Many brides are self-conscious about going sleeveless if they feel their arms aren’t in tip-top shape, but there’s no reason to forgo the dress of your dreams. Simply follow our insider sculpting tips, and we’ll have you toned up in no time.
The Truth About Spot Reducing
Before you get started, there is one hard and fast rule that you have to keep in mind. Toning your arms doesn't mean losing weight in your arms. You can do curls until you turn blue without trimming even a centimeter. However, if your goal is to tone up and give your arms a fitter, more sculpted look, a program of resistance training is what you need.
The Sculpting Program
According to fitness expert William D. McArdle, PhD and Professor Emeritus at the Department of Family, Nutrition and Exercise Science at CUNY, your sculpting program should focus on your biceps, triceps, and deltoids -- the major muscles in your arms. If you haven't lifted weights before, start with a weight that tires you after twelve repetitions. The goal is not to strain yourself with a weight you can barely lift, but to give your muscles some resistance as you perform your exercises.
Dr. McArdle advises that you choose an exercise for each muscle. For example, curls for your biceps, French curls for your triceps, and lateral lifts for your deltoids. Then follow up with modified pushups, which work your pectorals, triceps, and deltoids all at once. Do twelve repetitions of each exercise, and then repeat the entire circuit one more time. Many women find pushups, even those where you balance on your knees rather than your toes, difficult. If you can't do twelve, do as many as you can and work up from there.
When you can perform the workout above without tiring and without soreness, add weight and another set of reps. And don't worry if all this talk of lifting weights makes you think you'll end up looking like a Muscle Beach body builder. The program outlined above will give your muscles definition without adding bulk.
A Word on Form
While you are working out, concentrate on keeping good posture with your spine straight and your shoulders back. Breathe out as you lift, and in as you release. Focus on the muscle that you are working, isolating it to lift the weight. You may find it worthwhile to visit a personal trainer or a gym once to learn proper form. Remember, an exercise done badly isn't likely to give you the results that you want.
Exercises That Work
Between the specialized machines and all the moves that can be done with free weights, there are a lot of different ways to work the major muscles in your arms. While you should find the ones that are most comfortable for you, we've listed Dr. McArdle's tried and true favorites below. For biceps, try the curl. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-length apart. Hold a weight in each hand, and let your arms hang by your sides. While keeping your elbows close to your waist, bring the weight up towards your shoulder. Lower your forearms to the starting position to finish.
A French curl is a great way to work the triceps. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-length apart. Raise your arms straight up over your head, holding a weight. Keeping your elbows in towards your head, bend your arm at the elbows until your forearms are parallel to the floor. Raise your arms straight up to the starting positions.
Lateral raises strengthen the deltoids. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-length apart. Hold a weight in each hand, and let your arms hang by your sides. Keeping your arms straight, raise them out to the side so they are parallel to the floor. Lower your arms to your starting position to finish the exercise.
By following this program, you should begin to see results in about a month. Just one last piece of wedding day advice: Watch out during the bouquet toss. You might not know your own strength!