Having strong arms is important to make your day easier, but many people seem to expect their arms to pick up anything and everything without ever making an effort to develop and strengthen the muscles. While you can go through life without building arm muscle, think about how much easier it is when you do: you'll be able to pick up your child and not worry about being strong enough. Don't forget about the nice side benefit of having lean, shapely arms! Building the strength is your arms is an investment in your future health and something that will repay you over and over as you call on your muscles to help you through your day.
When it comes to the subject of weight training, many women are frightened off by mental images of bulky female bodybuilders with protruding veins and think that that's what weight lifting will do for the body. That's just not so! For one thing, female bodies are not built to develop large, hulking muscles "" that's more for males. When you see a female bodybuilder with muscles similar to her male counterparts, you should know that that's not natural and requires hours of devotion to exercise and weights. Some individuals choose to use steroids despite the banned status of the drug within the bodybuilding community, and that further defines and enhances the muscles so they appear larger. That is not what the purpose of strength training; rather, lifting weights challenges and strengthens muscles in order to make them stronger. The stronger your muscles are the better support you will have for your body. Support your body and you cut down on aches and pains, injuries and even possible fractures.
Now that you're no longer concerned about your body bulking up out of proportion, it's time to think weights. If you already strength-train you probably have a good set of weights to use, but if you're just beginning, consider purchasing a basic set of hand weights ranging from 3-10 lbs. These are typically not very expensive and most will come with a rack to use for storage. A major advantage of a set of weights is that you can begin with the lowest weight you need and then work your way up slowly. Buying weights individually means that you'll have to go back to the store to purchase another set when it's time for you to increase the weight.
Now it's time to think about working the muscles in the arms. Most people are familiar with biceps and triceps muscles, but there are actually two other muscles that allow the arm to follow a full range of movement. These are the brachialis, covering the front of the elbow and allowing you to curl the arm up; and the brachio-radialis, situated on the outside of the forearm and performing twisting motions. These four muscles work together to allow you make even the simplest of motions with your arms. In terms of strength training, it's primarily the biceps and triceps that you will focus on but the remaining muscles can also benefit from exercises not targeted at them.
One of the best movements to strengthen the biceps muscle is the bicep curl. It's a classic because of the way it builds the muscle without a complicated movement. Begin by holding the weights comfortably in your hands with arms extended by your sides. Keep your elbows tucked firmly against the body and slowly raise the weights up and then lower. Repeat this for 3 sets of 20 repetitions. To maximize the movement, slow it down. This requires the muscle to work harder and will develop it faster. A variation of the bicep curl is to begin the same way but angle your arms at a wider angle to work more of the muscle.
A more unusual method of building the bicep is performing the Plank pose from hatha yoga. It's very easy and doesn't even require a mat. Simply lie facedown on the floor with your hands at about shoulder height. Take a deep breath and, using your core muscles as well as arms and legs, push your body off the floor until your back is straight and you are balanced on arms and feet. Maintain this position for a count of 20; lower and rest for a minute, then repeat for 2 sets of 10 repetitions. This movement not only works the biceps but it also toughens up the core muscles.
Plan to work your arm muscles about three times a week to begin with. Investing as little as 15 minutes in challenging the arms and you'll begin to see results in little as three weeks. Keep it up and you'll see benefits that last throughout your life
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