Jillian Michaels

August 29, 2018

Sexy, Sculpted Arms!

Toned triceps, rockin’ biceps, and those beautifully round shoulders – sexy ass arms.  Everyone wants them, the kind that look amazing in tank tops or spaghetti strap dresses.  So, how do we go about getting them?  Well, you’d think the answer would be simple – lots of biceps curls, triceps extensions, shoulder presses?  Well, yes and no.

How’s that answer possible you ask?  Because the workout is different depending on where you are starting out from.  If you have weight to lose you need to do something different than if you are trying to gain muscle because your arms are too thin. 

So, I’m gonna break this down for you based on your entry points:

First, if you have weight to lose you likely have plenty of muscle, but that sinewy shape you are looking for is likely just beneath some subcutaneous (fat under the skin / over the muscle) body fat.  So the key here is going to be burning off that fat in order to bring shape and definition.  When it comes to fat burning you need to work multiple muscle groups simultaneously for optimal calorie burn and incorporate HIIT training to accelerate fat loss.  So exercises like heavy bicep curls or shoulder presses that stand alone are far less efficient for you.  This would build muscle, but not be effective in burning fat. So, in this scenario it's best to do exercises that work big muscles and uses the smaller arm muscles as secondary to the exercise.  For example: push ups work big muscle groups like core and chest in order to burn more calories, but the triceps and shoulders are still working as they have the same function as your chest, to push.  Same goes for biceps.  If you do back exercises like assisted pull ups, rows, lat pull downs etc. this will also work your biceps because biceps assist back in it’s function, pulling.   

You can also do combo moves like squat to press, lunge with curls, sumo squat to triceps extensions and so on.  The idea being, you are training legs and arms at the same time.  So you burn more calories / more fat while conditioning your arm muscles.

HIIT intervals are also extremely advantageous because they burn more calories / more fat when you utilize them in a training session.  You can do HIIT intervals that work arms as well to get the combo effect here as well. So exercises like mountain climbers, chest to floor burpees, speed bag drills, etc. work really well.

Now, conversely, if you are underweight and feel like you have flimsy arms and sloped shoulders you are going to want to focus exercises that build muscle and don’t burn too many calories.  So in this case, to gain muscle you need to eat more.  Roughly 10% more than you burn in a day.  Without the excess calories you don’t have the building blocks to add muscle tissue.  And you will want to lift heavy and avoid combo exercises with legs and arms because these moves tend to require lower weights.  So you might use 8lb dumbbells to do a lunge with a biceps curl, but if you did biceps curls alone you might do them with 15lb dumbbells – which is more effective for muscle building.  You can and should still do chest and back exercises (dips, push ups, pull ups, rows). Do these as heavy as you can manage with good form for roughly 8 reps per set.  Same with the heavy arm exercises (triceps extensions, biceps curls, shoulder presses, shoulder flys ).

Regarding HIIT intervals, while these are good for your overall health, and you can still incorporate them, be sure you eat enough.  Because if you don’t have those extra calories it will be impossible 

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