By now you understand the importance of as well as the how-to of training your tricep muscles and cleaning up your diet to get those beautifully toned and strong arms. If not, click here to read my article from last week about triceps and arm ï¬‚ab.
In your face.
If you don’t clean up your diet, I don’t care how much weight training you do…your arms WILL look ï¬‚abby! So either do it now or stop complaining about your ï¬‚abby arms. This is a war against ARM FLAB! Right? No more grocery bag arms for you.
Training your tricep muscles for shapely arms is only half the battle. Now it’s time to hit the big guns to fully address the shape your upper arms. I am referring to your biceps. The biceps account for 1/3 of the muscle mass in the upper arm.
Generally, the biceps are fairly easy and comfortable to train. This is why most women spend more time working on their biceps and not enough time working out their triceps. But, if you want to look your best, you will have to do the work. The future of your arms is in your hands. If you don’t want to have arm flab sweeping the ï¬‚oor, you must train the biceps and triceps equally to achieve balanced strength and truly beautifully toned arms. OK?
We use our biceps in many daily activities, like picking up a stack of books, pulling open a heavy door, carrying a small child or lifting a laundry basket full of clothes. We’re used to engaging these muscles on a daily basis. Therefore, bicep exercises seem relatively easy to perform compared to other muscle groups.
The bicep muscles are involved in most “pulling” types of exercise. Even when we are targeting our back muscles, the biceps work as great assisters to us. Like when performing an exercise on the seated row machine–the back muscle becomes the primary mover and the biceps and forearms are secondary movers. Whenever you pull a weight or heavy object into your body, your biceps are working.
If you want to look your best, you will have to do the work. The future of your arms is in your hands!
Get your own. Here’s how!
How do we get the most effective results from training our biceps? Most women don’t want those “big guns.” Enough with the Michelle Obama arms (yes, they do look good on her). Just pretty arms please!
There are many exercises to train the biceps. Dumbbell exercises are easy to do at home or at the gym. Make sure you use enough weight to sufï¬ciently load the muscles in order to get the results you want. This means the last 3-5 reps of your set should be very challenging, almost miserable. If you can easily perform 10-12 reps, your weight is too light. Don’t waste your time. Heavy up! In contrast, if you are using your back or you can’t complete the full range of motion, then your weight may be to heavy. Find that sweet spot where healthy challenge lives.
Here’s an idea: Use 12 pound dumbbells for the ï¬rst set, 10 pounds for the second set and 8 pounds for the last set. Try to perform 3 sets of each exercise 10-16 times. Just try. You will only get stronger. Your arms will soon look fabulous!
Here are some exercises to help get you started.
Basic Bicep Curl
Sit up tall in a ï¬rm chair or on the end of a ï¬‚at bench. Hold a dumbbell in each hand along your sides. With your palms facing forward and your elbows tucked gently into your sides curl the dumbbells to your shoulders. This is the concentric (contracting) phase of the curl. With control, lower your dumbbells back to the starting position. This is the eccentric phase, or lengthening action of the muscle. Maintain a soft grip and be careful not to lock your elbow joint at the completion of the exercise. This exercise may also be done standing. Be very careful not to use your back. This can be tricky. Keep your body steady by ï¬rmly grounding your feet and holding your belly in tight. As always, stand tall and look straight ahead.
Positioning for this exercise is the same except the palms will face your sides. This curl will feel more challenging (perhaps really tough) because you are using less muscle mass to move the same amount of weight. Do it anyhow!
Open Grip Curls
Again, the set up is the same except your palms will now turn out.
Ins and outs
I love these curls! During this exercise you will alternate two of the previous grips. The basic curl (palms forward) and the open grip curl (palms turned out). These are tough…remain vigilant! No arm swinging aloud!
Single Arm Curls
To achieve balanced strength or just for a change, perform all your curls on one side ï¬rst and then change arms. Try starting with your weaker arm ï¬rst.
Body Bar Curls
If you have a body bar, straight bar or curl bar, add a few sets for variety. Please perform these exercises while standing. Grip the bar about shoulder width apart. Maintain a slight bend in the elbow as you complete the lowering phase of the curl. It’s very important not to over extend your elbow joint. Stand strong with these curls. Never let your weights overpower you! Mind over muscle is essential in weight training.
Any of the above bicep exercises can be initiated from the top of the movement emphasizing the lowering and lengthening of the muscle. Eccentric training combines stretching and contracting the muscle. Move the weight with mindful control.
Do the tricep and bicep exercises that I have taught you regularly. You have many options to choose from, so mix them up. Be careful not to get stuck in a rut of doing the same exercises with the same amount of weight every training session. You will get bored and so will your muscles. Variety is key. Work your biceps and triceps three times a week. Clean up your diet. Keep it lean and supreme. You can kiss those grocery bags goodbye for good! Happy curling!
Please contact me with any questions or comments!
Please check with your healthcare provider before beginning any exercise or diet program.