Wednesday Workout Tip: Get Ripped Arms

Ah, back to the world of blogging. I am pleased to be back. We have been through quite a bit in the last couple of weeks. Our hometown (Calgary, Alberta) was hit by a major floor that had the entire downtown core evacuated. We live in the core and thus, were out of a home for almost two weeks. My partner has dealt with most of the aftermath as I have been travelling overseas and our city and local communities are in the midst of cleanup that could last for months if not years. Needless to say, it has been a whirlwind couple of weeks and helps to explain my absence from the blogosphere.

As the title of this post suggests, I am going to share some pearls of wisdom on how to get ripped arms. In actual fact, I am taking some exercises from a recent article in Women’s Health Magazine and interspersing it with my own upper body routine.

1. Do a 10 minute warm-up. I can’t tell you how many times I see people skip this critical step. Please allow your muscles the opportunity to warm-up; you’ll be able to workout for a longer period of time and you won’t run the risk of tearing tissue more than you have to, trust me.

Now that you’ve done a warm-up, you’re ready to start pumping the guns. For each of the following exercises below, complete 10 to 12 reps, moving from one exercise to the next with little to no rest in between. Following the last move, rest up to a minute, then repeat the entire sequence two more times (total of three sets).

2. Dumbbell Alternating Shoulder Press and Twist: A)Stand with feet shoulder width apart, tail bone curved under*, core firm, and hold dumbbells just outside your shoulder (weights prepped to move in the direction of the ceiling), with your elbows and palms facing each other.  B) Rotate your torso to the right as you press the dumbbell in your left hand at a slight angle above your shoulder. Reverse the movement back to the start, rotate to your left, and press the dumbbell in your right hand upward. That’s one rep (oh yeah).

Dumbbell Alternating Shoulder Press and Twist

3. Dumbbell Row: A) Hold dumbbells with an overhand grip bend at your hips and knees, and lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor. Let the dumbbells hang at arm’s length from your shoulders. B) Bend your elbows and pull the dumbbells to the sides of your torso. Pause, then slightly lower the dumbbells. One rep.

Dumbbell Row

4. Incline Pushup: A) Place your hands on a box, bench, or step instead of the floor. B) Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the bench. Watch that your elbows don’t become chicken wings as you lower yourself down, keep elbows close to your side. Pause at the bottom and then push yourself back to the starting position. That’s one rep!

Incline Pushup

5. Thrusters (what an exciting name): A) Hold a pair of dumbbells next to your shoulders, your palms facing one another. Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your torso as upright as possible throughout the entire movement. B) Lower your body until the tops of your thighs are parallel to the floor. C) Push your body back to a standing position as you press the dumbbells directly over your shoulders. Lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. That’s one rep!


6. Series of Swiss Ball Activities. A) Lie face down on top of a Swiss ball so that your back is flat and your chest is off the ball. Turn your arms so that your palms are facing each other. B) Raise your arms at a 30 degree angel to your body (so they form a Y) until they’re in line with your upper body. Pause, then slowly lower back to the starting position. That’s one rep!

Swiss-Ball Y Raise

Slight variation of the above move: Swiss Ball T Raise

Swiss-Ball T Raise

Another variation:

Swiss-Ball W Raise

And one more:

Swiss-Ball L Raise

I encourage you to do all the above variations at least 10 – 12 times during your workout session. While the burn may not be pleasant, the results will be. If you’re feeling very energetic, incorporate a bicep curl and tricep bench dip (or use weights).

Over the course of the next month, I plan to do incorporate this into my tri-weekly weight lifting routine. I am also going to be incorporating more leg and core work and plan to share those workouts with you each Wednesday over the next month.

Happy weight-lifting!


References: Get Gold-Medal Arms Like Natalie Coughlin’s, Women’s Health Magazine, 2012



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