It’s the first Friday of the month, which means it’s time for the newest edition of Fit Friday! This month’s focus is all about your upper body. I have to be honest with y’all… This is NOT one of my strong suits. My upper body strength is quite pathetic, but it’s been so awesome to see how far I’ve come the past few years. Today I wanted to share some of my favorite toning moves to sculpt your arms and look like a bombshell! I’m also sharing some tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way to avoid injury while still pushing your body to become stronger.
I know this seems like a “duh” statement, but I forget to warm up sometimes too! By doing something as simple as 30 seconds of arm swings, shoulder rolls and jumping jacks, you’re able to warm up your upper body in just a few minutes. I get shoulder pain in my left shoulder every once in a while, but I’ve noticed that when I make sure to warm up beforehand, it helps tremendously!
Stretch after your warm up (before your workout) and during your cool down. When you stretch, you are elongating and increasing circulation in your muscles, which helps in recovery. It also helps build muscle and decreases soreness the next day. Keep an eye out for some of my favorite stretching moves in a future Fit Friday post.
This is one of my favorite things to do, especially if I have taken a few weeks off of really working out my arms (I blame you, half marathon training!). The goal is to start with a slightly heavier weight, like 8 lb dumbbells and after one set, drop down to a lighter weight, like 5 lbs to finish out the move. This is great for building muscle without pushing too far and hurting yourself. And after a while, you’ll realize that it get’s easier and easier, and that you are able to go longer with the heavier weight than before.
One of the easiest ways to injure yourself is doing a move with improper form. With all the technology we have nowadays, it is SO easy to look up a move real quick to make sure you’re doing it properly. If I’m ever unsure of what I need to do, or how I need to stand, I like to Google the move and check myself before continuing. If your gym or home has a mirror, use it to make sure you’re keeping proper form… Or in my case, the reflection in my TV.
I’m serious, y’all. This is a biggie for me. If I’m too sore to move correctly, I probably don’t need to be doing a toning workout on top of that. Or if you notice you are no longer able to do your reps correctly, either lower your weights, do it with no weights, or move on to another move. When you don’t listen to your body, you can over work and injure your muscles and joints… And who wants that?
Just make sure you aren’t using that as an excuse to NOT work out! ; )
Repeat each move 10 times for 2-3 sets! Allow 30 seconds of rest between each move.
Start with your arms hanging down, then raise them up to shoulder height, keeping your arm slightly bent, and lower.
Raise your arms to each side, keeping them slightly bent, and lower.
Start with your palms facing out and resting on your legs. Curl up to your shoulders, then flip your hands so they are facing out again. Press up as high as you can, then lower.
With your palms facing inward and hands close together, raise your hands up towards your chin, stopping at mid chest. Make sure your elbows do not raise higher than your shoulders. Lower and repeat.
With your palms facing each other (and weights perpendicular to the ground, curl up to your shoulders, then lower halfway (your arms should be at a 90 degree angle). Flip your hands so the palms are facing up, then rotate your arms out, keeping your elbows against your abdomen. Return to center, and lower the rest of the way.
Lunge your right leg forward, making sure your knee does not go past your toes. Rest your right hand on your bent leg, and grab a weight in your left hand. “Pull” the weight from your knee to your abdomen.
Time to take it to the floor! Hold a dumbbell in each hand and when you crunch up, punch to the right side with your left hand and to the left side with your right hand, then crunch down.
Get in a bridge position, with your feet aligned below your knees and lift your bottom. With weights in your hands, start at your shoulders and press straight up. Make sure you don’t end up with the weights pressed above your head, or past mid chest.
In the same bridge position, hold your weights directly above you. Lower both arms straight out to the sides- you should feel this in your triceps, biceps and back. Return to the starting position and repeat.
Set the weights aside. Get in a crab position (think back to elementary school!), with your feet flat against the floor and your hands positioned behind you, fingers facing towards you. Lower your body using only your arms, bending at the elbow until you reach the ground, then push back up. You can also do this using a chair, coffee table or couch.
Hold either an elbow or full plank for a minute to end the workout! Lower the knees to rest if needed.
Now it’s your turn to talk! Answer one of the questions in the comments below:
What’s your favorite arm/upper body move?
Did you get your workout in today?