Why wait for a trip to the gym to start sculpting a pair of strong, shapely arms? This Pilates-inspired arm workout from celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor and trainer Kristin McGee can be done in your living room, at the office, in your hotel room–no equipment required. The trick to getting the most out of this weight-free arm workout is to stay in complete control, focusing on and flexing the muscles you’re engaging throughout the entire exercise. Go through the 10-minute routine once or twice two to three times per week.
Serving Tray: Tones triceps, shoulders, back and abs.
How-to: Stand tall with heels together, toes slightly turned out (Pilates V stance). With your upper arms by your sides, bend your elbows to 90 degrees, bringing hands forward with palms turned up (A). Engage your core, drawing your shoulders down and back. Inhale, extending your arms straight out in front of you as if offering a serving tray to someone (B). Draw your ribs back as you feel energy extend through your reaching arms. Exhale, using your back and the backs of your shoulders to draw your elbows back in to your waist. That’s one rep; do 15 to 20 reps.
Front Biceps Curl: Arm workout for biceps, shoulders, back and abs
How-to: Remain in Pilates V stance with arms out in front of you, palms up. Keep your shoulders down away from your ears and draw your shoulder blades together. Make loose fists with your hands, then exhale as you slowly curl your fists up and in so your fingertips touch your shoulders. Squeeze your biceps muscles and hold for a moment before extending your arms to return to previous position. That’s one rep; do 15 to 20 reps, concentrating on creating resistance as you curl.
The Bug: Arm workout that tones triceps, shoulders, back, butt, thighs and abs.
How-to: Stand with feet hip-width apart and parallel to each other, arms by your sides, hands in loose fists with palms facing back. Bend your knees and hinge forward at the waist until your back is parallel to the floor, allowing your hands to hang toward the floor. Keeping your shoulders down and abs engaged, slowly draw your elbows up until they are parallel with your shoulders (or slightly higher); squeeze your shoulder blades together and engage your triceps (as shown). Release your arms slowly back down to the floor. That’s one rep; do 15 to 20 reps.
Pilates Push-Up: Tones entire upper body, especially triceps, shoulders and chest.
How-to: Come into the “up” part of push-up position with hands below your shoulders and legs together; your body should form a straight line from head to heels. Squeeze your heels together, turning your toes slightly out (A). Keeping your abs tight and shoulders down away from your ears, inhale and lower your body down, pulling your elbows toward your waist (B). Exhale strongly, straightening your elbows to push yourself back up to starting position. That’s one rep; do 8 to 10 reps. (Too hard? Make it easier by dropping your knees to the floor.)
Triceps Dips: Tones triceps, biceps, shoulders, chest and back.
How-to: Sit on the floor with legs together and extended. Place your hands about 10 inches behind you on the floor, fingers pointing forward. Engage your hamstrings and core, then press firmly into your feet, straighten your elbows and lift yourself up so your body forms a straight line from head to toes. Inhale, bending your elbows to lower down toward the floor while keeping your body as straight as you can (as shown). Exhale, pressing back up to previous position. That’s one rep; do 10 to 12 reps. (Too hard? Make it easier by bending your knees so your body forms a table-top shape instead of a straight line.)
Connect with Kristin at www.kristinmcgee.com, on Facebook at KristinMcGeeFitness, on Twitter at @thebendigirl and on YouTube at kristinmcgee