I LOVE feeling strong. I used to live in a world where I never thought muscles on a woman were sexy and that you must be stick thin to be considered beautiful. I was always scared to do weights for fear of getting bulky, or in my case SUPER VEIN-Y. Yes, I have some serious veins that pop out in heat or with any exercise that any nurse would go crazy over. I have come to accept these veins of mine (for the most part) and have decided that feeling strong is way better than starving myself to just be skinny and super weak.
I have to be completely honest with you though...weight training has never been something that has come easy. Running comes easy for me (most of the time) but when it comes to weights, I have to find some serious motivation to do it. So while I have decided to be completely honest here, I have to tell you that since I have started my training for the half marathon I have totally abandoned my weight training over the past few weeks. It has been so sunny outside and all I have wanted to do is be outside and do what comes easy.
I have decided to challenge myself to choose strength while also choosing endurance for my runs and making sure I at least do strength training twice a week. Soooo I decided to put together my favorite arm workouts for you in hopes that you will join my challenge to workout more than just your legs.
So here you have it: MY SIX FAVORITE ARM WORKOUT!
Let's get started! Don't forget to start with a warm up! Try doing two minutes of jumping jacks to get your arms and legs moving while getting your heart rate up. These isolation exercises may not make you break too much of a sweat so if you are like me and love to sweat, throw in a minute or two of jumping jacks between each exercise.
1. Bicep Curls with Leg Lift
Standing in upright position, lift one leg up to 90 degrees to help stabilize your core muscles. With your palms of your hands facing outward, exhale and curl your arms up and contract your biceps. Make sure not to swing your arms up and focus on a slow and controlled motion. Keep your elbows close to your side but do not rest them on your body when curling up. Once your hands have reached your shoulders, slowly extend your arms back out and down to sides.
***Try doing 10 biceps curls on each leg, 3 sets total using 8-12 pound weights
2. Triceps Kickback
Hold a dumbbell in your left hand and stand in a split-stance position with your right leg forward as shown below. Place your right hand on your right thigh and lean forward, pull your shoulder blades down and back and try to keep both shoulders facing forward. Bend your left elbow, bringing your left arm up and keeping your forearm parallel to the floor. Exhale, and slowly straighten your elbow, bringing the weight back. Your upper arm should remain stationary and your back should remain straight with shoulders down and back. Now inhale and slowly bend your elbow, returning your arm to starting position and repeat.
***Try doing 10-15 on each side, 3 sets of each using 8-12 pound weight
3. Overhead Press
Standing with feet shoulder width apart, brace your torso by contracting your core muscles and slowly lift the dumbbells to shoulder height. Pull your shoulder blades down and back and remember to maintain that position throughout the whole exercise. Exhale and press the dumbbells overhead until your elbows are straight without arching your back. Inhale and slowly bend your elbows and lower the dumbbells to shoulder position, contracting your back and arm muscles to bring the dumbbells down and repeat.
***Try doing 10-15 reps, 3 sets total using 10-12 pound weights or less
4. V Raises
Standing with legs wider than shoulder width, place dumbbells in front of you and bend down into squat position. Keep your back straight, shoulders down and back and head looking forward. Exhale and slowly raise your arms our into a V shape (thumbs facing up), while coming up out of the squat but keeping your legs slightly bent. Dumbbells should be perpendicular to the floor and at shoulder level. Inhale and slowly lower your arms back down and into the squat position, remembering to always keep your back straight and shoulders back. Repeat.
***Try doing 10 reps, 3 sets total using 5-10 pound weights
5.Deadlift To Row
Start by standing with feet shoulder width apart while holding the dumbbells down at your side and in front of you. Bend forward, keeping your back straight, shoulders back, and core muscles engaged. At the bottom of your deadlift, pull one arm back into a row, contracting your back muscles. Extend arm back down to ground, then repeat on the other arm with body still bent forward. Come back up slowly, keeping your back straight and shoulders down and repeat.
***Try doing 10-15 reps, 3 sets total using 10-12 pound weights
6. Triceps Dips
Can you tell I like to work my triceps? Place legs out in front of you with knees bent at 90 degree angle with toes pointing up. Place hands close to your glutes, straightening your arms and lift your glutes up and off the floor. Bend elbows, bringing your body down but still not touching the floor and straighten back up. Again, remembering to keep your shoulders down and back and core engaged.
***Try doing 10-15 reps, 3 sets total
I literally did these last night and my arms are feeling that good kind of sore this morning. There are so many great arm exercises out there but these are definitely my go-to ones. Try these 6 exercises out and join my challenge to not just keep your heart strong with running but also keep your muscles strong as well.
MUSCLES ARE BEAUTIFUL and it is time that we stop trying to be the stick thin models with no body fat (or muscle). Who is ready to join me in this journey to get strong?