The beginning of summer this week also marks the unofficial arrival of short-sleeve season. Get your guns ready with these thress easy arm exercises developed by our fitness expert, personal trainer and USA Weightlifting coach Michelle Blakely (blakelyfit.com, 773-680-6824).
This “killer” exercise (“I don’t know why these moves have such dramatic names,” Blakely says) is actually a series of three moves performed one after the other.
1 Hold a light dumbbell (or can of soup—“preferably chunky, as opposed to chicken broth,” Blakely adds) in each hand and stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Your body should be tipped slightly forward from your hips, while your chest is wide. Position your straight arms at a 45-degree angle to your sides, as shown. (It should look as if you’re about to flap your arms like a bird). Lift your arms to shoulder level and then lower them. Do ten reps.
2 Holding the weights in the same stance, position your arms in front of you. Keeping your arms straight and palms down, start at a 45-degree angle away from your body and raise your arms to shoulder level, then lower them. Do ten reps.
3 Holding the weights in the same stance, let your arms hang at your sides. Lift the weights up to shoulder height and then press overhead in one motion before bringing them back to your sides. Do ten reps.
Holding the weights and standing with feet slightly bent and hip-width apart, roll your shoulders down and back and hinge your elbows at your hips. (Face your palms forward and keep your chest out and abs engaged to prevent your shoulders from rounding.) Lift the weights to your shoulders and then lower back to the start position. Do ten reps.
Lie on your back on the floor, with your shoulders wide and neck long. Holding the weights, extend your arms over your chest, toward the ceiling. Keeping your upper arms stationary and bending from your elbows, slowly lower the weights to the sides of your head, then return to the start position. Do ten reps. Repeat the full circuit of moves two more times.