holiday arm workouts

Cocktail dress season is here! Assuming you’ve got a holiday party on your calendar, chances are, your arms won’t be staying covered up if you’re wearing some of the latest styles.  To give those arms a fitness makeover, we’ve got you covered so you can leave them uncovered. Keep in mind, you can’t “spot reduce” but, sticking to a fitness regimen for even a month can yield improved results.  So, with that said, these upper-body toning arm workouts will help you sculpt sleek arms and shoulders that will make you feel confident in that sleeveless number. Let’s get started!

What you will need: A set of dumbbells (5 to 8 pounds, or even use 1-liter bottles of water if you don’t have dumbbells)

Instructions: Perform 15 reps of each move only resting 30 seconds before going to the next arm exercise. Repeat the arm circuit two times. You can also jump rope in between sets to increase the intensity!

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Begin at the top of a push-up position with your hands placed directly under your shoulders. Keep your feet together and your midsection contracted and braced (A). Maintain a long body from head to toe, and lower down by bending your elbows out until your torso is about four inches off the floor (B). For a variation set: Keep your elbows tucked back towards your ribs. This places more work onto the front of your shoulders and your triceps. Immediately push back up to the start position, keeping your upper arms and elbows following the same trajectory as you did during the descent.

Standing V Raise

Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms at your sides, palms facing in (A). With arms straight but not locked, raise the weights diagonally in front of you, so that your arms form a V shape, until your arms are parallel to the floor (b). Hold for one second and then return to the starting position. This works shoulder muscles.

Shoulder Press

Holding a pair of dumbbells just above your shoulders, palms facing away from your body, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent (A). Press the weights until your arms are straight overhead (b). Hold for one second, and then take three seconds to lower the dumbbells back to your shoulders.

Bicep Curls

Stand up straight with a dumbbell in each hand at arm’s length. Keep your elbows close to your torso and rotate the palms of your hands until they are facing forward. This will be your starting position. Now, keeping the upper arms stationary, exhale and curl the weights up towards your shoulders while contracting your biceps.

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Triceps Kickback

Hold a dumbbell in your left hand. Stand in a split-stance position with your right leg forward. Keep your weight evenly distributed through the heels of both feet.  Place your right hand on your right thigh. Slowly lean forward, shifting most of your upper extremity body weight into the right side. Pull your shoulder blades down and back.  Bend your left elbow by bringing your left upper arm parallel to, and close to, your torso. Your forearm should hang vertical to the floor. Exhale and slowly straighten your elbow. Your upper arm should remain stationary next to your torso. Inhale and slowly bend your elbow, returning your arm to starting position. Do 15 reps on one side, then switch arms and leg stance with the other leg forward.

Arm sculpting tip: You can do arm workouts without weights as well. Try taking kickboxing classes, dance classes that use your arms (like Zumba), power walking with swinging arms, swimming, and resistance bands.

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Nutrition tip: The holidays are times where desserts are to be savored and food favorites are to be enjoyed, but, if you’re looking to firm up those arms, keep in mind that clean nutrition and fat loss plays a big part. To make sure you are reaching your health goals but still enjoying special seasonal treats, consider maintaining an 80/20 or 90/10 mindset. This means that either 80 to 90 percent of the time you are eating clean, and 10 to 20 percent of the time you are enjoying your holiday treats! Living in balance in key for long-term wellness.

– By SJ McShane

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