If you have a little jiggle in the back of your arms, you’re not alone. Regularly working those arm muscles with resistance training can help you get a lean, sculpted look, especially if you combine strength workouts with frequent cardio exercise and a healthy eating plan. If you’re new to exercise, start with light weights and get a trainer or fitness professional to demonstrate moves before you try them yourself.
Triangle Push-Ups are a Winner
In 2011 the American Council on Exercise published the results of a study comparing muscle activity during eight different triceps exercises. In all test subjects, the exercise that worked the triceps muscles most effectively was the triangle push-up. To do it, get in a regular push-up position but then move your hands together so that the tips of your thumbs and your pointer fingers touch, forming a rough triangle shape. Tighten your ab muscles and move your shoulders back and down. Slowly lower your body by bending your elbows, making sure to maintain a straight line from your heels to your shoulders. Press back up with control. Do as many reps as you can without letting your form suffer. If the exercise is too difficult, try performing it on your knees rather than your toes.
Pull-Ups: Worth the Challenge
Pull-ups and chin-ups use your body weight as resistance, so you don’t need any dumbbells and can still work your biceps, shoulders and back. No pull-up bar? Hit the gym or try the monkey bars at your local playground. To do a pull-up, firmly grip the bar a little wider than shoulder-width with palms facing outward. Straighten your arms and hang, then pull yourself up until your chin is above the height of the bar. A chin-up is an easier variation – to do it, grasp the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart and your palms facing you. If you can’t do either one, try starting with a slight jump or performing a self-assisted pull-up by standing on a bench and using your legs and feet to help raise your body. Do one set of as many pull-ups as you can.
Lateral Raises for Sexy Shoulders
The lateral raise works your upper back and outer shoulder muscles. You can even combine the move with front, back or side lunges to work your legs and glutes at the same time. To begin, hold a dumbbell in each hand. Stand with feet hip-width apart and hands in front of your thighs, palms facing inward. Maintain a slight bend in your elbows throughout the exercise. On an exhale, slowly raise the dumbbells out to your sides, forming a “T” with your body. Stop at shoulder height and slowly lower back to the start. Do two sets of 12 to 16 reps. If the exercise doesn’t feel difficult as you come to the end, consider using heavier weights.
Get the go-ahead from your doctor before starting any new exercise routine, especially if you have an injury or a medical condition. In addition to doing cardio exercise three to five times a week, aim for two or three strength-training sessions during the week. Celebrity trainer Joel Harper notes that consistency is more important than the amount of time you put into your workouts. “You can’t just do it one week and expect results,” Harper told “The Huffington Post” in a 2013 interview. “You gotta just keep doing it over and over and over, because then the results come.”