When it comes to getting great arms, you don’t always have to work just your limbs. “Too much direct muscle training throws the body out of balance,” explains celebrity trainer Jason Walsh, who founded the L.A.-based climber studio Rise Nation and works with clients such as Alison Brie and Mandy Moore. It’s also a surefire way to add bulk, which is not typically a woman’s goal. That’s why Walsh prefers more of an indirect approach, looking at the arms as “synergist,” or muscles that aid the movement. Don’t be fooled, though—your arms are about to get seriously sculpted.
Resistance Band Face Pulls
Sit with legs stretched out in front of you, a resistance band around feet with one end of band in each hand, arms straight (A). Pull band toward forehead, flaring elbows out (B). Slowly reverse movement, then repeat. Do 15–25 reps.
Start in “up” part of a push-up with abs tight and body in line from head to heels, hands on sliding discs (A). Bend right elbow and, keeping arm as close to body as possible, lower into a push-up, sliding left arm straight out in front of you (B). Press back up, sliding left arm back to “A.” Repeat with right arm. Continue alternating for 6–10 reps per side.
Try this! This packable tool works well on virtually any surface to create a less stable exercise environment. It forces you to engage your core whatever the exercise.
Stand tall with core tight and arms at shoulder level in front of you, grasping a resistance band with both hands (A). Squeeze shoulder blades together, pulling hands out to sides (B). Pause, and then slowly and with control return hands to “A.” Do 20 reps.
Try this! We like Theraband CLX Consecutive Loops. It comes in various resistance levels and has loops down the center for exercise versatility.
Med Ball Bent-Over Chest Pass Slams
Holding a medicine ball in front of chest, stand with feet wider than hip-width and knees bent; hinge at hips, and lower chest slightly (A). Brace abs and explosively throw ball at ground (B), catching it in front of chest on the rebound. Do 15–20 reps.
Try this! The TRX Slam Ball, weighing from 6 to 50 pounds, helps you work on both strength and explosive power.
Banded Upright Rows
Stand on resistance band with feet shoulder-width apart, holding the ends of band in front of thighs; palms face back (A). Pull hands straight up toward chest until elbows are facing up (B). Hold for one second, then slowly lower down to “A.” Do 15–20 reps.