Fitness Articles

5 Gentle Exercises For Firmer Arms

Gentle Arm Toners Fight Jiggle

CHELSEA STREIFENEDER

You don’t need to lift 100 pounds or train for hours to sculpt and tone your arms. This gentle Pilates arm workout uses 2-pound weights to banish jiggle and turn your arms into long and lean machines—all it takes is just a few minutes a day.

You can do this workout at home, at the park with the kids, in your office, or when traveling. Or you could tack it onto the beginning or end of your regular workout. Just remember to start slow, listen to your body, and commit. Your arms will get stronger over time if you stick to a consistent program. That’s the only way to get lasting results.

Start with a 2-pound dumbbell in each hand. Repeat the full routine 2 to 4 times, and plan to do it 3 to 5 times a week.

Salute
Tones triceps, shoulders, back, core and legs.

Salute

PHOTOGRAPH BY CHELSEA STREIFENEDER

Salute

PHOTOGRAPH BY CHELSEA STREIFENEDER

Stand with feet hip-distance apart, bend your knees slightly, and lean your torso forward while keeping your chest lifted and pulling your core in to support your back. Make sure to keep your neck long as you bring your arms up and in front of your forehead with elbows bent and palms facing the floor. Inhale, extend your arms out in front of you at the same angle as your torso, keeping them shoulder-distance apart. As your armsgo up, pull your shoulders back and down. Exhale, draw your arms back to your start position. That’s one. Do 10 to 12 repetitions.

Serving
Tones biceps, shoulders, back and core.

Serving

PHOTOGRAPH BY CHELSEA STREIFENEDER

Serving

PHOTOGRAPH BY CHELSEA STREIFENEDER

Stand tall with heels together and toes slightly turned out into your Pilates 1st (a “V” position). Squeeze your heels and zip your inner thighstogether for extra leg work. Bring your elbows into your sides, arms bent at a 90-degree angle, palms facing up. Relax your grip on the weights as you engage your core; remember to pull your shoulders back and down. Inhale and extend your arms straight out in front of your shoulders as if you’re offering a serving platter. Exhale and use your back and the backs of your shoulders to draw your elbows back in to your waist—not behind your rib cage. That’s one. Do 10 to 12 repetitions.

Chest Expansion
Tones chest, triceps, shoulders, back and abs.

Chest expansion

PHOTOGRAPH BY CHELSEA STREIFENEDER

Chest expansion

PHOTOGRAPH BY CHELSEA STREIFENEDER

Stand nice and tall with feet hip-distance apart. Arms will be long at your sides with your palms facing back. Inhale and push your straight armsbehind you as far as you can without losing posture, form, or alignment. Make sure not to bend your wrists or elbows. Exhale and steadily bring the arms back to your outer thigh with control while keeping your collarbone open and your shoulders back and down. That’s one. Do 10 to 12 repetitions.

Shaving
Tones triceps, shoulders, back, core and legs.

Shaving

PHOTOGRAPH BY CHELSEA STREIFENEDER

Shaving

PHOTOGRAPH BY CHELSEA STREIFENEDER

Assume the same position as Salute: feet hip-distance apart, knees bent slightly, torso leaning forward, chest lifted, and core pulled in to support your back. Keep your neck long as you bring your arms up and behind your head with elbows out; extend the pointer finger and thumb of each hand and have them meet together in a “diamond” shape. Inhale and press your arms up and out over your head, maintaining the diamond shape throughout. As your arms go up, keep your shoulders back and down. Exhale and bring your arms back to your start position. That’s one. Do 10 to 12 repetitions.

Arm Circles
Tones triceps, biceps, shoulders, back and core.

Arm circles

PHOTOGRAPH BY CHELSEA STREIFENEDER

Arm circles

PHOTOGRAPH BY CHELSEA STREIFENEDER

Stand tall with heels together and toes slightly turned out into your Pilates 1st (a “V” position). Squeeze your heels and zip your inner thighstogether for extra leg work. Bring your arms up straight out to the sides in a “T” position, slightly in front of your torso with your palms facing down; you should be able to see your knuckles with your peripheral vision. Engage your core and start to circle the arms to the front maintaining your proper form and alignment. Keep the circles controlled and no larger in diameter than a dinner plate. Taking care that your shoulders are down and back, reverse the circles. Draw your ribs back as you feel energy extend through your reaching arms and fingertips. Do 10 to 12 rotations in each direction. For an extra challenge, repeat with the palms up.

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