Arm Muscles Defined…

10 04 2011

I bid you good afternoon from my sunny garden, drinking cider with ice! It’s been a nice weekend apart from one strange incident – I’ve got a friend at work to whom I’ve sent text messages in the past along the lines of “What time are we all meeting for lunch?” etc but have never got a reply from her. I just thought she was really bad at responding on her phone. It transpires that it wasn’t her number and for about 6 months I’d been texting a Welshman called Neil. He gave me a call as I guess he’d finally had enough!



Anyhoo, I thought I’d start where I’d left off last week: An exercise feature brought to you in conjunction with Maximuscle where I will be discussing what the majority of men are trying to achieve at the gym… strong, defined arm muscles.

Since it was a nice day yesterday,  I was on the green playing frisbee with friends and we all had our shirts off (there was something a bit Top Gun about it). I thought that even though I do quite a bit of exercise, it would be nice to tone up and get a bit more definition. It’s important not to obsess too much about these things but I’m going to put more emphasis on exercises like the ones below. I’m not bothered about bulking up too much but I do like the idea of a having more definition for beach season!

Personally I think achieving a definition and lean physique is much tougher than building size as you have to always walk that line between getting your body fat percentage down to below 10% and increasing your strength with lower weight/higher repetition exercises. Opinions vary, but I think that unless having a lot of bulk is important to your sport such as being a forward in rugby or powerlifting, it is a much better option to be lean and have an optimum size to strength ratio as your frame will cope better with the forces exerted upon it and you wont compromise your other assets such as speed or agility. For instance, I’ve been in a situation where I’ve needed to pull up my own body weight (locked myself out of the house) but I don’t think I’ve ever needed to bench press a small car! With that in mind, why not give the following a try?

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1. Stability Ball Pushup: The focus here is being able to work with your bodyweight with the added bonus of engaging your core, tricep and shoulder muscles to balance on the ball. In a push-up position, place your hands on the top sides of the ball with your fingers pointing downwards, your feet shoulder-width apart to provide extra stability through the move. Push your hands in towards each other to increase tension in your chest. Press your bodyweight off the ball, hold and lower.

2.  Close Grip Chin-up: Optimum physical performance is all about striking the right balance of size and strength. I’ve got a naturally mesomorphic frame which is better suited to sports that need both explosive power and speed like running, triathlon and football so piling on 20kg of muscle wouldn’t be making the most of that. I think it’s a good rule of thumb that no matter how big and strong you are, you should still be able to lift your own body weight as it shows you’ve got a suitable strength to weight ratio. This particular pull-up focuses on the biceps as it’s close grip and you should be looking to space your hands around 6 inches apart. Aim for 3 sets of 10 making sure you don’t pull with your back and you fully extend your arms on the way down. If your new to the exercise, aim for quality, not quantity.

3. Arnold Press: A great exercise for working all three parts of your deltoids (the top of the shoulder). Stand holding a pair of dumb-bells in front of you at chest height, with an underhand grip and palms facing you. As you push the weights overhead, rotate your arms so that your palms face forwards at the top of the movement. Pause at the top, then slowly lower the weights back down, rotating your wrists as you go, so that your palms face you again. Slowly twist your wrists throughout the move. The top and bottom of the exercise are the only points at which the weights shouldn’t turn.

As I mentioned, noticeable definition only comes with a low bodyfat percentage so it takes more than just low weight/high repetition exercises… you need some serious cardio too! Here are a few fun sports that give your cardio vascular system an intense workout as well as your arms:

Rock climbing: There are a variety of rock climbing disciplines such as “traditional”,  “sport climbing” and bouldering. It requires a great deal of mental as well as physical strength, takes a lot of nerve and is as varied and challenging as you make it. For information on your nearest climbing centre visit UK Climbing.com

 

 

 

 

 

Swimming: Anyone who has read the blog for a while knows I like to harp on about the benefits of swimming: it’s low impact, high intensity and is a great example of combining technique with athleticism. All you need to get started are some shorts and a pair of goggles, both of which are stocked by my good friends at Speedo®.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boxing provides one of the most intense cardio vascular workouts a person can do. The focus is to be strong as well as lean and even if you don’t fancy the sparring side of it, there are many boxing classes run in local gyms that focus on the fitness side of the sport using bags, skipping ropes and pads.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and I hope it’s as beautiful with you as it is here!

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