When it comes to getting a sexy, toned bod, a lot of women focus solely on their butt, hips, abs, and thighs. But while you’d think that your upper body wouldn’t impact your physique as much as, say, a toned booty, it’s actually super important. So stop skipping arm workout day! We know the same old push-up routines get boring, but adding strength to your arms will go a long way toward keeping your midsection slim, not least because the more muscle you put into your body, the faster your metabolism will function. With that in mind, here are five non-pushup exercises that will help you get lean, toned arms that boost your progress toward ALL of your fitness goals.
1. Plank: Planking is one of the most basic exercise moves out there, but it builds all the muscles you need to do more intensive exercises, like push-ups and pull-ups. If you’re new to plank (or to fitness in general), start out by keeping your knees on the ground and your hands under your shoulders. Your arms should be straight, but don’t let your elbows lock or overextend. Your entire body should be one straight line from knees to shoulders (watch out for hips that jut toward the ceiling!). Hold the plank for as long as you can — preferably about one minute. After you’ve mastered the move on your knees, you can start doing a full plank, with only your toes on the floor.
2. Chaturanga: All the yoginis out there know what we mean. Chaturanga is a yoga move that’s part of a basic sun salutation. You’ll start in plank position, and then slowly lower your body down toward the floor. Pause when your upper arms are in line with your chest. Hold this for a few seconds before jutting your chest forward and moving your body into urdhva mukha svanasana (upward dog). This sequence will give you AMAZING triceps within just a few weeks of beginning your yoga practice.
3. Resistance Band Chest Press: Resistance bands are a fantastic alternative to gym equipment, and — bonus! — you can use them in the privacy of your own home. A chest press will work pretty much the exact same muscles as a push-up. You’ll start by affixing your resistance bands to a door, or something in your home that’s about the level of your chest. (You might also consider purchasing a band that will simply go around your upper back.) Facing away from the anchor point, hold the resistance bands at shoulder height, with your fingertips pointing downward. Slowly press the handles straight out in front of you. As you bring them back toward your body, resist along the way.
4. Tricep Dips: This is yet another exercise that can be done right in your own home. It’s essentially a reverse push-up, but you’ll use a couch or chair as a prop. Set yourself up so that your hands are resting on the edge of the chair, with your fingertips pointing toward you. Keep your arms straight and extend your legs out in front of you so that you’re at a 45-degree plane. Next, lower your butt down toward the floor, but don’t actually sit down. Press back up, and repeat as many times as you can.
5. Wall Press: One step behind a traditional push-up is the infamous wall press. This is, in simple terms, a push-up performed against a wall. Because you’re at an angle, it won’t be as challenging as a real push-up… but it’ll still get the job done. We think how to do a push-up goes without saying, but here’s one bit of advice: Moving your feet farther from the wall — or bracing yourself against a lower surface like a stair, bench, table, or desk — will increase the challenge (and effectiveness) of this exercise.
What are your favorite exercises to do at home? Tweet @BritandCo to let us know!
(Photos via Getty)