Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Firm Up Flabby Arms in 7 steps....

Firm Up Flabby Arms: 7 Steps!
By Raphael Calzadilla, BA, CPT, ACEeDiets Chief Fitness Pro

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Do you remember the days when great looking arms on a woman were considered taboo? These days I have plenty of female clients yearning for arms like those on Madonna and Hilary Swank, who won the Best Actress Oscar for the movie Million Dollar Baby.

Women who have sleek and sexy arms -- biceps that look fit and tight with triceps that look firm and sculpted -- fascinate everyone. It displays strength and femininity wrapped into one package. What could be sexier than that?

There are a few steps one must take to achieve tight and sexy arms. Some are obvious and some not so obvious. I'm providing the concepts that I've found to be the most effective during my 14 years of personal-training experience.

If followed precisely, the seven steps will just about guarantee you'll be buying some new sleeveless dresses.
1. Caloric deficit -- For you to develop sexy arms, you have to reduce body fat. It is impossible to have excess body fat and sexy arms. The fat sitting on the arms will simply not allow one to see the beautiful muscles you've developed.
They'll be painfully hidden under a layer of flab. The answer to this dilemma lies in a precise-but-realistic nutrition plan. Calories must be reduced just enough to get you losing fat, but not so low your energy is depleted.
A proper nutrition program will send just the right amount of protein, carbohydrates and monounsaturated fats into your body and help your arms (as well as your entire body) look leaner and become stronger.

2. Proper ratios of protein, carbs and fats -- Here we are on Step 2, and I'm still not discussing workouts. Hopefully this at least tells you how important nutrition is. You need to have the proper amount of protein, carbohydrates and fats in your diet.
If I train two women of equal genetics and place each of them on 1,300 calories per day (with the same workout program), but one takes in 80 percent of calories from carbohydrates, 10 percent from protein and 10 percent from fats, while the other takes in approximately 50 percent of calories from carbohydrates, 30 percent from protein and 20 percent from good fats -- I guarantee the results of their arm programs will be very different.
The woman taking in lots of carbohydrates and minimal protein and fats will appear softer and less firm. A balance of protein, carbs and fats is key. I'm not suggesting that you need to take in 50 percent of calories from carbs.
In reality, it can be 40 percent or 45 percent. I'm simply trying to emphasize the point of nutritional balance.

3. Frequency and variation of arm training -- To get great arms, work them three alternate days per week and build to a point where you can perform five sets of biceps and five sets of triceps (two exercises, two to three sets each) in each workout.
However, vary the routine. In other words, if you perform five sets of biceps Monday, Wednesday and Friday, none of the exercises should be the same. This helps to create a new stimulus each time you work your arms.
You'll need to get creative and learn about various arm exercises, but that's where eDiets Virtual Trainer can help. The Virtual Trainer on the fitness program provides more than 200 animated exercises.

4. Vary the repetitions -- For some unknown reason everyone thinks eight to 12 repetitions per set is the magical number for every workout. I'm not suggesting this rep scheme doesn't work.
However, for great results you should vary the rep patterns during the week. For example, on Monday perform 8 reps per set. On Wednesday, perform 12 reps per set and on Friday perform 6 reps per set. The weight poundage will vary from workout to workout. But don't worry, your arms won't get huge!
You'll simply be accessing a lot more muscle fibers with this approach. Remember, we're attempting to lose fat and create lean muscle. Bulk pertains more to your body-fat levels, so fear not.

5. Antagonist Superset Workouts -- Antagonist training refers to working opposing muscle groups in the same workout. There are many methods to manipulate a workout, but I've had great success performing a biceps exercise, immediately followed by a triceps exercise.
For example, if you're performing three sets of dumbbell curls and three sets of triceps dumbbell extensions, you perform the curl movement and after completing the goal reps, immediately go to the triceps exercise. Wait a bit and then continue the cycle (biceps exercise followed by triceps).
This allows you to use more weight poundage because the opposing muscle group gets a bit of a rest as you work the other muscle. Plus, the antagonist super-set training allows you to burn more calories.

6. Time Between Sets -- I've found that arms respond quite well with a 45 to 60 second rest between sets. Using our antagonist workout example in Step 5. After performing the biceps curl and triceps extension, one would wait no more than 45 seconds and then repeat the cycle.
People tend to wait too long between sets or don't wait long enough. There has to be some time allotted for recovery, but not so much that you begin to get stale. My time parameters combined with Step 5 allows you to do more work in less time and will make our arms feel tighter than a drum.

7. Balanced Workouts -- Contrary to popular belief, you don't simply work the arms (biceps and triceps) to get great arms. You have to work the entire body. Exercises for all the major muscle groups such as back, chest, shoulders, legs, etc., will make you more fit and leaner.
Plus, the upper-body muscle groups such as back, chest and shoulders have a profound effect on the way your arms look. Let's face it, you need your arms to actually perform the exercises for those muscles.

I'm not suggesting the above formula is easy, but what meaningful endeavor ever is? Be patient and consistent and those sexy arms will be yours to flaunt.

A drug-free competitive bodybuilder and 2005 winner of the prestigious WNBF (World Natural Bodybuilding Federation) Pro Card, Raphael Calzadilla is a veteran of the health-and-fitness industry. He specializes in a holistic approach to body transformation, nutrition programs and personal training. He earned his B.A. in communications from Southern Connecticut State University and is certified as a personal trainer with ACE and APEX. In addition, he successfully completed the RTS1 program based on biomechanics.

1 comment:

coleen said...

We both do arm exercises every day all day long. It's called carrying toddlers around! I've got some guns!