Jess Commons | Deputy Editor | Tuesday, 16 June 2015

The Best Arm Exercises If You\\\\\\\'re Scared To Go Sleeveless This Summer

The Best Arm Exercises If You're Scared To Go Sleeveless This Summer

The Debrief: Get lean and toned without that much effort at all

If you’re anything like me (and the rest of Debrief HQ) you spend your summer staring at your arms thinking: ‘How can I get away with wearing a long-sleeved top today?’ Sound familiar?

First things first. No-one is looking at your arms. You no doubt have spectacular arms, but, unless you do a whole bunch of arm exercises, you’re probably pretty weak. I know this because the first time I went to my gym I couldn’t even do the lowest weight on the chest press. It was pretty damn embarassing.

Doing arm exercises, though, can improve your posture, give your limbs a nice tone and all in all, help you feel a little bit better when you’re wearing a sleeveless top. We spoke to personal trainer Helen Russell from Virgin Active about the best exercises to do for your arms.

Wide push-ups

‘The muscles under your arms are the triceps,’ explains Helen. The best exercise for summer arms are wide push-ups. Keep as much space between your ears and shoulders as possible and keep your core tight and your glutes squeezed. It’s OK to do the ‘girl’ ones if you can’t do the ‘guy’ ones. As long as you can feel that you’re working. And, as soon as the ‘girl’ ones get too easy, do the guy ones instead!

Dumbell tricep extensions

‘If you don’t mind using weights, they’re  quite good. Use smaller weights and do something called a ‘tricep kick back’. You can do it kneeling down on a mat or standing up and bent over. Tuck your elbow into your waist and your arm out behind you with a flat back then lengthen your arm away and imagine squeezing and pushing your arms as straight as you can. You should feel something going on in the back of your arms. Do 12 to 15 reps.

The chaturanga


‘It’s like a narrow push up and then holding it,’ explains Helen. So it’s like if you’re in a plank and you just lower yourself down so you bend your elbows and hover. Let’s call it a “plank hover”. It’s quite hard. Aim to hold it for 10 seconds.’

The cable machine

If you’re at a gym, Helen recommends the shoulder press, and then the dreaded cable machine. ‘Holding onto the rope so you thumbs are up and your little fingers are down. Tuck the elbows in and extend the arms out and that’s just using a cable stack. Use the rope attachment and literally just hold onto the end above the ball, and as you pull down you also pull outwards. So down and out, but the elbows nice and still. That’s a good one.’ 

Helen is a trainer at Virgin Active Health Clubs

Like this? Then you might also be interested in:

Dear Fashion Industry, What Do You Have Against Sleeves In Summer?

I Hate Summer Clothes’ Here’s How To Get Dressed If You Hate Showing Skin

Here’s What Happened When We Put Poundland’s New Gym Gear To The Test. Yep, They’re All A Quid

Follow Jess on Twitter @Jess_Commons

Tags: Witness The Fitness