Focussing on the lower half of our bodies makes sense as women are often genetically pre-dispositioned to carry weight in that area, especially after pregnancy, but it also means that we sometimes neglect our upper bodies, in particular our arms and shoulders.
Not only hold great aesthetic purposes, but also need to be strong and resilient for the added workload they end up taking on once a baby is on the scene.
Our arms need to be strong!
If you think about your average day, your arms and shoulders spend a large part of it working hard. Breastfeeding, bottle feeding, rocking, carrying baby, wearing a sling or carrier, pushing the pram, they all require our arm and shoulder muscles to be working effectively.
Add tasks like grocery shopping into the mix and it’s not hard to see why you often find yourself having sore shoulders at the end of a busy day!
Building up muscle throughout our bodies is a big positive for health and weight loss as the more muscle we have, the more effective our metabolism will be.
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Integrating a few simple upper body exercises into your routine is a great way to tone the area (who doesn’t want gorgeous, shapely biceps and triceps) as well as keep it in shape for the future, especially as your baby turns into a toddler and gets heavier and heavier.
When it comes to resistance exercises, always remember to start slowly and listen to your body. Consulting a personal trainer or other qualified person can also be helpful if you feel as if you’re getting stuck and confused. Never push your body to a point where things are painful and always stop if you feel faint/dizzy or overwhelmed.
Here are our 4 easy exercises for toned arms
1. Bicep curl
Bicep curls work the front part of your upper arms (your biceps), muscles which are essential for lifting and carrying.
Sit on a fit ball or stand, legs comfortably apart with knees slightly bent.
Hold a light weight (or food can) in each hand.
Keeping your shoulders level and arms steady, breathe out and curl the weights/cans towards your body smoothly so that you feel your bicep muscle contract.
Inhale and return weight to your sides.
Complete 10-12 repetitions before taking a break.
2. Shoulder press
The shoulder press works a wide variety of muscles in your shoulders and back.
Sit on an exercise ball or stand, feet comfortably apart, knees slightly bent
Holding a light weight in either hand, bring your hands up so that they are in line with your shoulders
Breathe out and push the weight above your head, using your shoulder muscles
Return your hands to their starting position
This is one rep. Complete 10-12 before resting
3. Tricep kickback
This exercise works the underside of your upper arm (the infamous ‘bingo wing’ area) which can be hard to tone and strengthen without specific exercises.
Lean forward slightly and rest your hand on an exercise ball/park bench/other stable surface
Bend your right leg forward while keeping your left leg straight
Hold a light weight or can in your left hand
Bring your arm up so that your elbow is pointing behind you and the weight is parallel to the floor
Straighten out your arm so that your elbow is no longer pointed. You will feel your tricep contract
Return to the starting position
This is one repetition. Do 10-12 of these.
4. Lateral raises
Lateral raises are a great exercise for working your deltoid (where your arm meets your shoulder) muscles.
Stand with feet comfortably apart and knees slightly bent
Holding a light weight in each hand, raise your arms out to the sides, so that they are in line with your shoulders and parallel to the ground (as though you are pretending to fly).
Return your arms to your sides. This is one rep.
Do 10-12 of these reps before stopping.
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If you are wanting to lose weight and improve your energy – not to mention – help improve your overall health and wellbeing – our 28 Day Weight Loss Challengeis an awesome program to check out.
Our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge includes:
28 days of at home exercise routines (no gym needed) – with video instruction
Customisable and breastfeeding friendly meal plans (including 7 Day Cleanse)
Time-efficient exercises for busy mums – under 30 mins
Challenge combines Pilates exercises with interval and circuit training (HIIT)