Arms Ready

Appears in the January 2019 issue.

Get guns fast with moves from the head trainer at St. Charles’ Norris Rec Center

By Andrea Masoncup

If you run, cycle, or hike, your legs and lungs are accustomed to getting a good workout, but what about your upper body? Strong arms help hold you up while on the bike, and they help you power up hills, whether you’re running or walking. If your upper body has largely been ignored, the good news is it doesn’t take long to firm things up.

GOAL Increase upper-body strength, tone and define arms

PLAN Perform 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions of each exercise

EQUIPMENT Body weight, dumbbells, and exercise tubes

Stand in front of a chair or couch seat. Place hands on seat with fingers pointing forward. Keep back flat and walk legs out in front of body. Bend arms and lower body toward ground, with elbows directly behind body. Straighten arms to complete 1 rep. Do 10 reps.
Start in a forearm plank. Keeping abs tight, spine long, and hips still, pick up right arm and right palm on ground. Repeat on left side, ending up in a high-plank position. Repeat, replacing right palm with right elbow and left palm with left elbow. That’s 1 rep.
Attach tubing to the upper part of a door hinge. Sit tall on a stability ball or bench and grasp tubing handles. Keeping feet flat on the floor and chest high, pull elbows down and back, squeezing shoulder blades together. Pause and slowly return to starting position.
Extend both arms out to the side, bending arms at the elbows (like a goalpost), with dumbbells in each hand. Straighten your arms overhead and touch dumbbells together. Return to starting position.
Hinge at the hips so upper body is near parallel to floor, dumbbells in hand with wrists below shoulders. Draw weights up to chest with palms facing away from you (supinated grip) by bending elbows and squeezing shoulder blades together (like you’re rowing a boat). Slowly lower weights back to starting position and repeat.
Grasp two dumbbells and stand with feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent. Bend forward at the waist until your back is parallel to the floor (keep knees bent), palms and dumbbells facing each other. Raise dumbbells up and out to the sides, moving from the shoulders only, until arms are parallel to the floor at shoulder level. Lower to starting position and repeat.
Start in a plank position. Bring index fingers and thumbs to meet, forming a triangle under chest. Bend elbows and lower torso as close to ground as possible. Push through palms to straighten arms. Modify this move by dropping to knees. Do 10 reps.

Illustrations by Ievgenii Volyk