Shape Up for Summer! Shapely Arms and Shoulders

summerAs the weather gets warmer, sleeves get shorter and shorter, then sleeveless, spaghetti straps and strapless fashions prevail!  Are your arms ready for the summer?  Here are some tips and exercises for lean, shapely arms this summer – fast!

First of all, the muscles to target for well-defined, toned, sculpted arms and shoulders are the biceps brachii, the triceps brachii and the deltoids.  These muscles are the most superficial, thus performing exercises specifically for them can yield quick results.

Biceps:  The biceps brachii flex (bend) the elbow, so anytime you are picking up groceries, a child, your dog, etc., you are exercising your biceps.  The key to toning the bicep completely is to choose light weight and increase the number of repetitions.  If the weight is so heavy that you can not straighten your arm fully, then decrease the weight in order to achieve full range of motion.  Stand with your weight evenly balanced on both feet and hold the weights in your hands.  You can even use a stretch band… simply stand on the middle of it. instructors-053 Exhale and bend your elbow for three counts, lifting the weight.  Then inhale, extend your elbow for three counts lowering the weight.  Perform 10-20 reps, or as many as you can maintain impeccable form!  You can choose to work one arm at a time or both simultaneously.  As you fatigue, be careful not to use momentum by throwing your weight backwards.

Triceps:  The triceps brachii extend the elbow, so actions such as throwing a football or even brushing your hair use the triceps!  As stated above, choose a weight that allows you to achieve full range of motion, so that you tone the full length of the muscle.  In this exercise, stand with your right foot forward in a moderately deep lunge (you should arms-2not be straining your hamstrings or adductors.)  Tilt your torso forward over your legs with your abdominal muscles pulled in tightly for support of the spine.  Lift your elbows so that your shoulders and elbows are in the same line, parallel to the floor.  The weights in your hands will be right under your shoulders.  Exhale, extend the elbows for three counts so the entire arm is parallel to the floor, then inhale and bend the elbows for three counts to return to the starting position.  Make sure you are keeping your head in line with the rest of your spine and the shoulders down while performing these exercises!  You can use a stretch band for this exercise, too!

So, we’ll tackle the deltoids and other muscles that you should pay attention to for great shoulders and great posture next time!  In the meantime, try Pilates in Ten Arms from our podcast or “Strong, Shapely Arms” from completely free!


April 28, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, Postings.

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