Now that the time has come for short sleeves, spaghetti straps and tank tops, prepare for the summer season with sculpted arms and shoulders.
Ranae Bart, certified personal trainer at Westwood Health & Fitness, shares a few gym exercises that will shape those limbs into the perfect condition. By the time you're done, your toned triceps and biceps will be screaming for you to show them off.
EZ-Bar Preacher Curl
This exercise employs a preacher bench to target your brachii, brachialis and brachioradialis – the muscles on the inner arm.
• Rest your upper arms on the sloping pad of a preacher bench and hold the bar in front of you, with your elbows bent about 5 degrees. Your hands should be about 6 inches apart. Keeping your upper arms on the pad, bend your elbows and curl the bar toward your shoulders.
Cable Overhead Triceps Extension
A cable station is used to work on the triceps brachii (located on the back of the upper arm), upper back and rear shoulder muscles.
• Attach the handle of a cable rope to the high pulley of a cable station. Grab the rope and stand in a staggered stance, one foot in front of the other, with your back to the weight stack. Keep your back arched naturally and your upper arms still during this exercise. Bend at the hips until your torso is nearly parallel to the floor, your front knee slightly bent. Hold the ends of the rope behind your head, with your elbows at a 90-degree angle. Allowing your palms to turn downward as you straighten your arms, push your fists and forearms upward until your elbows are locked; hands will be over head.
Weight-Plate Front Raise
All you need for this is a weight plate. The focus is on the front, middle and rear deltoids, upper traps, rotator cuff and serratus anterior – all muscles that cover or connect to the shoulder.
• To start, grab both sides of the weight plate. Bracing your core, lift your arms until they are parallel to the floor and at shoulder level. Be careful not to change the bend in your elbows as you raise the weight. Pause and then slowly lower the weight back to starting point.
Quick At-Home Solutions
Push-ups: Raise and lower your body using your arms. They can be done with hands propped on a stable surface, in standing position against a wall, or on the floor.
Arm Circles: Extend your arms at your sides to shoulder height and spin them around. Try forward and backward motions, with or without holding weights.
Bicep Curls: Bend your elbows so the forearm is in front of you, parallel to the ground, and curl your forearm to a 90-degree angle upward to meet your upper arm.