OK, OK, OK... so we may have been a little sneaky with the title of this article. Yes, it's called, "6 Exercises For Amazing Arms," but what we are really going to give you are six exercises that are awesome for your entire upper body, and several of them are great for core and trunk stability as well.
Many times when people think of "arm" exercises, they think of small isolation movements like biceps curls and triceps kickbacks.
While those exercises have their place in some programs, we really love having big-bang-for-your-buck exercises as the meat of our training programs.
These are six of our favorite upper body exercises—some are more common, and some are slightly less common. A few require equipment, and a few don't. Take your pick!
Equipment: You can use rings or another unstable surface trainer, or a barbell in a squat rack.
The inverted row is one of our favorite exercises. It's fantastic for strengthening your upper back and biceps, but it also requires an element of core stability in order to keep your body in the right position. Oh, and you should be squeezing your glutes, too!
Unfortunately most people do more work for the front of their body (the muscles they can see in the mirror) like biceps, pecs, quads, and don't do nearly enough for the backside of their body (upper back, glutes, hamstrings). This row variation is one of our go-to upper body exercises.
We also like it because it's an effective regression for a pull-up. Pull-ups and chin-ups are great, but many women struggle to perform them. Doing inverted rows a couple of times a week will help you build the upper body strength to hoist yourself over the pull-up bar in no time!
Equipment: Just your body, (unless you want to load the bear crawl with a weight vest or chains, for example).
This is another one of our favorite exercises. And again, it's pretty sneaky because not only does it work your shoulders, chest, back, and triceps, it's also killer on the core—if you do it right.
You can load it up heavy for strength work, or for a conditioning challenge, do it with just your body weight for distance.
Equipment: Pull-up bar, rings, monkey bar—basically anything you can use to pull yourself up!
Pulling yourself over a bar is just about one of the coolest things a woman can do. If you haven’t gotten to your first unassisted chin-up or pull-up yet, don’t despair!
"I remember feeling like a complete badass the first time I did it, and to be honest, that feeling has never subsided!" — Neghar Fonooni
As long as you are practicing them regularly (and preferably with a band as opposed to the assisted pull-up machine) you will get there. Here are some tips to help you increase your chin-up efficiency:
Equipment: You can use a yoga mat if you'd like. Just make sure the surface is comfortable for your hands.
This asana is really quite invigorating once you learn how to fly! Here’s a quick how-to from Neghar to get you started:
Equipment: Barbell, Weight Plates (for an optional, additional load), Landmine (preferred, but securing the bar into a corner will work too)
The standing angled press has a functional and athletic element to it. Depending on what you're after, you can be more strict with the press or you can add more push from the lower body and hip swivel for a more dynamic variation.
It's unilateral, varies the plane of pushing (versus horizontal or vertical), and you're getting a good bit of core work through the effort. The angled press is also shoulder-friendly. It doesn't take the shoulder to end range of overhead motion and therefore places less stress on the AC joint, reducing of compression and likelihood of impingement.
The half-kneeling variation is a bit more difficult because the load becomes harder to press due to the angle of the lever arm. It also requires more core stability. Adding a foam pad under the knee takes away a little bit of stability as well.
To perform the exercise:
Place one knee down on a foam pad. Opposite knee forward. Set up to press with the arm on the same side as the down knee. The pressing pattern is the same. This variation requires more stability.
You're probably wondering, "Where are the push-ups?" We love push-ups, but wanted to introduce you to some other exercises you may not be as familiar with. Read more about how to do a perfect push-up here.
These six awesome "arm" exercises will have you looking and feeling strong in no time, but there's a whole lot more where this came from! If you want a little (or a lot) more guidance with your training program, we can help!
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