During last week’s inauguration we got a glance at Michelle Obama‘s toned, fit arms in that gorgeous sleeveless gown she wore to the ball. The first lady has always had an admirable figure, but her arms truly speak to the dedication she has to her fitness regimen. They don’t come easy, but if you follow my guidance here, we can start working on a set of strong arms of your own.
We want to see the curves of the bicep and the nice little cap of the deltoids. We absolutely do not want to see the tricep waddle! A lot of curls and kickbacks may create some shape in your arms but they are not the most efficient way to build muscle and burn fat. So how does a girl build fabulous arms and shoulders?
First, I will tell you how it’s not accomplished.
Not with infomercial gadgets that promise you fantastic muscles in only 10 minutes a day.
Not with endless curls with soup cans or water bottles.
Not with starvation diets.
Here are my top five tips to get fantastic arms you want to show off in your tank tops and shoulder-baring dresses.
1. Compound body weight exercises are your best friend when it comes to shapely arms and shoulders. My arms and shoulders look their best when my workout includes pushups, chin ups and bench dips. Don’t worry if you can’t do a standard push up or unassisted chin up. There is a push up variation for everyone and a progression plan to help you achieve your first chin up.
2. Superset those compound body weight exercises with a barbell or dumbbell exercise targeting the same muscle group(s). For example, pair bench dips with tricep press downs or try cable curls after your pushups. Your goal is also to keep your heart rate up to help burn fat, so don’t rest in between paired exercises.
3. Do exercises and stretches for your posture. Rounded shoulders take away from the beauty of a defined upper body. If you sit at a computer all day, or have a job that requires you to be in a hunched over position, take stretch breaks. Stand up frequently, clasping your hands behind you with your index fingers pointing down and roll your shoulders back to stretch out your shoulders and open up your chest.
4. Train your upper body at least twice per week. Don’t follow your boyfriend’s plan – biceps and back one day, chest and triceps the next – that hits each muscle group only one time per week. The female body needs to train differently to stimulate muscle change while burning fat at the same time. Instead try strength training four days per week, alternating upper and lower body, so you hit each muscle groups two times per week.
5. Eat clean. Building gorgeous muscles means nothing if you can’t see them for the fat layer on top. You also need good nutrition to help the muscle repair and rebuild. Clean out the junk food and make sure you eat plenty of lean protein, vegetables, fruit and healthy fats. Starvation diets do not build strong and shapely muscles!
Give me your action plan. What are you going to change in your upper body routine to ensure awesome arms for spring break?
Get Jennifer Aniston’s Sleek Yoga Arms
photo credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
January 29th, 2013