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Amazing Arms in 3 Moves

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Beginner Exercises

1. Single-Arm Pull-Downs

Target: Triceps

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding an end of a resistance band in each hand.
  • Extend your left arm diagonally up and your right arm diagonally down, palms out.
  • Bend your right elbow, bringing right fist and forearm in toward your chest.
  • Do 8 to 10 reps; switch arms and repeat.

2. Resistance Band 180s

Target: Biceps

  • Stand on the center of a resistance band, feet shoulder-width apart, arms down at sides. Hold an end of the band in each hand, palms facing each other.
  • Bend both elbows, keeping them tucked into sides, to bring hands up toward shoulders while rotating wrists 180 degrees so that palms face out at the top, then lower.
  • Do 8 to 10 reps.

3. Resistance Band Side Raises

Target: Shoulders

  • Place the center of your feet on a resistance band and stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold an end of the band in each hand, arms straight down at sides, palms facing your body.
  • Raise your arms straight out to the sides to chest height so that they are parallel to the floor.
  • Hold for 2 counts; lower and repeat. Do 8 to 10 reps.

Intermediate Exercises

1. Chair Dips

Target: Triceps

  • Place two sturdy chairs across from each other. Put both hands on the edge of one seat and your feet on the other.
  • Bend elbows 90 degrees, lowering yourself toward the floor and keeping elbows below your shoulders.
  • Straighten arms to raise body back up.
  • Do 8 to 10 reps.

2. Twenty-Ones

Target: Biceps

  • Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, hold a 5-pound dumbbell in each hand, arms at sides, palms facing out.
  • Bend both elbows 90 degrees. Hold for 2 counts, then lower arms to start. Do 7 reps.
  • Next, start with elbows bent 90 degrees, and curl weights up toward shoulders. Hold for 2 counts, then lower back to start. Do 7 reps.
  • Return to start and curl dumbbells all the way up to your shoulders; lower. Do 7 reps.

3. Perpendicular Raises

Target: Shoulders

  • Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair, feet together. Hold a 5-pound dumbbell in each hand, arms straight down at sides.
  • With palms facing down, raise left arm out to side until it's parallel to floor.
  • Keeping left arm raised, extend right arm in front of body until it's parallel to floor and arms are perpendicular.
  • Hold for 2 counts and lower. Do 8 to 10 reps; switch sides.

Advanced Exercises

1. Single-Leg Triceps Push-Up

Target: Triceps

  • Get into push-up position, thumbs touching and hands directly under chest.
  • Raise right leg 3 inches off the floor.
  • Keeping abs tight, leg lifted and head in line with spine, bend elbows about 90 degrees.
  • Push up to starting position. Do 8 to 10 reps; switch legs.

2. Single-Hold Dumbbell Curls

Target: Biceps

Hold a 5-pound dumbbell in each hand in front of hips, palms facing out, feet shoulder-width apart. Bend right elbow 90 degrees, then curl left hand up toward shoulder with elbows close to ribs.

Lower left arm back to start, keeping right arm in place. Do 8 to 10 reps; switch sides.

Next, curl both arms toward chest. Do 8 to 10 reps.

3. Roundhouse Raises

Target: Shoulders

  • Hold a 5-pound dumbbell in each hand with arms at sides, palms facing each other and feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Keeping elbows slightly bent, raise arms to the sides until they are at shoulder height. Rotate arms until palms face up, and lift weights over your head.
  • Slowly lower back to starting position, turning palms down. Do 8 to 10 reps.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, August 2006.

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