Q. Holy cow, you're armed! How can i build a shapely set of arms like yours to show off year-round?
My arms receive a lot of attention, and I'm often asked how I train them. I'm flattered that you ladies think so highly of my arms, but I want you to know that you can sculpt your own with hard work, too!
First, I want to address the attitude of some of my clients toward arm training. They complain about having to go through the drudgery of yet more biceps curls and triceps extensions. Well, I believe that arm training doesn't have to be such a drag.
Here's my little secret: I skip machines on arm day. I love the fact that working with free weights forces my stabilizer muscles to work, allows for a more natural movement, and requires me to control both the load and direction of the movement.
Keep this in mind as you blast through the following exercises. Remember that during a giant set you want to perform each exercise in quick succession to constitute one giant set. Rest no more than 60 seconds, but resting at least 30 seconds is generally advised.
This fast-paced workout will challenge your muscles from all angles. You'll work with kettlebells, dumbbells, and bands. You'll also throw in some cable work and a few of my favorite cardio moves to top off this upper-body booster! It's guaranteed to keep your heart rate elevated throughout the entire workout, with exercises thoughtfully included to optimize your time in the gym and make you work hard towards results.
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I want to clarify a couple of the plank exercises since they may be ones you've not heard of.
First, the plank up-down starts with a normal plank position. Starting with the left arm, and without compromising the plank form, lower your elbow to the floor until your arm is 90-degrees, and then lower your right arm so that both your elbows are now contacting the floor. This is the down position. Now push yourself back up with a little triceps activation on one side and follow it with the other side to return to the starting position. That's one. Do each rep as quickly as you can to make it challenging!
The plank jack combines a plank with jumping jack. With your elbows firmly glued to the floor, hop and spread your legs into a Y and then hop back—the sort of leg action that would characterize a jumping jack. That's one plank jack, Jack. Now repeat!
Shoulder Work Ahead, Too
Let's not forget the oft-underrated yet most lovely part of the arms: the shoulder. It's this shapely set of shoulder muscles that caps off an equally shapely set of arms. Just as I love adding variety to my arm workouts, I mix up my shoulder workouts, too. Maybe I'll switch it from dumbbell shoulder presses to leverage shoulder presses; or perhaps drop the dumbbells completely and reach for kettlebells or the cables. Variety is the spice of life when it comes to my workouts.
Here are a few of my favorite shoulder exercises:
- Arnold dumbbell press
- Lateral raise
- Rear delt raise
- Front raise
The shoulder raises above can be done with dumbbells, kettlebells, cables, or even a resistance band. I love alternating between the various tools in the gym to keep things interesting. If I'm traveling, I can easily pack a resistance band with me to do lateral raises, rear delt raises, and front raises in the hotel room or at the hotel gym.
Remember, arm day doesn't have to be endless biceps curls. Try my routine out and let me know how your arms are turning out after 6 weeks!