Nothing compliments a tank top or strapless summer dress like strong, lean arms. Olympic rower and USANA athlete Susan Francia knows a thing or two about how to achieve them. A common misconception about rowing is that it heavily works your arms, but in reality, rowing predominately works your lower body and core. This fact doesn’t mean a strong upper body should be overlooked in rowing or working out in general. “A big part of why we work on our arm strength on land is to prevent injury. We do a pulling motion constantly for our sport so a pushing motion helps reset our shoulders, pectorals and core,” she said. “Training the arms on land helps us focus on being more balanced in our body and ultimately perform better on the water.”
Here, Francia shares six arm exercises you can do to look sexy and strong in this season’s shoulder-baring styles. Some of the exercises take some coordination, which may feel awkward at first, but are great for building definition quickly, Francia says. It’s important to keep working on all-around strength and keeping our muscles toned not just to look good, but also to stay healthy!” Another helpful tip Francia mentions to keep in mind is that, “Endless curls won’t build defined arms. For definition, you need to spend less time on your biceps, and devote time to your triceps.”
Find a park bench instead or something that is very sturdy and will definitely not slip. Keep your legs straight and hold the bench behind/under you. This should look like a reverse push up. You can lower yourself to a 90-degree bend in the elbows, keeping your torso and legs straight. Make sure your butt doesn’t sag. Press up from the palms and hold yourself up at the top for a second. You should feel this in your triceps. Start out with 5 sets of 5 reps. Then work up the number of reps to 8 and eventually 10.
Overhead Press with Lunge
Stand with feet together, holding dumbbells, arms lifted up and out to the sides at a 90-degree angle (like a goal post), palms facing forward. Step forward with your left foot into a lunge as you press your arms overhead, rotating your palms in. Step your left foot back to your right as you return arms to starting position. Preform 8 reps per leg, alternating legs each rep.
Traveling Power Jump Squat
It can take a while to get your arms and legs synchronized to make this move work. Stand holding a 5- or 8-pound dumbbell in front of your ribcage with both hands, parallel to the floor. Lower your hips into a squat and hold for two seconds. Then explode up with a powerful jump. As you jump, lift the dumbbells over your head, fully extending your arms. You’ll look like you’re jumping at a volleyball net in a blocking motion with arms above your head. Return the weight immediately back to your ribcage at the bottom of the jump. Beginners, start with 30 seconds. Intermediate athletes can aim for 60 seconds.
Start in a forearm plank position. Push up with one arm followed by the other until you’re in a full plank position and then lower yourself back down to forearm plank with the original arm you pushed up with. Push up using the opposite arm. Start with three sets of 30 seconds of planking. Then work your way up to three sets of one-minute planking movements.
Full T Push-up
Begin in full push-up position—wrists below shoulders, legs extended, toes tucked under, abs engaged. Lift your right arm toward the ceiling, rotating entire body to right; keep hips and legs stacked. Hold for 2 counts, then return to start. Do one push-up; repeat on left side. Do 10 reps per side.
Using a dumbbell or kettle bell, start with feet at shoulder width, holding your arms up with elbows bent holding the kettle bell behind your head, push the kettlebell up towards the sky. Make sure not to move your feet, torso, or anything other than your arms pressing the weight up. Preform 3 sets of 12,10, and 8 reps. See if you can increase weight as you go on and get better.