Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tone Your Arms with the "Rising Forearms" Move

Oh my goodness, it has gotten hot, hot, hot outside!  Hello Summer!  This week we are focusing on our lovely arm muscles again.  And with the hot weather, who wouldn’t want to show off some toned arms with a sleeveless shirt?

This week’s exercise can easily become a whole body exercise so make sure to try out the variations below.

Rising Forearms (an “Overhead Block” in Kempo)
Begin with your legs wide (as though you were going to do a squat); keep your knees pressing out to activate your inner thighs and protect your knees.  Pull your belly in to support your lower back, open and lift your chest, and relax your shoulders.  Maintain this position throughout the exercise. 
Pull your hands into your armpits, bringing your elbows behind you; we call this “Elbow Position” in Kempo.  Try to keep your hands coming back to this position as it will work your back and triceps.  Now for the move: keeping your arm bent, bring your right arm in front of you and across your body, then forcefully shoot your arm up above your forehead.  Repeat on the other side.  That’s it!  Go for 2-3 1 minute rounds.  These speed rounds will create long, lean muscles…great for tank tops!

Note: The faster you move and the more power you put into it, the better of a workout you will get.  So make sure you really push yourself and push those arms!

Variation 1: If you want more of a challenge or to build a bit more muscle, add hand weights.  I recommend light weights (between 1-5 pounds) so that you can keep the 1 minute rounds.  Note:  as soon as your shoulders start lifting up toward your ears and you can’t keep them down (your trapezius muscle will be starting to hurt), you need to drop the weights and keep going without them.  Your shoulders are lifting because your arm muscles are getting fatigued.  This means your body has to recruit more muscle groups in order to keep doing the same movement and in this case, you are probably straining something.  If you keep going, yes you will still get a workout, but you will most likely also end up with a sore neck.
Variation 2: Add squats to get your legs more involved.  As your hand starts low, start low in your squat; as your hand shoots up, explode up out of your low stance.  Slow your rhythm down slightly so that you can get a nice deep bend in your squat.  Note: remember to keep your knees over your feet (you should be able to see your toes)!
Variation 3: Exhale loudly from your mouth as your right arm shoots up (inhale with your left).  This will contract your abdominal muscles, giving you a standing core workout.  You will have to forcefully expel your air in order to contract your muscles.  Note: vary the inhale-exhale with your movement (you don’t want to hyperventilate or turn blue!)  For example, if you are doing variation 2, you might inhale on your squat and exhale on the rising up.

 Let me know which variation you like the most.  Have a great week!

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