The weather is heating up, which means, like it or not, you’re probably going to have to start showing a bit more skin. After all, it’s tough to hide yourself behind a bulky sweater and fleece when its 80 degrees outside. I suppose you could, but then you’d just look like a weirdo. So in the effort of not being a sweaty weirdo, we’re going to take be creating a serious of posts over the next few weeks that aim to help you make dramatic improvements in your “beach muscles”.
When I say “beach muscles”, I mean, your arms, shoulders, chest, abs, and legs. These parts of your body are getting a little more exposure now that we’re moving out of winter, so it only makes sense that you’d want them in tip-top shape. Today, we’re going to give you a killer workout that’ll help you build lean, toned, and sexy arms. These exercises differ a bit from more traditional bicep/tricep exercises, so they’re sure to give your muscles a new and tough challenge.
Before we go any further, there is one thing I should probably address. For all of you guys out there who are reading this, you’ll probably want to skip over this section…
Too many women shy away from doing heavy bi/tri work because they’re afraid lifting weights will give them super sized arms that would make this guy jealous. To be frank – these women couldn’t be more wrong. When a woman lifts weights and feels her arms are larger, it’s simply because there is still an abundance of fat covering the muscle she’s building underneath. Burn the fat and the arms magically appear “toned” and fit. The ironic thing is, lifting weights/building muscle improves your metabolism and propensity to burn fat. When you lift heavy weights you build more muscle, increase your metabolism, and start shedding that bulky fat at an increased rate. Simply put, if you want to burn fat and achieve a “toned” look, lift weights heavy enough to cause muscle fatigue.
Fat Burning Cardio Workouts
That said, strength training alone isn’t going to do much for your immediate fat burn. Cardio is of course going to play a part in any fitness goal that involves improving definition and appearance. For a cardio-focused workout to go along with these fit arm building exercises, I’d recommend any of the below:
Of course if none of those fits your fancy, we’ve only got about 468 other workouts, so browse around and find the perfect workout for you.
The Slim and Sexy Arms Workout
Your tight and toned arm workout is going to consist of four killer exercises. As I mentioned above, they’re probably a bit different from what you’re used to, so pay attention to their descriptions to be sure you’re performing them correctly.
First up, we have the drag curl. The drag curl is performed by pulling your elbows comfortably behind your torso, then performing a standard curl up. You should lightly squeeze your shoulder blades together to ensure your elbows are as far back as comfort allows. By performing a standard barbell (or dumbbell) curl in this format, you’ll be taking stress off your back and core; thus forcing the biceps to handle the full load of the weight you’re using.
Your position should look the one found in the above video. When your arms are straight and the weight is at the lowest position, do your best to keep your elbows “pinched” against your body. Don’t let them flail outwards or try to inch forward. Keep a solid position and aim to follow the same upwards/downwards path as you complete your drag curl repetitions.
Lying Dumbbell Curls
Next up, we’ve got another movement that even further takes the rest of your body out of the exercise and places full focus on the bicep muscles. Anyone noticing a trend here? Lying dumbbell curls are pretty straight forward. Lie down on a bench with enough room for your arms (and dumbbells) to hang by your side. Release all tension from the rest of your body and allow the weights to hang heavy in your hands. With one smooth movement, slowly curl the dumbbells upwards until they’re almost perpendicular to the ground.
The above video gives you a good idea of what lying dumbbell curls should look like. Notice the arms perpendicular to the ground, with elbows close to the bench. You’ll have to fight the tendency to let the weights just drop to the start position since you’ll be fighting gravity with only your biceps, so make an especial effort to take a slow and controlled up/down motion to maximize the benefits of this exercise.
Diamond Push Ups
Since your arms aren’t just made up of biceps, we’ve got to find a way to equally fatigue their counterpart, the triceps. One great body weight exercise that really hits the tricep is the diamond push up. Position your hand into the shape of a loose diamond, while maintaining a straight back plank position. Just like a regular push up, you’re going to slowly lower yourself (while keeping that back straight!) before reaching the bottom of the movement, then pushing yourself back up into the start position.
Your elbows are going to want to flair out a bit, which isn’t the end of the world if you’re brand new to this, but do your best to keep them as close to your body as possible. Over time, as your strength increases, the tendency for the elbows to pop out will decrease and you’ll be able to keep them more in line with the rest of your body.
Close Grip Bench Press
With the close grip bench press, we’re taking a compound movement and moving the bulk of the weight from your chest to your triceps. As such, you’re going to want to lower the weight because your tricep muscles are tiny as compared to your chest. Position your hands roughly 9″-12″ apart on the bar, and lower the weight just as you would a regular bench press.
Notice the start and finish positions are very similar to a standard bench press. The glaring difference is the position of the hands which makes all the difference in the world. You may be able to go heavier on this exercise than you think, so don’t be afraid to push yourself and really give those triceps a workout!
Bringing it All Together
Now that you’re armed (pun intended) with four amazing new exercises to target your bi’s and tri’s, it’s time to figure out how to use them best. My suggestion would be the following…
- 4 sets of 8-10 repetitions
- Use these exercises as part of a larger routine – feel free to sub in for standard bicep/tricep exercises.
- Be aware of the weight you’re using and look to increase the load every 1-2 weeks.
By using exercises your body isn’t accustomed to, you’re likely going to throw your muscles for a loop, which means better and faster progress. Be aware that some serious muscle soreness might hit you a day or two after using these exercises, but it shouldn’t be anything debilitating. Keep pushing, stay motivated, stay consistent, and these exercises will no doubt help deliver a pair of arms that you’re proud to show off all summer long.