Saturday, October 8, 2011

Strength Training - Arm Workout

Hello my friends!  Last week, I gave you a little pep talk to get you past those big beefy boys in the gym and promised you a really good workout to follow.  Here's a pretty basic workout I use for my arms and my back.  When doing these workouts, remember to always keep your core engaged (contract your ab muscles as if someone was about to punch you in the stomach - if you get the feeling like you're trying to go to the bathroom, you're doing it wrong).  Keep your back straight and shoulders slightly back.  If you slouch, you could throw off your balance and hurt your back.  Workout both sides of your body and opposing muscles (shoulders/chest, biceps/triceps) and always use the same weight for each arm, even if one is stronger than the other (no brainer, right?  But I've seen it happen).  Use a slow, controlled motion - don't speed through these workouts.

- Bicep curls: stand with your feet shoulder width apart, core engaged, back straight, shoulders relaxed. Hold a free weight in each hand.  Starting with your right hand, bring the weight up to your shoulder and then lower, careful not to lock your elbow.  This was one rep.  Do 8 reps in a row to complete the set.  Repeat on the left side.
- Tricep extension: place your left knee and left hand on a bench, leaving your right foot on the ground.  Pick up a free weight with your right hand and bring your elbow to a 90 degree angle.  Extend your arm behind you, making sure the weight doesn't go any higher than 2 inches above your back.  Bring your elbow back to a 90 degree angle.  That was one rep.  Do 8 reps in a row to complete the set.  Repeat on the left side. *When doing this workout, make sure that your back is straight and flat, use a mirror to check*
- Rows: using the same position as the tricep extension, grab a free weight with your right hand and bring your elbow to a 90 degree angle.  Lower the weight, being careful to not lock your elbow.  This was one rep.  Do 8 reps in a row to complete the set.  Repeat on the left side.
- Chest press: lie on the bench with your feet on the floor, a free weight in each hand.  Keep your elbows at a 90 degree angle and bring your arms out to your sides, keeping them perpendicular to your body.  Extend your arms straight up, being careful to not lock your elbows, and bring the weights so they're almost touching.  This is one rep, do 8 reps in a row to complete the set.
- Shoulder raise: stand with your feet shoulder width apart, holding a free weight in each arm.  Bring your arm up in front of you until it is parallel with the ground, then lower back to your side. Then bring your arm up to your side until it is parallel with the ground, then lower back to your side.  This is one rep.  Do 4 reps in a row to complete the set.  Repeat on the left side.

If you've ever worked out with a machine before, you will immediately feel a difference after using free weights.  Free weights engage all of your muscles, resulting in a better workout.  When you're ready to use heavier weights, you can either increase the weight but not the number of sets to build muscle or keep the weight the same and increase the total number of sets to 3 to tone your muscles and improve your muscle endurance (which is what I do).

I hope you found this post useful and informative, also don't be afraid to print out the workout and bring it with you!  Remember, be confident, polite, and focus on you!  Happy exercising!

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