Health Topics

Healthy Living

April 2011
Get Summer-Ready Arms!
Dinaz Vervatwala
Jennifer Aniston’s lithe and lean arms and Michelle Obama’s sleek and muscular arms are the envy of millions of women worldwide. Closer home, Deepika Padukone has one of the most coveted bodies in Bollywood and one of her most striking features is her toned arms. With summer fast approaching and sleeveless kurtis and strapless blouses becoming a staple for most Indian women, it is not too late to start working on those arms and getting them summer-ready to show off!

Contrary to popular belief, spot reduction – losing weight on only arms or only legs – does not work. You cannot burn fat in only one area. Consistent cardio or aerobic training is the most effective way to blast fat overall. Only if your body fat percentage is low, can your toned muscles shine through. Strength training is a must for toning or shaping muscles. It also increases one’s metabolism. Because of this increase, those who are trying to reduce body fat will do so more easily. But many women are afraid of strength training because they believe that it will create large muscles that are unattractive. This is a prevalent misconception. The vast majority of women cannot build large muscles because they are genetically incapable of doing so.

If you want to create spectacular visual changes in your body, a combination of cardio and strength training is essential:

Engage in moderate intensity cardio for 30 minutes, five times a week or vigorous intensity cardio for 20 minutes, three times a week

Train with free weights, machines or body weight, two to three times a week. In order to shape or tone any muscle group, one must lift a weight that’s heavy enough to create fatigue, that is, tire the muscle out.
Add the following exercises to your strength training routine and within 3-4 weeks you will begin to see results. Use a weight that you can lift not more than 8 to 10 times. Perform these exercises in the sequence mentioned. Rest for 2-3 minutes and repeat the entire sequence 2-3 times.

Overhead Press

  • This exercise can be done seated or standing. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing out at shoulder height.
  • Tighten your abs and smoothly press the dumbbells up until your arms are straight.
  • Pause briefly at the top to show control.
  • Bend the elbows and slowly lower the weight to the starting position. Stop when your upper arms are parallel to the floor.

Barbell Curl
  • Using a shoulder-width grip, grasp a barbell with an underhand grip.
  • Stand up straight with your feet about shoulder width apart and keep abs tight.
  • Curl the bar up toward your chest in an arc, keeping your elbows locked in the same place close to your sides.
  • Bring the weight up as high as you can and squeeze the biceps at the peak of the movement for a one-count.
  • Lower the weight slowly, and return to the start position.
Lateral Raise
  • Stand straight with abs tight and dumbbells to your sides, feet shoulder width apart.
  • For the more advanced, add some challenge to your lower body by assuming a split stance with your legs. Beginners, though, should do this standing.
  • Slowly raise the dumbbells out to the side, until they are level with your shoulders.
  • Lower the dumbbells under control to your sides.
  • The only motion should be at your shoulder joint - no movement at the elbows, and no rocking of your body to cheat the weight up.

Overhead Triceps Extension
  • Stand up holding a barbell (with palms facing forward) with your hands closer than shoulder width apart from each other.
  • Now elevate the barbell above your head until your arms are fully extended. Keep your elbows in.
  • Keeping your upper arms close to your head and elbows in, perpendicular to the floor, lower the resistance in a semicircular motion behind your head, until your forearms touch your biceps.
  • Go back to the starting position by using the triceps to raise the barbell.
Celebrity or not, anyone can get spectacular arms by following a consistent exercise regime and eating right. Now taut arms are not beyond reach!

  Dinaz Vervatwala is the Founder and Managing Director of Dinaz's Fitness Studio Pvt.Ltd, Hyderabad. A cetified sports and fitness trainer, she is a Gunness Record holder for the longest aerobic marathon in the world.
  • The information on this site does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for medical care provided by a physician.
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