Just because it’s fall and you’re wearing long sleeves doesn’t give you the excuse to forget working on your arms. With one $10.00 band you can keep those tight summer arms all year round!*
When toning the arms you are working the following muscle groups: The Biceps (a pulling muscle), the Triceps (a pushing muscle) and the ever-important Deltoids (shoulders). I always tell my clients if they have nice, shapely shoulders it will give the appearance of a smaller waist—they’ll look smaller in proportion to your shoulders.
The following exercises can be done with a low or medium tension resistance band. These bands are the BEST because they are cheap, take up no space, travel easily and there’s a huge variety of exercises you can do with them. My favorite band is made by SPRI (click here to purchase from Amazon, $10.00); I find them the most durable. You can find bands at Wal-Mart, Target, and any sporting goods store. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend purchasing one. For $10.00, why not?
Deltoids: The shoulder muscles are made up of the Anterior (front), Medial (middle) and Posterior (rear) Deltoids.
This is the hardest of the shoulder exercises so I like to start with it. Place one foot in the middle of the band, the other foot steps through and in front. Holding the handles in your hands, with your palms away from you, press your hands up above your head. Straighten your arms up but don’t lock the elbows. Then bring the arms back down to a strong 45 degree angle. Repeat this 15 times and do 3 sets. You can throw in some jumping jacks or squats in-between sets to get your heart rate up (no jumping jacks if you are pregnant or newly postpartum).
Front and Side Raises:
Place both feet in the middle of the band about shoulder width apart. Palms face your thighs. Lift the arms up to shoulder height and back down. Do not hyperextend your elbows and be sure to keep your wrists neutral. Then lift your arms to the side, no higher than shoulder height. Repeat this by alternating front and side counting to 30. Do 3 sets. If it gets too tough, take one foot out of the band to produce less resistance.
Biceps: The biceps are pulling muscles; this means that when performing a pulling action you are using your biceps.
Stand with both feet on the band, shoulder width apart. Palms face away from your thighs. Pull your arms up by performing elbow flexion. Your humorous (upper arm) should remain next to your torso. Your knees remain soft, your spine neutral, your shoulders back and your wrists straight. Repeat this action 15 times for 3 sets. Again, in-between sets you can do some cardio to get your heart rate up or you can alternate exercises (shoulders, biceps, and triceps) with no rests in between. You will be resting one muscle group while you work another and doing all of these exercises quickly (something us mom’s need)!
Triceps: Triceps are a pushing muscle. They are also an area us ladies hold body fat. Do your arms jiggle when you’re waving goodbye? Then, these are your answer.
Stand with both feet on one handle of the band. The other handle is in your two hands (hands should be side by side) and the band should lie behind your back. Start with the hands just above your head and press up to straight (but not locking that elbow joint). Repeat this 15 times and do 3 sets.
When any of these exercises get easy you can do a variety of things to make them harder:
First, add more reps and sets. Or, you can take out the resting phase, do 45 reps without stopping! The great thing about these bands is that they aren’t super heavy so you will never get big and bulky from them. But, keep in mind that if your band is too light you may have to do lots of repetitions too feel it. I always tell my clients that they should feel that burning sensation but not PAIN. If it’s burning its working but you have to make sure it’s just the burn of a fatigued muscle, not the pain of a soon to be injury!
Second, if you step into a wider stance (wider than shoulder width) you will give yourself more tension and make the workout tougher. In the case of the overhead triceps, step more towards the center of the band to make it harder.
Last but not least, if you have done steps one and two and it’s still too easy you can buy a more resistant band. I always give my clients at least two different strength bands to use because some exercises need heavier bands (legs, back, and chest) and some need lighter. If you are using a SPRI band I recommend starting with the green (click here to purchase from Amazon), it is light but not super light (which would be the yellow color). Whichever brand you buy, if you purchase the light or medium you should have a band that lasts you a long time.
And remember–eat healthy foods, drink lots of water and exercise. It’s important for us mommies to exercise which will give us the energy to be happy parents. Most importantly it provides positive role models for our kids–I am proud to raise my kids believing that exercise is a part of our everyday routine. My 18 month old grabs the SPRI band and says “workout”!!!
*Remember, before performing any exercise if you are pregnant or newly postpartum, please get doctors clearance first. Always keep soft knees (not locked) and a neutral spine while doing these exercises. Don’t forget to breathe and exhale on the exertion (the hard part).
Written by Katie Kohn of Kohn Fitness.
Katie is a certified personal trainer and aerobic instructor. She currently trains clients and instructs for Baby Boot Camp in San Clemente, CA and Dana Point, CA. For information about personal training or Baby Boot Camp you can email Katie at email@example.com or visit www.babybootcamp.com
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