I'm getting alot of private messages related to the pictures of my arms people have seen. Sooo I'm gonna get you all at once and post some of the exercises I do, or that I got started with.
You should know right off that I did NOT carry my weight in my arms, they were a little poofy (I do have some stretch marks and a bit of extra skin there) but 90% of my weight was in my middle section - THAT is why I do not have excessive batwings. Genetics folks. (Though I think I would rather have bw's than an apple girl's disposition for heart related problems..) Anywho, exercise can make them look better, and of course improve your overall fitness, but exercise will NOT eliminate extra skin. If you are the luckiest person on earth you have perfect genes for skin elasticity and have never smoked or gotten a stretch mark and it will all go back where it started...otherwise...its PS for you, just like me and my stomach :)
Disclaimer - I am in no way an expert on fitness, or anything related to it, I only know what works for me. I highly suggest sessions with a personal trainer, even if its just one or one a month, to learn how to properly exercise and not hurt yourself. And of course you should consult with a doctor prior to starting any exercise regimen.
Now, some easy resources for exercises.. these have pictures, videos and workout routines that you can follow - both at home or in a gym. I started with a few personal trainer sessions, then when I couldn't afford it anymore, used what she taught me to find new and progressing things to do by researching these sites and others.
My philosophy about weight/resistance training is:
I want to build muscle, so I use a low number of reps, (usually 2 sets of 8 reps) and the highest weight I can handle so that I almost fail those last 2 reps. If I can do them easily on the 2nd set it's time to step it up a notch.
There is no such thing as spot reduction. You can do cardio, or weight training and burn fat by the virtue that it is exercise, but you CANNOT tell your body which fat to burn. You can only tone muscle areas, and build muscle - this doesn't eliminate fat.. thats how you can have great abs, but still a fat belly.
Every exercise you do works more than one muscle. Even if you are just wiggling your pinky finger you are still using the muscles in your palm and wrist! If you can't complete an exercise, the focus muscle (like chest muscles for chest presses) may not be the reason – maybe its your shoulders, or back, or biceps holding you back. It's important to work em alllllll.
Change is good. Boredom is bad. By the time you are bored with your workout, your muscles have LONG stopped getting any benefit from the same damn motion over and over. Write down 2 or 3 routines (yes even exercises you HATE) and rotate em every 2 weeks, or 3. Add resistance etc...
You can get just as good a workout with 0 equipment as you can with a mega-gym at your disposal. Most of the stuff below relates to free weights, but almost every exercise here can be found with a variation that uses no equipment, a resistance band, a machine, two soup cans, whatever.
A strong CORE (abs, back, hips, etc) make every other exercise easier.
OK now – Here are some of the upper body exercises I do:
Pushups – you know what a pushup is in its basic form, you can start out with the 'girl' pushups (knees bent) and move on when those are comfortable. As you get stronger, not just in your arms, but your core (essential to puships), legs and balance, there are TONS of variations, like the spiderman pushups I posted yesterday. Don't worry if you can only do a few at first – remember you're using your body as resistance, so in a normal pushup if you weigh 190 lbs – you're working against 190lbs. (minus a few for the pivot on your toes, but I ain't doin the math) That's ALOT!
Bench Press – do NOT do these without a spotter. Ever. No matter how tough you think you are. You may only be pressing a 10lb bar and 5lb weights, but 20lbs hurtling at your nose can still kill you, capice? Look up the proper form. Note: I sometimes do Bps with a bar with no weight on it to warm up a little and get my muscles engaged. Good Stuff!
Flys – now there are a TON of different “fly” types – seated flies, ball flies, machine flies – don't skip the machines! Changing up your workout does wonders and you don't HAVE to use free weights to be tough (or slam them on the floor OR make a grunting noise – most gyms get mad if you do that!)
Presses – again there are a hundred variations of this – butterfly presses, shoulder presses, chest presses (note these are with dumbells, not barbells..)
Curls – curls usually target a more specific area than the rest of the exercises, but STILL require multiple muscles to accomplish. Again, here, tons of variations – bicep curls, concentration curls, preacher curls, hammer curls...Look up proper form pick one, change it up!
Shoulder Raises – People always forget shoulder muscles, they're small, you don't think about it, heck if I'm working everything else my shoulders should be fine right? Shoulder exercises, like anything else DO target multiple muscles, but they are geared towards the shoulder. There are 4 muscles that make up your shoulder, they are all pretty small comparitively, but think about it – just about every single upperbody and even a lot of LOWER body exercises – engage your shoulders and require motion. It's important to give them some attention. Anyways – you can do lateral (side) raises, front raises, rear raises, overhead shoulder presses, rows and rotations (don't forget the rotator cuff!) Look 'em all up – proper form is important! P.S. You will find you need a significantly LOWER weight to do most raises – if you are working out with 25lbers on your bicep curls do not be upset that you need a 10 or 12lb weight for shoulder stuff – its normal!
Tricep stuff – Yep – this is batwing land. Most people who haven't really investigated weight lifting and are winging it, or worked with a trainer, will TRY to work a tricep and end up working a bicep. Now, you're always going to use other muscles in the process – but did you know that the BIGGEST muscle in your arm is the tricep? NOT the bicep! It's also one of the hardest to work. Some of my favorites exercises are tricep pull downs, tricep extensions (one or two handed), tricep dips (best results here I think), skull crushers (be careful, they call 'em that for a reason) and tricep kickbacks (there is a bent elbow version and a straight arm version – I prefer straight arm)
Ok so now you're thinking – shit thats a lot of stuff, I don't have time.... yesssssss you do! I don't do ALL of this, every workout – remember change is good. I pick one or two exercises that work each main muscle area, and then maybe 1 extra for what I am imagining (yes I hallucinate) is my “weak spot.”
Remember variation - Having an arsenal of variations means you don't get bored!
Remember proper form – no injuries!! no injuries!!! Use a trainer, read the machine, look it up, watch the video..etc!
Remember your rest - during REST is when you build muscle, when you exercise you are actually DESTROYING it. Yep – tearing it to pieces. The repair process is the building process and that happens on rest days. It's IMPORTANT to rest a very minimum of 36 hours between upper body workouts – 48 hours is best. Don't do this stuff daily, you will make 0 progress and wonder why. You'll also probably hurt yourself. Don't hurt yourself!
Remember your nutrition – a carby/proteiny snack no less than 30 mins prior (the more dense the food the more time before the workout k?) Ya need carbs for fuel, they aren't evil, don't be afraid! And then a protein snack within 30 mins post-workout (Liquid is best here folks – even if its just MILK..yep plain ol' moo juice) feed the repairing muscles!
Remember your hydration – for every 15 mins, ADD 8oz of water. Don't just drink 8oz per 15 during, this should be IN ADDITION TO your normal intake.
Without those things.. Rest, proper form, nutrition, hydration and sensible resistance (no needing to slam the weights folks!) you're not doin anything but frustrating yourself and hurting your body.
P.S. After your workout don't forget to stretch!!! Stretching before your workout risks injuring cold muscles, at least do a 5 min "warm up" to get the blood moving.
P.P.S. DONT TAKE MY WORD FOR IT! It's entirely possible that I am totally wrong and have just been lucky that I haven't killed myself - Please DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH! ASK AN EXPERT! VERIFY! Mkay?