Monday, March 26, 2012

Right to Bare Arms

With the warm weather quickly approaching and tank tops in the near future, I find this to be the perfect time to work on our arms. I find it especially important for mums-to-be because we need strong arms to support us when we are pushing the little one out. Also, once the baby is born, you will need those arms to carry and soothe your baby. So without further delay, lets get right to the exercises!

First Trimester:
1. Place your toes and hands on the floor, making sure your back and arms are straight. Keep your hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart and tighten your abdominal muscles.
2. Inhale as you lower yourself to the floor, stopping as your elbows reach a 90-degree bend. Keep your body from touching the floor.
3. Exhale and push yourself away from the floor. Don't lock your elbows, and don't bend your back.
4. Modifications: If you are not strong enough, you can drop your knees to the ground, but make sure you keep your back straight, abs engaged.
5. Do 10-15 reps., 1-3 sets.

Tricep Push-ups:
     1. Lay hands under shoulder, position hands closer in so both index and thumb fingers form a triangle. Position body off the floor, extended arms, abs engaged, back straight. (Note, if your hips drop, please start off on your knees until you get stronger, the exercise if just as effective. If it is still too difficult, it can be performed against a wall)

      2. Keeping body straight, lower body to floor by bending arms. Push body up until arms are extended.

      3. Do 10-15 reps., 1-3 sets.

Bicep Curl:

    1. Sit on a stability ball with your feet flat on the floor. Keep torso erect with rib cage lifted and abdominals contracted.

     2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing front, arms straight down and elbows close to the waist.

     3. Exhale as you bend your arms to curl the dumbbells toward your shoulder, keeping your elbows still.

     4. Inhale as you lower the dumbbells to starting position.

     5. Do 10-15 reps., 1-3 sets.

Seated Front Raise:
    1. Choose a pair of dumbbells(1-5 pds) and sit on the end of a bench with a straight back and feet close together.
     2. Hold the dumbbells at your sides with your arms extended using an Overhand grip (palms facing the behind you). This is the starting position.
     3. Begin by raising your arms out in front of you until your arms are just above parallel to the floor. Keep a slight bend in your elbows.
     4. Pause for a brief moment at the top of the movement, and slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. If at the end of the first set, you feel like you can continue without a break, you should go up in weight.
     5. Do 10-15 reps., 1-3 sets.

Second Trimester/Third Trimester:
Ball Squat with Bicep Curl:
1. Start by standing with dumbbells and the middle of your back leaning against the ball, and the ball against the wall.
2. Legs should be shoulder distance apart, slowly lower yourself down, butt toward the floor. Your knees should stop when it gets to a little lower than 90 degree angle.
3. With your elbows by the side of your body, raise and curl the dumbbell up to your shoulders, and slowly lower back to your sides.
4. Contract your glutes(bum) and push yourself up to starting position
5. Repeat for 10-15 reps, 1-3 sets.

Lateral Raise:
1. Holding a 2- to 4-pound dumbbell in each hand in front of thighs with elbows slightly bent. Palms face each other. Bend over slightly with hips and knees bent slightly.
2. Grasp dumbbells in front of thighs with elbows slightly bent. Bend over slightly with hips and knees bent slightly.
3. Raise upper arms to sides until elbows are shoulder height. Maintain elbows' height above or equal to wrists.
4. For advanced posture, you can add rotation to activate core.
5. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions for 1-2 sets.

 Tricep Press Back:
1. Set up for the tricep kickback by grabbing a flat bench and sitting a dumbbell on the left hand side at one end. (or if you are working out from home, use a chair as illustrated.
2. Position yourself on the left side of the bench with your right knee and right hand resting on the bench.
3. Using a neutral grip, pick up the dumbbell with your left hand. Keep your back straight and look forward.
4. Tuck your left upper arm close to your torso and bend at the elbow, forming a 90-degree angle with your upper arm and forearm. This is the starting position. 
5. Moving only at the elbow, raise the dumbbell behind you until your arm is fully extended.
6. Pause, and then lower the dumbbell back to the starting position.
7. Repeat for 10-15 reps per side. 1-3 sets.


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