Fed-up with flabby arms? Firm’ em up! We asked Alexia Cornu for some pieces of advice.
With summer around the corner, we picture ourselves sporting bare arms in tank tops and low-cut necklines. Clearly we cannot hide under sweaters year-round, so read on for some tips from a personal trainer on how to improve this rather tricky part of the body.
Working out with heavy weights and targeting specific areas with a number of repeats to firm up your arms will tend to expand your arm muscles, which means your muscles become bigger in size.
However, I find that women rather want to tone their arms without an increase in muscle size. To achieve this, I recommend doing daily arm exercises with light weights and wide arm extensions. This will prevent the shortening of the muscle fiber and work on extending your muscle which strengthens the arms but keeps them slender.
Activities such as windsurfing, surfing, swimming, pole walking, yoga, etc. are ideal for toning your whole upper body (back, shoulders, biceps and triceps) without puffing up your muscles. As endurance activities that solicit muscle stamina, these activities are ideal daily workouts. It is however very important to stick to the principle of extensive, fluid movements if you want to slim down and refine your arms. For example, you’ll notice that your muscles will become bigger if you swim with paddles that create more resistance, especially if you do fast sets; this is because you have to apply a lot of muscle strength. In order to slim them down, always – and without fail – stretch thoroughly after your training to lengthen your muscle fiber.
The same applies to racket sports which tend to bulk out your arm muscles due to the strength applied by the muscles: Always remember to stretch if you want to maintain slender arms.
In addition, have a look at these exercise sets with cuff weights, or weighted gloves, that you can do every day. Some upper body stretches are included, too. Special weights are not necessary since a pair of water bottles or dumbbells will do the job just fine. So, no excuses!
Here is a video that illustrates the whole speech…
– IMPORTANT –
Perform the movements slowly and always extend your arm as much as you can.
If you want to tone and slim down your arms, I recommend weights between 2lb and 6lb each.
However, if you wish you build your muscles, feel free to increase the weight and the intensity of the movement.
Do 25 to 50 reps a day.
Always stretch after exercise! Stretching is as important as the actual exercise to tone and slim down your muscles.
Hold each stretching exercise for 10 to 15 seconds and repeat each stretch several times.