walking on the treadmill.  Make sure to have at least a 1percent incline on the treadmill (otherwise it is an unrealistic flat road the whole time)...start by warming up then run for 5-7 minutes at a relatively rigorous pace followed by 3 minutes of fast walking...repeat the pattern for at least 30 minutes!
    *You can also try walking at a steep incline (6+) with handweights for 30-35 minutes (works your upper and lower body...bonus!)

Arm Toning exercises:
1. bicep curls: simple, straightforward and effective.  Try doing one set with arms regular, one with arms out to the side at and angle and the last set holding the dumbells like cans of soda (up and down)...these three slight differences will help to tone your biceps by using slightly different parts of the muscle...the trick is to keep your body guessing, that way it will work hard rather than simply falling into a routine where muscles can become 'lazy'.
-If you think you need to change something up, try a heavier weight.
2. Dips: legs out, arms supporting you...bring your arms down to 90 degrees then slowly bring them back up...great triceps exercise because it engages your core as well as your triceps.
3. One arm shoulder press:  Stand with feet shoulder width apart, one arm by your side and the other out to the side above your head with a 10-12lb weight.  Bring arm down to 90 degree angle then slowly push back up...try to do 10-12 reps per arm.
4. Bent over rows (10-12lb weight with 12 reps)...kneel with one knee on the bench and the other leg out to the side.  Place one hand on the bench and with the other bring the weight up to 90 degrees then back down (make sure your back is flat and your shoulders are square to the bench)

Also: push ups are great for arms...try to do them sporadically throughout the week...I like to do them while my shower is heating up (I try to do 10-15)

Another great arm exercise is the chest press on the balance ball because it works your core, arms, shoulder and chest!  (The best exercises are the ones that engage more than one muscle group!...2 for 1...always a winner)

Stretching:  Stretching after workouts is important for your muscles and can also help to lengthen and tone them as well...by stretching every day (even on days when you don't workout) you can help develop leaner looking muscles.

Lastly: I like to do weights twice a week...you can do up to three but I wouldn't do any more than that because your body needs time to recover.  The other days I try to mix up the cardio...spinning one day, the stairmaster, running/walking etc.  I also like to dedicate one day to be a "slow day"...usually a Saturday or Sunday where the only workout I do is take workout dog for a long walk.

Enjoy and let me know how you like these workouts!

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