I had a dress fitting at the weekend and I could do with toning / shrinking my arms without getting huge muscles - anyone any suggestions?
The Fitness Dock
For women, it's the back of the arms, the triceps, which tend to need more work than the biceps. This is because body fat accumulates there - the dreaded bingo wings!
If you decrease your daily calorie intake and do exercises for your arms, your arms will get [i:32wcbxdi]smaller[/i:32wcbxdi] and tighter.
Here are a few of my favourite exercises for the triceps.
Use a dumbell, weighing 1-3kg. Kneel comfortably on a bench with the same leg that you hold the weight with. Now with your back straight and your head looking straight ahead start with the weight at a ninety degree angle.
Slowly extend your arm until it is as straight as it will go (DO NOT change the position of your elbow) Pause for a second, then lower back to starting position
Repeat for 8-12 reps.
IMPORTANT TIP: Your upper arm and elbow should not move at all during the enter set. This is very important. If you can't do a complete set without moving your upper arm/elbow, reduce the weight of the dumbell.
Lying Triceps Extension:
To begin this exercise, select 2 dumbells, no heavier than 5 kg each.
Lie down on a bench and hold the dumbells at arms length above your chest.
Now, while keeping the upper arm rigid, slowly lower the bar until it is above your forehead. Reverse the movement to raise the bar.
IMPORTANT TIP: Keep the upper arm still throughout the entire exercise. It should never move, no matter how difficult the exercise becomes.
Sit on the edge of a bench or ball with hands on the edge of the bench, right next to hips. Bring hips in front of bench and bend elbows to no lower than 90 degrees. Your bottom should be very close to the ground in the starting position. Push back up without locking elbows.
IMPORTANT TIP: To make the exercise more difficult, keep your legs completely straight throughout the exercise, pivoting on your heels. To make it easier, bend your legs, allowing your thighs to help you out when it becomes difficult to complete the reps.
Complete 3 sets of 8-12 reps for each exercise. 3 circuits, going straight from one exercise to another, works very well.
Other exercises I recommed (our gym has all of these machines):
Seated Triceps Dip Machine (our gym has a great one)
Bodyweight Assisted Dip Machine
Overhead Triceps Extension Machine
As always, if anyone has any questions, just ask.
Also, push-ups are great, although they are hard. Build up gradually, and you'll definately see an improvement.
Best of luck
If you're not in a gym, definately invest in a set of dumbells - they don't have to be huge expensive yokes, you can get a set of 3 different weights for about €35 euro (in argos, believe it or not