Ah, short-sleeve weather. All we can say is: It’s about damn time. But regardless of the time of year, we all aspire to get Michelle Obama arms. That’s where Kevin O’Connell, a Reebok fitness trainer, comes in, and luckily, being tank-top-ready year round is just one benefit of having stronger arms.
He says, “Think about how much you do with your arms each day, carrying groceries and boxes, pushing the lawn mower, picking up your kids. Developing arm strength when you’re in the gym makes all of these everyday activities outside of the gym that much easier. You’re building the strength you need for life.” Below, O’Connell shares how to do 10 of the best moves to tone and tighten your arms, complete with instructional GIFs to guide you.
1. Bent Over Row, Overhand Grip: Starting with the bar on the floor, bend over and grab the bar with your palms facing down. Pull the bar to your lower chest while keeping your torso horizontal. Return the bar to the floor on each rep.
2. Bent Over Row, Underhand Grip: Starting with the bar on the floor, bend over and grab it with your palms facing upward. Pull the bar against your lower chest while keeping your torso horizontal, your elbows rising above your shoulders. Return the bar to the floor on each rep.
3. Chin-Up: Grip the bar shoulder-width apart with straight arms. Pull yourself up by pulling your elbows to the floor. Keep pulling until your chin passes the bar. Lower yourself all the way down until your arms are straight.
4. Deficit Push-Up: Elevate both of your hands while creating open space for your chest to lower into to complete a deficit push. Lower your chest to just below your elevated hands, keeping your arms close to your body, then extend into a straight arm position.
5. Wall Ball: Keeping the ball close to your body throughout the movement, launch the ball toward the target, catch the ball and simultaneously move into a weighted squat position as the ball comes back to your hands. Absorb the med ball with the squat, then use momentum to push the ball up toward the target as you raise into a standing position. Make sure your butt lowers below the knees with your squat.
6. Dumbbell Strict Press: With dumbbells in hand, rest the weights on your shoulders with both palms facing inward toward your head. Press straight up until both arms are fully extended with dumbbells in hand. Lower back down to your shoulder and repeat.
7. Power Clean and Jerk: Stand over the barbell with the balls of the feet positioned slightly wider than hip width. Squat down and grip the bar with an overhand grip slightly wider than shoulder-width. Position your shoulders over the bar with your back arched. Your arms at this point should be straight with elbows pointed along the bar. Pull the bar up off the floor by extending your hips and knees. As the bar reaches your knees, vigorously raise your shoulders while keeping the barbell close to your thighs. When the barbell passes the mid-thigh, allow it to contact your thighs. Jump upward, extending your body, and shrug your shoulders and pull the barbell upward with your arms, allowing your elbows to flex out to sides, keeping the bar close to your body.
Aggressively pull your body under the bar, rotating your elbows around. Catch the bar on your shoulders before your knees bend lower than 90 degrees. Stand up immediately so that your thighs go no lower than parallel to the floor. Adjust your grip if necessary and keep the torso tight. Keeping pressure on your heels, dip your body by bending the knees and ankles slightly. Explosively drive upward with your legs, driving the barbell up off shoulders. Drop your body downward and jump into a slightly wider stance while vigorously extending your arms overhead. The bar should be positioned directly over your ears at arm’s length with your back straight. Push up with both legs into a standing position. Lower the barbell to your shoulders, then bend your knees slightly and lower the barbell to mid-thigh position. Slowly lower the bar with flexed lower back close to vertical or, if you’re using rubber plates, you can drop the bar from the completed position.
8. Pull-Up: Grab the bar with a grip about shoulder-width apart. Hang from the bar then raise your feet off the floor by bending your knees. Pull yourself up by pulling your elbows down to the floor. Pass the bar and repeat.
9. Push-Up: Get into a high plank position. Place your hands firmly on the ground, directly under your shoulders. Lower your body. Keep your back flat with a neutral neck until your chest grazes the floor. Push back up into the starting position and repeat.
10. Shoulder Plate Extensions: With your preferred weight plate in hand, rotate the plate around your head to activate a variety of muscles within the arms, shoulders, and core.
Tweet us how your new arm workout went down @BritandCo!
(GIFs via Reebok, featured photo via Getty)