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Toning and Strengthening Your Upper Arms

Toning and Strengthening Your Upper Arms
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Some spare tires happen above the waistline. Actually,  my waistline.

The moment of truth happened when I was standing in front of my bathroom mirror.  I reached up to slip my hair into a ponytail and there they were, staring  me in the face: flabby, loose slabs of flesh gently dancing under my upper arms like two shingles swinging in the wind.  I took the excess skin and stretched it tight with my opposite hand, the same thing people do to their faces when simulating a facelift to see what was and what could be – a taut, lean arm. This visual echo was most unsettling to witness.  When I was younger, my fat at least seemed to stay in one solid place and stopped moving when I did.  Now, my upper arms have paunches of their own.  I’m not happy, but I’m not alone. It’s a problem many women face due to aging, inactivity or a combination of both.  Elbow-length sleeves will cover it but it’s time to get to work.

Game Plan

The upper arms tend to serve as a thriving community center where fat cells gather.  Key muscles that need to be worked to tone tighten and strengthen your upper arms and make them leaner are the triceps muscle located at the back of the arm and the biceps. Effective exercises for the area are triceps extensions, biceps curls, pushups, pulldowns, and shoulder presses. Two or more exercises focused on that area, for example bent-knee pushups on a step followed by triceps extensions, wake up and stimulate the muscle fibers more effectively than one exercise alone.  Triceps extension exercises can be performed in a variety of ways such as with free weights when standing or on a stability ball. These are functional exercises and will help to make everyday activities easier and more comfortable if you work out consistently and diligently.

Adhering to a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates and lean diet while moderately cutting back calories is key to reducing fat. In tandem with a full-body exercise program that incorporates the larger lower muscles along with cardio, this lays the foundation for achieving your goals.

It’s essential that you allow muscle groups to rest in between focused workouts by alternating days as to give muscle fiber tears a chance to repair themselves. You make strength gains during recovery.

Don’t Get Discouraged

Although it can be easy to forget when you’re lost in the throes of dismay and embarrassment at having flabby upper arms, improving your total quality of life is what’s really at stake. Improving how your arms look is just one component of it. Making functional activities easier is almost certain to help you do that. Increased energy, the relief of not having to strain and struggle, and being able to do things you love longer and better can’t be underestimated, whether it’s climbing a flight of stairs with bags of groceries in your arms without getting winded and your legs burning, or dancing all night. Stronger, healthier upper arms play a part in that.  I was there once, and am in the process of getting back.  Join me.

Jordana Landres is a freelance writer and editor who watches entirely too many cat videos on Youtube.  She has a passion for discovering the most effective and enjoyable ways to get and stay strong and healthy.



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