Fall may finally be here, but the temperature outside still feels a lot like summer! As a Pilates instructor here in Los Angeles, one of the side effects of global warming is the need to work continuously with my clients to keep their arms looking sleek and strong through out all the seasons-- Emmy's, People's Choice, Golden Globes, Oscar's, you get the picture:)
Well, there is some good news about continuing an intensive arm workout all year: keeping osteoporosis at bay. Maintaining beautiful arms year round means not only going sleeveless with confidence, but studies also suggest that it is necessary to perform weight bearing exercises continuously or their benefits will be lost. A fascinating fact about our bones is that although all bones are at risk for osteoporosis, spongy bone is the most susceptible. Examples of spongy bone can be found in the vertebrae (the spine) , the proximal femur (top of the femur and hip) and in the wrists which are also vulnerable to breaks related to bone loss. One simple way to protect bones is by performing weight-bearing exercises that are site-specific.
The reason this works is simple. When moderate pressure is detected by our bones they rise to the challenge by sending messengers named osteoblasts to mend and further strengthen bony areas stressed by moderate, external pressure. Neglecting to continuously perform weight-bearing exercises results in bone loss because the message to produce new bone stops being sent, causing our bones to become weak and porous. Strong bones do break when severe pressure is detected and will mend in time, but weak or porous bones can be susceptible to breaks when subjected to even mild pressure. Weakened bones also have crippling affects on our posture, not so hot in a gorgeous gown.
Unlike a lot of the conflicting and confusing information circling around about what we should or shouldn't do, performing this straight forward series of upper body, weight bearing exercises will deliver the exact benefits promised. Not only will your arms look sleek and defined, but you will enhance your posture and create stronger, healthier bones. Grab some weights and make this small commitment to your health that will not only give you strong bones, but beautiful, not bulky, sleek and sexy arms with some kick *ss muscle definition as well! Here is the muscle defining and bone blasting upper body workout that I perform everyday to keep my arms looking beautiful, my good posture intact and a future of probable osteoporosis on the down-low.
All of these exercises should be performed standing. Try to challenge yourself by using either 2, 3 or 5 lbs. weights.
Lengthen your arms out in front of you, keeping arms shoulder height. Inhale, as you pull the arms into a 90 degree angle. Exhale and release the arms back out straight. Repeat 10 times.
Curl to the side
Lengthen the arms out to your sides keeping hands slightly in front of the body, and also at shoulder height. Inhale, as you curl the arms into a 90 degree angle. Exhale, as you release the arms out straight. Repeat 10 times.
Keep the arms bent at a 90 degree angle. Inhale, as you close the arms together in front of you. Exhale, as you open the arms back out to the sides. Repeat 10 times.
Squeeze both arms together and breathe evenly as you lift the arms up and then lower with control down. Repeat 10 times.
For the next few exercises bend the knees as if you were about to ski downhill. Lengthen your spine, keep your powerhouse pulled in and up and work to avoid rounding the shoulders.
Maintain the bent knee position with a long, straight spine. Inhale, as you lengthen one arm forward and the other arm back. Exhale, as you alternate between arms. Repeat 10 sets. This movement should be performed with controlled arm movements intended to simulating boxing.
Continue to maintain the bent knee position. Place the weights together below the sternum bone with the elbows slightly bent. Inhale as you lift the arms with control out to the sides. Exhale as you slowly lower the weights back down together. Repeat 10 times
Lift both weights over your head placing both elbows out to the sides. Inhale, as you stretch both weights up together, then exhale as you slowly with control pull the weights down to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
Holding the weights down in front of you, imagine you are holding on to the zipper of your jacket. Inhale, as you pull the zipper up towards you. Exhale, as you unzip back to the starting position. Repeat 10 times. For a challenge, press the legs together and lift the heels of the floor with the zip, and lower with the unzipping. Remember to perform all these movements with concentration and control.