Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How to Get Great Arms With Just A Few Moves

Staying in shape not only improves your appearance but also helps you keep up with the kid.  Who knew!

We all did. 

Perhaps I didn't know just HOW important staying strong for a little one was.  From picking her up and putting her down to leaping up from a sitting position to chase her, I've learned the hard way that one must be physically ready to handle a kid.  My arms were sore the first few weeks I had Jordan because I wasn't used to carrying a child in so many different positions.  I've also dealt with a sore back because I wasn't ready for all the lifting associated with moving her around the house.  Instead of complaining about it, I'm proactive in my exercise routine to combat any muscular weaknesses.

But enough preaching.  Onto specifics.  A Facebook friend asked me to share my arm workout after seeing this recent picture.

My arms are not as "cut" as they could be.  I tend to carry fat just below my rear deltoids and above my triceps.  I'm benefiting from a good pose here (and not benefiting from a bad shirt that makes me look pregnant).  Regardless, my arms are pretty strong after a lifetime of lifting weights, practicing yoga, taking pilates and riding horses (an excellent full-body toner).  If I was more diligent with my diet, I would have that true "cut" look you see so many really lean women possess.

Ideally, I like to focus on each body part twice a week.  For example, I'll do a legs, shoulder and biceps workout on a Monday followed by a chest, back, triceps workout a day or two later.  I do two sets of 15 repetitions with three exercises per body part.  Following that, I will do one additional heavy full body workout, that focuses on every major muscle group with ab work interspersed throughout the week.   I like to mix up the muscle-specific exercises so that my muscles don't get too accustomed to a particular move.

Here are the exact exercises I incorporate into that aforementioned formula:

Bicep curls - 2 sets of 15 reps w/ 15 pound dumbbells
Incline bicep hammer curls (sitting on an incline bench) - 2 sets of 15 reps w/ 12 pound dumbbells
Reverse bicep curls - 2 sets of 15 reps with a 20-pound bar
"24" curls -  8-10 pound weights (8 curls up to mid-waist, 8 curls mid-waist to top of shoulder, 8 curls full range of motion)

Tricep overhead press - 2 sets of 15 reps w/ 10-12 pound weights
Tricep pulldown - 2 sets of 15 reps using 40 pound weight stack
Tricep dips - 2 sets of 15 reps using body weight
Tricep kickback -  2 sets of 15 reps using 8-12 pound weights
Close grip press - 2 sets of 15 reps using 15 pound weights
Jordan press - as many lifts as possible using Jordan as a weight.  You can totally exercise with your baby.  She loves it, too!

Front lateral raise - 2 sets of 15 reps, 8-10 pound weights
Side lateral raise - 2 sets of 15 reps, 8-10 pound weights
Rear deltoids flies - 2 sets of 15 reps, 8-12 pound weights
Shoulder circles - 20 forward and 20 backward, 2-3 pound weights
Boxing punches - 10 jabs, 10 crosses, 10 jab-cross combos on each side w/ 2-3 pound weights.

Yoga and pilates moves are also good arm shapers.  A solid power yoga session will have your arms burning 24 hours later.

A commitment to strengthening your arms will have in prime shape for caring for your baby with a bonus buff side effect, too.
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