Secrets to flaunting toned arms in your holiday wear

Published Tue, Dec 04, 2012 06:10 AM
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Submitted by Carrie Riggin — Columnist

When hitting the holiday party scene, I can bet one of the first thoughts that goes through a lady’s mind is: "Do my arms look good in this cocktail dress?" Am I right, or am I right? At least that goes through my mind!

But, party or no party, women complain that the hardest part to tone is the arms, specifically the triceps (underarm) area. So, I developed a push-up/triceps superset exercise that I use myself for an easy and fast solution, with no equipment needed. Performed consistently and correctly, with little-to-no-rest, this strength-training-only workout transforms into a dynamite cardio move too, allowing your body to burn more calories and fat while toning. As a side effect, you’ll feel stronger, more confident and have beautiful arm definition that will surely get heads turning in your holiday LBD. It’s a win-win, I think.


I like to do this short workout after every cardio session or in the morning when I wake up to get the blood flowing and my metabolism revved. If you choose to couple it with your treadmill or elliptical workout, jump off immediately after and pump it out. All of a sudden your gym session becomes a full-body workout.


Push-ups: four different kinds.

- Regular push-ups (hands are a tiny bit wider than shoulder-length; dip down so your body is 1 inch away from floor or arms are 90 degrees)

- Wide-arm push-ups (hands are outstretched under your elbows; works the back)

- Close-arm push-ups (hands touch right under you, forming a diamond with pointer and thumb fingers; works your chest, as well as biceps and triceps)

- Triceps push-ups (instead of putting your arms out to the side like regular pushups, place your hands right under your armpits with your elbows straight back — towards your butt, close to your sides; bend your arms to a 90 degree angle and return to starting position)

Note: Don’t worry if you haven’t built up enough arm and core strength, or have an injury that prevents you from doing full push-ups. To give you more support [if needed], lower your knees to the floor instead of extending them straight out.

Triceps Dips: Switch between bending your legs 90 degrees and having your legs outstretched (more advanced option). If that is still not advanced enough for you, keep your legs at 90 degrees and put a weight on top of you (I usually do 10 lbs).


Move & Reps (number of times you perform the exercise)

Regular Push-ups — Beginner: 12, Advanced: 30

Triceps Dips — Beginner: 12, Advanced: 30

Wide-Arm Push-ups — Beginner: 10, Advanced: 20

Triceps Dips — Beginner: 10, Advanced: 20

Close-Arm Push-ups — Beginner: 8, Advanced: 10

Triceps Dips — Beginner: 8, Advanced 10

Feeling the burn yet? At the end of the series, I challenge you to just 12 more TRICEP PUSH-UPS.

Remember, if you don’t overload your muscles, you will never see any change. Always push yourself to do that extra set. Your muscles might be sore the next day, but that is a sign your body is responding to your hard work. The harder you train, the more muscle you build, the leaner you’ll be, and the less space you’ll consume. [Hello size 0!]

You’ll notice that for each move in the superset, you will start with high reps and go down. One push-up set and one triceps set equal one total set. You will be performing three sets with an extra spurt of triceps push-ups at the end.

Perform this series daily, in the morning, at night, on your lunch-break or after a workout, and you’ll notice a more toned look just in time for holiday festivities.

About Carrie Riggin
Carrie is the Triangle's go-to health and nutrition guru, sharing the latest trends to help you get in shape. She is a certified group fitness instructor and writes a blog, TheSkinnBuzz.

Twitter: @CarrieRigginFIT and @TheSkinnyBuzz

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