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  • Deanne Pandey

Getting a Structured Toned Upper body



Want to be able to carry all your grocery bags in a go and rock that halter summer dress? Strong toned arms is your way to go. Indeed, with the current situation, going to the gym is not the most practical choice. But the weight racks and gym equipments play a major role in getting a tones upper body. Resistance training that improves your upper body strength is the best way to get lean, toned and strong. Use your own body weight or, even better, add dumbbells or kettlebells. If you do not have dumbbells and kettlebells, try using water bottles and books to add to the resistance. If you strength train three times per week, you’ll feel a difference in strength in about two weeks, and you’ll actually see a difference in four weeks. For each arms workout, choose any combination of at least eight different arm exercises targeting various muscle groups.


Here are some exercises to get well-defined, toned arms with and without weight-



With weights


1. Lateral Raise


Stand tall with knees slightly bent. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, let your arms hang by your sides, palms facing in. Keep a slight bend in your elbows as you raise your arms out to the sides until the dumbbells are level with shoulders. Lower your arms; complete 8 to 12 reps.


2. Overhead Extension


Works on triceps, shoulders, upper back. Stand with feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent, gripping the dumbbell with both of your hands. Reach your arms overhead, holding the dumbbell vertically. Keep wrists straight. Bend your elbows, lowering the dumbbell behind your head. Keep your upper arms close to your head and elbows pointing toward the ceiling. Straighten your arms upward; repeat to complete 8 to 12 reps.


3. Two-Arm Kettlebell Swing


Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms hanging relaxed in front of you, and holding the kettlebell with both hands. Bend your knees and lower the kettlebell down between your legs. In one quick movement, come out of the squat by straightening legs while swinging arms forward to eye level. The kettlebell should feel weightless at the top of this movement. Repeat for one minute.


4. Dumbbell Punch


Works on your entire upper body. Hold dumbbells while standing with feet shoulder-width apart and knees soft. Punch your arms out in front of you one at a time for one minute; as you alternate back and forth, keep dumbbells at shoulder level. Avoid jerking your body, but do allow your hips to move naturally as you punch.




Without weights


1.Plank to Upward Dog


This works on the chest, arms and lower back. How to do: start in a plank position, tummy tucked in and body aligned in one straight line from head to toe. Lower down slowly toward the floor, elbows tucked in towards your waist. Hold. Raise up to an upward dog position, shoulders away from your ears and back. Go back to plank position. Hold and repeat. Reps: 12 to 15.


Modified Version-

How to do: start with knees on the ground. Then lower yourself into a a partial push up position, just above the ground with elbows tucked in. Hold. Move to upward facing dog position. Hold. Get back to a partial push up plank position. Repeat.


2. Plank, Leg lift, Push up


Works on the arms (triceps, shoulders, biceps) and upper body, lower back and the core. How to do: start in a plank position with one leg lifted straight out. Keeping the leg lifted lower down slowly in a controlled manner. Hold just above the floor with elbows tucked in. Reps: 8 right leg lift and 8 left leg lift.

3. Superman


This exercise works the shoulders, lower and upper back, glutes, hamstrings and increases core strength. How to do: Lie on your tummy, lift your hands and legs up like in a superman pose. Keeping your legs lifted, move your hands towards your lower back. Hold. Bring your hands to the lower back and then take them to the front, as if you were swimming. Reps: 15 reps.


4. Elbow Plank to Downward Dog


Works on triceps, shoulders and upper back. How to do: start with an elbow plank position with tummy tucked in. Lift up from this position to a downward dog and back in one movement to an elbow plank. Repeat. Reps:10-12 times.


5. Tricep Push-ups


Works on the tricep/wobbly arms or granny arms. How to do: Start with a plank position, place your arms together, fingers in a diamond position. Thumbs touching and four fingers forming a diamond shape. How to do: Lower your body down slowly to almost above the floor. Elbows go out to the side. Hold. Raise back up. Repeat. Reps: 12 times.


6. Plank to Push Back


Works on the upper back, arms, the core and hips. How to do: Start in a plank position. Move back to a push back position with chest touching your thighs and knees turned outward. Stay on your toes. Hold. Go back to plank position. Repeat. Reps:15-20 times.


All of the 6 exercises are to be done in 3-4 sets. Make sure to breathe. Do not hold your breath. Keep the movement slow and controlled. Take minimum rest between reps. Between sets take 2-4 minutes rest. The idea is to do these exercises non-stop. When you break into a sweat the metabolic rate improves.

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