Get fabulous arms and shoulders

Would you like to flaunt well-defined arms and shoulders this summer? Getting the look is not all that difficult! All you need is some space at your home, a full-length mirror and several pairs of different weight dumbbells.

You need a full-length mirror to monitor your technique. And dumbbells of different weights are necessary in order to progress as you get stronger. Alternatively, get a pair of adjustable dumbbells and plates of different weights.

dumbbells

When working out with weights, choose the weight that challenges you, but allows you to perform the exercise correctly. Once you can do 12 or more reps with relative ease, it is time to increase the weight. Decrease the weight if you tend to use momentum or swinging motion to raise the dumbbells, or if your body falls out of alignment with the effort.

Remember, properform is crucial. Make your movements slow and controlled and hold the top position for a moment. Breathe smoothly and efficiently, inhaling at the starting position and exhaling at the top of the move.

Let’s grab the gear and get the arms and shoulders workout started!

Biceps and triceps

Arm isolation exercises are mostly about working biceps and triceps, the muscles along the front and back of upper arms.

Bicep curls rule supreme when it comes to toning the front of upper arms. There are many variations of this exercise. The standard bicep curls and hammer bicep curls are among the most popular.

bicep curls

In standard bicep curls, the palms face up, while in hammer curls they face each other. In both cases, elbows are close to the body, but not resting on it. Shoulders and elbows need to remain as still as possible throughout. As in all standing exercises, keep the abs engaged, shoulder blades down and back, chin parallel to the floor, knees soft, and feet hip-width apart. Do not swing the dumbbells and do not use momentum.

Now let’s move on to the triceps. These muscles are located at the back of the upper arms. You know they are getting lazy when you notice that dreaded flab. Get your triceps to look as they should with these three exercises, listed roughly in order of difficulty.

triceps exercises

Tricep press-back (or push-back) is performed with the torso leaning forward. The feet are shoulder-width apart and the knees are slightly bent. Hold the weights behind your back, palms facing up. Raise your straight arms as far you can and slowly return to the starting position, resisting the weight of the dumbbells as you do it.

For dumbbell kickbacks, place your right knee and the palm of your right hand on a bench or a bed. Keep your back flat and parallel to the floor. Take a dumbbell into your left hand, palm facing in towards you. Bend your left elbow to 90 degrees and keep it fixed in one spot as you extend your left arm backwards until it is straight and parallel to the floor. Slowly bend the elbow back to the 90 degree angle to return to the starting position. After completing the set amount of reps, change sides.

Tricep overhead extension is done holding a dumbbell in each hand overhead, palm pressed together and facing in, towards each other. Slowly lower the weights down behind your head, making sure that the elbows are facing forward. Keep elbows as still as possible and close to your ears throughout. You can also do this exercise with one arm at a time, holding the elbow in position with the opposite hand.

Shoulders

You cannot have sculpted arms without paying due attention to shoulders! The bonus is that your arms are also going to get a workout in all the moves designed to target shoulders.

Shoulder (or overhead) press is the ultimate shoulder strength builder. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, take a dumbbell in each hand and raise the dumbbells to head height, palm facing forward. The elbows are out and bent at about 90 degrees. This is your starting position. Extend through the elbows to raise the weights together directly above your head. To get the most contraction out of your shoulders, do not fully extend your arms and do not touch the dumbbells together. Keep your wrists straight so that your hands are in line with your forearms. Slowly lower to the starting position.

Lateral raises improve the appearance of your shoulders, arms and upper back. Stand upright with arms extended at your sides, a dumbbell in each hand with the palms facing in. Lock your elbows and raise your arm until they are horizontal to the floor. Then slowly lower them back down.

Front raises mainly strengthen the shoulders, but also work the upper chest muscles. Stand with arms extended down the front of your thighs, a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing towards the tights. Lift the dumbbells with a slight bend in the elbows, palms facing down, until your arms are approximately parallel to the floor. Also try the hammer grip version, in which the dumbbells are held at the sides with palms facing in towards each other.

Work it all

Press-ups (or push-ups) are great for toning your arms and shoulders, but also your chest and about every other muscle in your body.

Start with your knees on a mat and progress to full press-ups. Full press-ups are performed on the toes. In the beginning, you can keep your feet hip-width apart, bringing them together when you feel the need to increase the difficulty level.

Always keep your elbows pointing back, so that the angle between the upper arms and the torso does not exceed 45 degrees. Engage your abs and avoid pushing your hips up. At the top of the move your elbows should be straight and at the bottom bent at 90 degrees.

Diamond press-ups target triceps more than ordinary press-ups do. Position your hands in the middle, forming a diamond shape with your thumbs and index fingers and then perform the press-ups either on your knees or on your toes.

Make your arm and shoulder exercises a part of your overall body workout routine. Perform one to five sets of 8 to 12 repetitions two or three times a week, allowing 48 hours for recovery. Done consistently, these exercises will give you toned, sculpted, and stronger arms and shoulders that go so well with the sleeveless summer look.