Some people think of broad shoulders and muscular arms when they think of upper body workouts, but they provide more than just bulging muscles. They provide toning and sculpting. I have several clients in Dublin, CA, who focus on upper body workouts to eliminate bat wings—those flabby underarms nobody wants to show in the summer. Others want to improve their upper body strength to improve their posture, breathe easier and improve their upper body strength for better functional fitness, to prevent injury doing everyday tasks.
Using weights can help you slim arms and get trim quicker.
If you workout at the gym, weights and resistance training offer big benefits for arm, shoulder and upper back toning. Resistance bands are an inexpensive option, too. You can do this exercise with weights or even a water bottle filled with enough sand or water to make it an appropriate weight for you. Start with feet hip-width apart, bend forward at the hip with chest parallel to the floor and arms pointed to the ground. Pull the bottles toward you, while you press your shoulder blades together, then slowly lower them back down. Repeat several times for one set.
Bodyweight workouts are great upper arm exercises that you can do anywhere.
There’s nothing better to work your upper body than planks and push-ups and there are many modifications of each to help vary difficulty and work different muscle groups on various planes. Start with the basic plank that builds triceps, shoulders and core muscles. They’re simple, yet provide a tough workout. Lay on your stomach, raising up with weight on toes and forearms, elbows directly under the shoulders. Raise up and straighten arms. Hold. This is standard plank position. To make the workout tougher on upper arms and shoulders, lift one arm while in this position.
A dumbbell side raise tones arms.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand, keeping your arms by your side with your palms facing your body. Slightly bend your knees as you lift your arms straight forward until they’re level with your shoulders, then lower them again. After doing several sets, start an overhead extension that also tones arms quickly. Align feet with hips, gripping one dumbbell in both hands. Raise it over your head with it held vertically. Lower it behind your back slowly, until your elbows are pointing straight upward. Raise the dumbbell straight up again and repeat.
- Bicep curls focus on forearms and biceps. Hold a weight in one hand with palm facing upward. Bend your arm at the elbow, lifting the weight toward your shoulder.
- A wall push-up can be done anywhere. Lean against a wall with elbows bent and hands on the wall. Straighten your arms until your elbows are straight and slowly lower yourself against the wall.
- Keep it simple with arm circles. Stand with fee shoulder-width, extending your arms out straight to your side, creating a T. rotate your arms and shoulders making backward circles and then reverse direction and rotate them forward. Do ten each way for a set. Do three sets.
- Doing push-ups will provide a great upper body workout. You can do knee bent push-ups until you build the strength for traditional ones. At LIV Fitness, we have rowing machines and other equipment to make your upper body workout more successful.
For more information, contact LIV Fitness