Chair dips, pushups, and bicep curls — oh my! You’ve tried everything to get rid of your flabby arms, and nothing seems to work. Here are five exercises that you’ve never heard of that can cure your upper body woes.
To reap the best effects from these exercises, try doing 10 repetitions each, repeating the entire course three times on a circuit. And as always, talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise regimen if you experience pain, joint disease, or other problems in the areas you’re about to work out.
1. The kneeling sphinx
The kneeling sphinx might be a lesser-known exercise, but its benefits are clear. If your joints aren’t strong enough for pushups, this is a safe and helpful option.
Start on the ground, on your hands and knees. Remember to keep your back straight, your knees firmly below your hips, and your hands slightly wider than the width of your shoulders. Then bend your elbows to the floor, going all the way down until your forearms are flat on the ground. Then, push yourself back up — keeping your spine straight all the way through. Repeat this exercise 10 times in total, then rest.
2. Lying extensions
You may know about extensions from lifting weights at the gym, but these are slightly different. They’re a little easier on your back while still putting some heat on your biceps, triceps, and forearms.
For this exercise, you need dumbbells or other somewhat heavy items, like arm weights or bags of rice. Lie down flat on your back with your feet on the floor and your knees bent comfortably. Take up your weights and hold them straight up to the ceiling with your wrists turned inward, making sure not to hyperextend your elbows. Then, begin to bend your elbows up, as if you were putting your hands on the ground over your head. Touch your weights to the floor above you, then lift your arms back up to the starting position. Once again, try to repeat this exercise 10 times.
3. Triceps kickbacks
If you have arms that look more like chicken thighs than big guns, your triceps might be to blame. The easiest way to get rid of these is a tricep kickback, which you can do either with a dumbbell or another moderately heavy object.
Hold the weights in both hands, standing straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lean forward and keep your back flat, arms down. Then, hug your elbows to your sides, and lift the weight behind you, so that your arm is then in line with your back. Hold for three seconds and then release and go back to the starting position. Repeat this exercise 10 times, then rest.
The next arm exercise doesn’t need any weights at all — in fact, it’s both a stretch and a muscle-building task.
Stand straight in the oft-mentioned posture-healthy position involving a straight back and feet shoulder-width apart. Lift your arms and stretch them out to your sides, as if you were going in for a big hug. Swing your arms around to the front, keeping them straight and putting your right arm over your left arm. It should look a little bit like a pair of scissors. Open your arms once again, then repeat the exercise, this time placing your left arm over your right. One repetition involving both the left and the right arms should count as “one” on your journey to 10 reps.
The last, little-known exercise is popular among kickboxers and fighters but not the general public. Jabs are a type of punch that will fight off your flabby arms.
Start this time with your feet planted a little further than shoulder-width apart, with your left foot in front of your right. Bend your knees slightly, and put your fists in front of your face, as if you were protecting yourself from an incoming punch.
Step slightly forward with your left foot and extend your left forearm slowly, rotating your fist so that the palm of your hand is facing the ground. Return to your original position and move your hand and foot back slowly, keeping your shoulders down and your elbows tucked in close to your sides. The form of the perfect jab can be a little hard to master, but, luckily, there are plenty of online resources.
After 10 repetitions on one side, put your right foot forward and jab 10 times with your right hand. Now, go back to the beginning and start again. You won’t see chiseled arms instantaneously; keep at it and you will soon feel the soreness of the muscles and, eventually, you’ll see the coveted tone.