Although we are in the midst of winter, warm weather is only a few months away. Now is the time to ramp-up your fitness program in order to look your best by this coming spring. Here are two simple exercises to tone and shape your arms just in time for short-sleeve weather.
Alternating Dumbbell Curls
The alternating dumbbell curl is one of the best exercises for toning and shaping your arms. It strengthen and develop the biceps -muscles in the front of your arms and forearms. Hold a dumbbell in each hand (palms toward your body) at your side, position your feet shoulder width apart, slightly bend your knees, and hold your chest high. This is your starting position. Slowly curl one dumbbell rotating your palm outward toward your shoulder squeezing your bicep at the top of this motion. Slowly return to the start position, and repeat with the other arm. Your breathing pattern is to exhale as you curl up and inhale as you return to start.
The second staple exercise to tone and shape your arms is the triceps press-down. Triceps presses strengthens and develops your triceps - muscles in the back of your arms. Find the rope that has a ball on each end, and attach it to the cable machine a little above your head. Step back about a foot from the rope, position your feet shoulder width apart, and bend your knees slightly. Grasp the rope tightly with your hands resting on the balls. Bend your elbows to where your forearms are just above parallel to the floor and lift your up chest. This is your start position. Slowly press your hands down until your arms are fully extended and then slowly return to the start position. To get the full effect of this exercise, it is very important to keep your elbows still at your sides throughout the movement. Breathing pattern is to exhale as you press down and inhale as you return to start.
To be most effective, I recommend you do 3 sets of 10 repetitions of these exercises 2 times each week (with at least 2 days between sessions). Use a resistance with which the last 3 repetitions are difficult to complete.