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The Right to Bare Arms

The Right to Bare Arms

Story at-a-glance -

  • Without healthy diet and exercise, fat storage combined with flabby triceps muscles can leave the back of your upper arms with a jiggly appearance
  • Simple upper-arm exercises using hand weights, such as biceps curls and the lateral shoulder raise, can tone up your arms in about four to six weeks
  • Body-weight exercises, such as push-ups, can also help to tone up your arms

By Chris Freytag

After receiving several emails in a row about how to get rid of the jiggle arm fat, I thought it was a worthy subject to write about.

It's time to tone up those arms that will now be bared for the world to see!

Why the Back of Your Upper Arm is Such a "Hot Spot" for Fat

Through my years of being in the fitness industry, the arm area (shoulders, triceps, and biceps) has really shown to be a hotspot of attention for women.

Why do women tend to find their arms so "unbareable" in the first place?

I think the answer lies in the fact that like your hips and thighs, the back of the upper arm is a spot where women typically store fat.

(If you have ever been tested for body fat with calipers, you will notice that the back of the arms is a spot that they test).

Without healthy diet and exercise, the fat storage combined with flabby triceps muscles can leave you with the jiggly appearance most women loathe. The good news is that upper-arm exercises with hand weights can provide pretty quick gratification.

I have to say, though, that beyond looking good in whatever outfit you want to wear, having strong arms is empowering! If you regularly do upper body exercises, I guarantee you'll get a kick out of how much stronger and self-reliant you'll feel…instead of asking for help with those stubborn jars, you'll be able to open them yourself…garbage bags and laundry baskets will feel lighter…picking up your toddlers or grandchildren will feel better!

If you start today and are consistent, you can start to feel stronger and look sleeker in 4 to 6 weeks. Here are a few exercises to get you started …

Four Exercises for Sleeker, Stronger Arms

*For all four moves below, choose hand weights that are heavy enough to fatigue somewhere between 12-15 repetitions. If you can do 15 reps and feel like it is easy, try something a little heavier…but don't overdo it either!

1. Front Shoulder Raise: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding weights down in front of your thighs, palms facing you. Keeping your elbows slightly bent, raise your arms up in front of you until they are parallel to the floor. Don't shrug—keep shoulders relaxed and don't raise your arms above shoulder level. Lower back to starting position.

2. Lateral Shoulder Raise: Standing with your feet hip-width apart, hold weights at your sides this time, palms facing each other. Keeping elbows slightly bent, raise arms straight out to the sides until they are parallel to the floor. Again do not go higher than your shoulder level. Lower back to starting position.

3. Biceps Curl: This is a classic. With feet hip to shoulder width apart and knees bent slightly, hold a weight in each hand with your arms down by your sides, palms facing forward. Bend your elbows to lift the weights toward your shoulders, stopping when they are at chest height, palms facing your body. Slowly lower back to the starting position.

4. Triceps Overhead Press: Stand with feet hip-width apart (or sit in a chair). Clasp one weight with both hands. Extend your arms straight overhead, elbows close to your ears. Bend your elbows to slowly lower the weight behind you. Keep your elbows close to your ears. Contract your triceps and straighten your elbows to return to the starting position.

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Body Weight Exercises can Also be Very Effective

  • Push ups: Stretch out on the mat or floor, or if you are a beginner, start on your knees instead of your toes. Keep your hands under your shoulders and a little wider than shoulder-width. Bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle and lower your body, keeping your abs tight. Don't sag in the low back – keep a neutral spine.
  • Tricep dips: Sit on a bench, with your hands next to your thighs. Lift your butt off the seat and move your body so it's slightly in front of the seat. Keep your knees slightly bent. Bend at the elbows and lower your body several inches. Keep your shoulders relaxed and elbows pointed back. Push back up to starting position.

About the Author

Chris Freytag is a health and fitness expert, blogger, author and motivational speaker. She has been teaching fitness classes and personal training for over 20 years. She is a contributing editor for Prevention Magazine; the fitness contributor for the NBC affiliate in Minneapolis; and sits on the Board of Directors for the American Council on Exercise.

Chris has authored 5 books; has created dozens of fitness DVD's; is a top trainer for Exercise TV; and sells her signature line of healthy kitchen and fitness products on QVC. Visit Chris' website, and Facebook page, for more information.