Wish you had firm, toned, feminine and shapely arms? Check out our work-out tips and say goodbye to your bingo wings!
A little lesson in anatomy
Your arms are made up of three major muscles:
-the bicepsare situated at the front, between the elbow and shoulder. They allow you to bend your elbow and move your hand. Used for powerful actions (heavy loads, quick movements), they unfortunately tend to increase in volume and look bulky. Use light dumbells to get feminine arms.
-the triceps are situated behind the biceps, between the elbow and shoulder. They are responsible for the bending movement of the forearm. In women, fat tends to build up and skin get flabby around the triceps, which is why it's important to use them regularly and intensively, especially as you get older.
-the brachioradialis is located between the elbow and wrist. It's functional, long and thin, and is involved in all arm movements.
Exercises to shape your triceps
1) Sit down on the edge of a sofa or chair with your hands positioned on each side of your bottom. Squeeze your shoulder blades, lift your bottom from the sofa and lower yourself by bending your elbows as much as you can, then push upwards and breathe out. Do 3 to 4 sets of 12 reps.
2) On the floor in press-up position, support yourself on your knees and hands only. Place your hands in line with your chest and no further than 10 to 20cm apart. Line your back up with your thighs. Bend your arms, keeping your elbows along the side of your body, and stop lowering yourself when you get within a few centimetres from your hands. Breathe out to raise. Do 4 sets of 12 reps.
1) Sit on a sofa, your back positioned against a support. Hold a 3-4kg dumbbell in both hands and stretch your arms upwards above your head, then bend your forearms behind your head so that you take the weight to the nape of the neck. Your elbows shouldn’t move, only the forearms. Breathe out as you lift the dumbell back up slowly above your head, arms stretched. Do 2 to 3 sets of 15 reps.
2) Go down on all fours, with your back flat and your head in line with your body. Hold a dumbell in your right hand and place your right arm along the side of your body, slightly higher than parallel with the floor. Stretch your right forearm to bring it in line with the arm. Only the forearm moves; the rest of the body should stay completely still. Bring the forearm back down again as you breathe out. Do 4 sets of 12 reps.
Exercises to tone your biceps
1) Sit down on a chair, legs open, back flat. Take a light dumbbell in your right hand. Place your right arm on your right inner thigh and your left placed on your left thigh to steady your back. Bend your right forearm, raise the dumbbell slowly, as high as you can, and then take it back down as you breathe out. Only the biceps contract and the forearm bends. Do 3 sets of 12 reps.
2) Stand up, with your arms stretched and firmly fixed against your body, and a light dumbbell in each hand. Lift your hands up towards your shoulders without bending your elbows. Bring them back down as you breathe out. Do 5 sets of 15 symmetrical reps then 15 reps alternating arms.
Sports to complement your work-out
- Swimming. There’s nothing better for shaping your arms! Breaststroke, front crawl, butterfly, backstroke: each of the different strokes works your arms in different ways so you end up with an amazing overall result. To intensify your arm work-out, try swimming with a pull-buoy between your legs.
- Racket sports. These work all the muscles in the arms. For arms of steel, give tennis, badminton or squash a go.
- Some ball sports. Because they involve throwing and hand/ball contact, handball, volleyball and basketball all contribute to developing muscular arms.
-Cycling, running, walking, aerobics and dancing. You might not realise it, but these all give your arms a work-out!