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Just in Time for Summer: Beach Body Arms Workout

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Just in Time for Summer: Beach Body Arms Workout

Now is the time to feel that summer breeze on your skin. This beach body arms workout will help you get shapely, sculpted arms and shoulders that look terrific in skin-baring halters, tanks and bikinis. For each exercise, perform three sets of 12 reps. For the best results, choose a resistance load or weight that is heavy enough to make the last set challenging without abandoning good technique.

Lat Pull Down

This exercise tones your entire upper body–arms, shoulders, back and core. You can perform the lat pulldown  using a cable or lever machine.

  1. Use straight handle that allows an overhand grip with your hands slightly wider than your shoulders.
  2. Sit up straight on the bench and lean back slightly. Your trunk should be almost vertical.
  3. Engage both shoulder girdles by pulling your shoulder blades back and puffing your chest forward. This position protects your glenohumeral (shoulder) joints.
  4. Slowly pull the handle down until it touches your collarbone. This is the concentric phase of the movement.
  5. Exhale smoothly as you pull the handle down.
  6. Slowly allow the handle to rise back to the starting position, inhaling as the handle rises. This is the eccentric phase.
  7. Do not pull the handle behind your head! This position puts a great deal of pressure on your shoulder joint with no performance benefit.

Advanced Version: Slow down the eccentric phase of the movement. For the pulling/concentric phase use a count of two seconds, 1-2. For the rising/eccentric phase, use a count of four seconds, 1-2-3-4.

Seated Row

The seated row works the muscles in your upper body, as well as mid-back and lower core. As with the lat pulldown, you can perform the seated row using a cable or lever machine.

  1. Use a handle that allows a neutral grip–palms facing each other and thumbs on top.
  2. Sit up on the bench with a slight backward lean and engage both shoulder girdles to protect the shoulder joint.
  3. Engage your core, including your back muscles and glutes, by pushing your feet firmly against the footrest.
  4. Slowly pull the handle toward you (concentric phase) until it touches your abdomen.
  5. Exhale smoothly as you pull and keep your elbows in close to your side.
  6. Slowly allow the handle to return to the starting position (eccentric phase), inhaling as it moves away from you.

Advanced Version: Use a two-second count for the pull/concentric phase, four-second count for the return/eccentric phase.

Seated Chest Press

Another exercise that targets the arms, chest, shoulders and core, the chest press can be performed on cable or lever machines. As a bonus, toning up the chest muscles helps increase your bust size.

One key instruction we have included in this exercise, a detail often ignored, is to use your entire body to perform the chest press. Engaging your core this way helps stabilize your shoulder girdle, and allows you to press more weight.

  1. Adjust the seat height so the handles are at mid-chest level, below your shoulders.
  2. Grip the handles overhand, with your hands slightly farther apart than shoulder width.
  3. Make sure both feet are flat on the floor and push them firmly into the floor.
  4. Engage your lower core muscles all the way around your body, including the abs (front), obliques (sides), QLs (back) and glutes (butt).
  5. Keep your core muscles engaged throughout the movement, and maintain your lumbar spine in a neutral curve. In other words, do not arch or flatten your low back.
  6. Your entire body–feet to hips to trunk to shoulders to hands–should feel connected and stable.
  7. Straighten your arms, pushing the handle away from your body. Exhale smoothly.
  8. Slowly allow the handle to return to the starting position while inhaling smoothly.
  9. Your bent elbows should be lined up horizontally, just below the level of your shoulders.

Advanced Version: On the last rep of the set (12th rep), allow the handle to return until your arms are bent at approximately 90 degrees. Hold the weight at this bent-arm position for a count of 15 seconds. Slowly allow the handle to return to the starting position.

Seated Overhead Press

This exercise targets your shoulders, arms and upper back. As with the chest press, engaging your legs and core turns this version of overhead press into a full-body exercise.

  1. Adjust the seat height so the handles are at the top of your shoulders.
  2. Grip the handles with your hands slightly farther apart than shoulder width.
  3. Make sure both feet are flat on the floor and push them firmly into the floor.
  4. Engage your core muscles all the way around your body and maintain a neutral curve in your lumbar spine throughout the movement.
  5. Your entire body–feet to hips to trunk to shoulders to hands–should feel connected and stable.
  6. Straighten your arms, pushing the handle up and overhead. Exhale smoothly.
  7. Slowly allow the handle to return to the starting position while inhaling smoothly.

Advanced Version: On the last rep of the set (12th rep), hold the weight at the bent-arm position for a count of 15 seconds. Your arms should look like a football goal post with your elbows bent 90 degrees. Slowly allow the handle to return to the starting position.

Standing Cable Triceps Extension

This exercise helps tone up the triceps of your upper arms, eliminating the dreaded upper arm flap. By performing this exercise in the standing position, you also work the core muscles.

  1. Adjust the cable so the pulley is overhead with the handle hanging down.
  2. Stand facing the pulley about two feet away and your feet shoulder width apart.
  3. Grasp the handle in an overhand grip with your hands shoulder width apart.
  4. Start by extending your arms down straight down. Keep your core engaged and do not let your low back arch.
  5. Keeping your upper arms close to your side, bend your elbows and allow the handle to rise up toward the pulley.
  6. Do not let your elbows come up as the handle rises; keep them pinned to your sides.
  7. Squeeze your triceps muscles, straighten your arms and lower the handle back to the starting position.
  8. Stand straight and tall throughout the movement. Keep your entire body engaged from feet to shoulders.

Advanced Version: On the last rep of the set (12th rep), perform five bottom-half pulses before slowly allowing the handle to return to the starting position. Perform the pulses by allowing the handle to rise until your elbows are at 90 degrees and then quickly straighten your arms back to the starting position.

Standing Cable Biceps Curl

This exercise helps tone up the biceps of your upper arms. As with the triceps extension, it is important to keep your elbows pinned to your side and not allow them to come up as you pull the handle upward.

  1. Adjust the pulley so it is at your feet and stand about two feet away with your feet shoulder width apart
  2. Grasp the handle in an underhand grip with your hands shoulder width apart and arms extended straight.
  3. Keep your core engaged by tightening your core muscles and glutes, and do not let your low back arch.
  4. Keeping your upper arms and elbows close to your side, squeeze your biceps muscles, bend your elbows and pull the handle up toward your chest.
  5. Slowly lower the handle back to the starting position by straightening your arms.

Advanced Version: On the last rep of the set (12th rep), perform five top-half pulses before slowly allowing the handle to return to the starting position. Perform the pulses by pulling handle to the top of the movement. Lower the handle until your elbows are at 90 degrees and then quickly squeeze your biceps and bring the handle back to the top position.

 

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