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It’s really easy to get stuck into performing the same, stock standard moves for your arms. A few that come to mind are: bicep curls, tricep dips and push ups. Women are generally petrified of getting “bulky” when it comes to training their arms and whilst I can understand that your extra body fat (perhaps on the triceps) could be mistaken for bulk, this simply couldn’t be further from the true. I sound like a broken record here but women simply lack the genetic make up to “get massive” from muscle bulk. Lifting, especially to strength and lean up the arms, should be an essential part of your workout. Neglect your arms and they will lack that firmness that so many women covet. Women generally lack strength in the upper body, so a few new moves to target that area will be a welcomed inclusion. These are 5 of my favourite exercises and I can vouch for their effectiveness. Our goal here is sexy, shapely arms. Definitely nothing big, bulky or unfeminine. These target the back, chest, shoulders and arms.
Perform all of these moves for 10RM, for 3-4 sets. You can have a small recovery rest in between sets (keep it under 1 min). With these moves, think about the muscle groups you are targeting and really hone in your brain power to connect with your movement.
1. Underhand Grip Pull Ups
Try this on the assisted pull up machine before you graduate to unassisted. Pull with the back, arms and shoulder blades. Try a slower decent and don’t forget to breathe
2. Standing Unilateral Dumbbell Lateral Raise (also called Lean Aways)
This has to be one of my favourite arm moves, it gives me that envious shoulder shape (in the front of the arm near the armpit) and great pump directly after. I’ll always get a few extra sets of these in, motivated purely by staring at myself in the mirror! There are few moves that make me feel amazing while doing them but this definitely is one. You can use a dumbbell or a cable, with the handle attachment and cable fixed to the very lowest setting. Minimal weight to start off, don’t let your form slip. Even I use quite “baby weight”. Also feel free to switch up the hand position to- try with the inside wrist facing the thigh or mirror. No jerking just a nice smooth pull.
3. Cable High Face Pulls
Great for the read delts and upper back muscles that can get a little lazy due to poor posture. Use the rope for this move and the cable fixed quite high. I like to keep my elbows up and back the whole time, don’t let them drop.
A body weight move you can do anywhere. Start with hands flat and walk out with your hands till you reach a plank position. Great as a bonus core move. Make sure you are evenly walking out on both hands. This will help those with flexibility issues also.
5. Standing Cable Straight Arm Push down
Another favourite and nice variation for the back. You would have definitely incorporated a lat pull down in your upper body routine, this is a modified standing version, still engaging the lats. Perform this slow and controlled and with not loads of weight. I personally just push down with my hands open (as in the image) I don’t grip the bar. This helps engage and squeeze the lats without excessively using the chest or shoulders.
What are some uncommon upper body exercises you’ve tried recently? Comment below
*All images sourced: Google