Tighter Arms & Back

Well, we’re all into the time of year when there seems to be fattening food everywhere we look.  One way to help combat the infamous Battle of the Bulge and still look good in any dress or tux you want to wear to your Holiday parties is to keep your upper body toned and strong.

This is a workout that can be completed in about 30 minutes, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time in the gym to look good (and how many people have lots of free time anyhow?).


bicep curls_a

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold a barbell with an underhand grip beyond shoulder width in front of your thighs

Pull the barbell up toward your chin by contracting your biceps and bending your elbows. When you’ve come as high as you can, reverse the move and slowly lower the barbell back to the starting position.

Do two sets of 8 – 12 reps

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Shoulder Press

Sit on a bench with your feet on the floor and your back against the pad. Hold a dumbbell in each hand just on the outside of your shoulders, making sure your arms are perpendicular to your torso. Your wrists should be directly above your elbows.

Contract your abs and push the dumbbells up and over your head until your arms are straight but not locked. Hold for a second, and then slowly lower to the start position and repeat.

Do two sets of 8 – 12 reps.

Triceps Extension

Tricep kickback

Place one knee and a hand from the same side of the body on the flat bench and hold a dumbbell in the opposite hand. Bend your body so it’s parallel to the bench. Bend your elbow to a 90-degree angle and glue your top arm to your side.

Slowly extend your lower arm backward. Avoid using momentum, and focus on straightening your arm backward slowly in order to fully train your triceps.

Do two – three sets of 10 – 15 reps for each arm.

Low Cable-Row

Cable Row

Attach a narrow-grip handle on the low-cable pulley. Brace your feet against the platform and keep your knees slightly bent. Lean forward and straighten your arms to stretch your lats completely.

Really stretch into this position, then, as you drive your heals into the platform, pull the handle into your contracted stomach and sit up straight. Arc your back and squeeze your back muscles, holding for two counts to maximize the peak contraction.

Do two – three sets of 8 – 12 reps.

Just be sure and keep your diet clean, do at least four days of cardio activity for a minimum of thirty minutes each session, and you’ll have a much better chance of getting through the Holidays without weight gain!


Picture fo Website

Halloween 2009

Ann currently works for a Fortune 50 company as a Global Project Manager, and graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Psychology / Communications and Human Relations.  She lives in Connecticut with her boyfriend and two adorable dogs, and completed her first Half Marathon and Duathlon last year.


12 Responses to “Tighter Arms & Back”
  1. Christopher says:

    Good workout. It even can work for guys, as long as they’re not looking to get bigger.

  2. susans says:

    God, I definitely need to do some arm workouts, ASAP!

  3. AnnQ says:

    Christopher – Glad you liked it!

  4. AnnQ says:

    Susan – We could all use a few more arm exercise! :-)

  5. Mandy says:

    Is that you Ann? Gosh, you are hot girl! (and I’m not even the lesbian type ;-) I have never really done weights but perhaps I should try. I do remember the summer before my cousin’s wedding (in which I was a bridesmaid wearing a strapless dress), I did push-ups every day, 30 or more, for about 2-3 months before the big event. That was the best shape my arms ever looked. I really need to start that again. Push-ups are actually more appealing to me than doing weights.

  6. AnnQ says:

    Mandy – I agree — push-ups are the best! They EVERYTHING :-)

  7. sophia says:

    I get the idea to tighten arms, but I’ve always wondered why I should tighten backs?
    p.s. I’m a wimp when it comes to strength-training…but I’ll have to try these once I get more muscles back!

  8. candice says:

    Okay, a few of those chicks in the pictures need to step away from the weight room pronto. Yikes!

  9. AnnQ says:

    Sophia – Getting a stronger back is actually good so you don’t get injured when you work out :-)

  10. AnnQ says:

    Candice – LOL….yeah, a few are pretty well-muscled :-)

  11. em says:

    My sons have finally gotten too big to really pick up these days. I hadn’t noticed how much lifting them kept my arms and back in shape!! Thanks for this tip – I need all the help I can get.

    Stopping by from SiTS!

  12. Oooh, girl, my arms need SO much work. Great post!

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