Whether it’s a flat tum, curvy bottom or toned thighs, the lower body is spoilt for choice with a whole range of different cardio and resistance exercises.
This makes sense as women are often genetically pre-dispositioned to carry weight in that area, especially after pregnancy, but it also means that we sometimes neglect our upper bodies, in particular our arms and shoulders.
This isn’t the wisest move as toned arms and shoulders not only hold great aesthetic purposes, but also need to be strong and resilient for the added workload they end up taking on once a baby is on the scene.
Our arms need to be strong!
If you think about your average day, your arms and shoulders spend a large part of it working hard. Breastfeeding, carrying baby, wearing a sling or carrier, pushing the pram, they all require our arm and shoulder muscles to be working effectively.
Add tasks like grocery shopping into the mix and it’s not hard to see why you often find yourself having sore shoulders at the end of a busy day!
Building up muscle throughout our bodies is a big positive for health and weight loss as the more muscle we have, the more effective our metabolism will be.
Integrating a few simple upper body exercises into your routine is a great way to tone the area (who doesn’t want gorgeous, shapely biceps and triceps) as well as keep it in shape for the future, especially as your baby turns into a toddler and gets heavier and heavier.
When it comes to resistance exercises, always remember to start slow and listen to your body. Consulting a personal trainer or other qualified person can also be helpful if you feel as if you’re getting stuck and confused. Never push your body to a point where things are painful and always stop if you feel faint/dizzy or overwhelmed.
Here are our 4 easy exercises for toned arms
1. Bicep curl
Bicep curls work the front part of your upper arms (your biceps), muscles which are essential for lifting and carrying.
- Sit on a fit ball or stand, legs comfortably apart with knees slightly bent.
- Hold a light weight (or food can) in each hand.
- Keeping your shoulders level and arms steady, breathe out and curl the weights/cans towards your body smoothly so that you feel your bicep muscle contract.
- Inhale and return weight to your sides.
- Complete 10-12 repetitions before taking a break.
2. Tricep kickback
This exercise works the underside of your upper arm (the infamous ‘bingo wing’ area) which can be hard to tone and strengthen without specific exercises.
- Lean forward slightly and rest your hand on a fitball/park bench/other stable surface
- Bend your right leg forward while keeping your left leg straight
- Hold a light weight or can in your left hand
- Bring your arm up so that your elbow is pointing behind you and the weight is parallel to the floor
- Straighten out your arm so that your elbow is no longer pointed. You will feel your tricep contract
- Return to the starting position
- This is one repetition. Do 10-12 of these.
3. Shoulder press
The shoulder press works a wide variety of muscles in your shoulders and back.
- Sit on a fitball or stand, feet comfortably apart, knees slightly bent
- Holding a light weight in either hand, bring your hands up so that they are in line with your shoulders
- Breathe out and push the weight above your head, using your shoulder muscles
- Return your hands to their starting position
- This is one rep. Complete 10-12 before resting
4. Lateral raises
- Lateral raises are a great exercise for working your deltoid (where your arm meets your shoulder) muscles.
- Stand with feet comfortably apart and knees slightly bent
- Holding a light weight in each hand, raise your arms so that they are in line with your shoulders and parellel to the ground.
- Return your arms to your sides. This is one rep.
- Do 10-12 of these reps before stopping.
For more busy mum exercises click HERE.