Meet Ashley. She's a 31-year old bride to be who is getting married in May this year who also happens to be my little sister. She's been dedicated to her health and her wedding since she got engaged in December of 2014. She's taken on a twice-a-week bootcamp, zeroed in on her nutrition and got uber focused on toning her arms for the big day.
Ashley asked me to create an arm challenge workout for her so she stays focused over the next 8-weeks. In return, you'll get to hear from her on a weekly basis and take advantage of the same moves she will be doing to create a more toned look.
Here's week one's challenge and Ashley's feedback on how she felt before, during and after. Week 2 and beyond follows!
Week 1 Workout: Repeat 4x
Move #1 = Incline push ups have you elevated off the ground on a stable surface. These are slightly easier than a regular pushup but still very effective! Still assume the proper body alignment with hips down and neutral with spine.
Move #2 = Side triceps allow you to lay on your side but no snoozing on this move! Bring your knees in to a 90 degree angle and assume the proper arm positions as described below. It's basically a side push up!
Move #3 = Plank up downs go from a beginning push up position on your hands to your elbows and repeat. Be sure not to sway your hips and keep them down.
- 15 incline push ups : Use the arm of a chair or couch or stool. Something that won't slip out from under you.
- 10 side tricep push ups: Lay on side and cross bottom arm around waist. Top arm is your push up arm. Lift your body off ground as you push your upper body off ground.
- 5 plank up-downs: Start on your elbows and push up into a straight arm push up position, then back down to elbows.
Week 1 Q&A:
Q: How'd week 1 go?
A: Week 1 went great! I had my bachelorette party this past weekend so that helped motivate me to get through it. All brides want to look good for their bachelorette party:)
Q: Was it hard to get motivated?
A: Not really. Only because I knew if I didn't do it I would be disappointed in myself later and always wonder how I would have looked if I pushed myself more.
Q: Did you feel pressure to live up to the challenge knowing everyone on the newsletter list was following along?
A: A little, although I think it only helps give me that much more motivation to do great with teh challenge knowing people are following along.
Q: How'd you feel after the workouts?
A: I felt sore after the first few days but also tight. I was a good feeling.
Q: Do you feel any different from the week before?
A: My arms seemed to look a bit more defined than the week prior but still a long way to go.
Q: What other workouts are you doing on top of the challenge?
A: Angi's Bridal Body Bootcamp of course, and I also work with a local personal trainer on strength training/cardio, and try to do incorporate my own cardio a few more times a week (running or walking).
Week 2 Workout: Repeat 4x
- Move #1 - 10 shoulder touch planks: In a push up position, tap your right hand to your opposite shoulder and bring back down to starting position. Then, switch to left hand, opposite shoulder. Keep hips still and do not sway. Your elbows remain in a straight but slightly bent position.
- Move #2 - 12 tricep dips: Pick a stable, elevated surface or use the ground. If you are elevated, be sure you do NOT slide out. Feet and knees at a 90 degree angle in front, hands behind your bum, and hips up off the ground. Push up with your hands so your elbows straighten and then drop your elbows down far enough until you feel pressure to come back up (it's a backwards push up!). Then, you can push back up.
- Move #3 - 10 overhead and chest press dumbbell presses: Grab 3-5lb weights and perform a shoulder press overhead (think touchdown style) and then press the dummbells out in front of your chest as if you are bench pressing. You can stand up for this entire series.
Week 2 Q&A:
Q: How was the challenge this week?
A: The challenge was good. I liked the variety of different exercises.
Q: Were you able to get all the rounds in all four days?
A: I will admit, I skipped a day or two, but I dedicated myself to not missing anymore days from here on out.
Q: Did you find one more difficult than the others? If so, which one?
A: I found the shoulder touch planks to be a little challenging, but I liked them.
Q: How do you feel your arms look this week?
A: I am slowly starting to see more definition in my arms. Excited to see the end result when I am done with the whole challenge!
Week 3 Workout
Repeat 4x - still working through it this week
- Move #1 - 10 side planks with twist, each side: Prop up on your hand and lift hips off the ground with feet in straight line from head to toe. Opposite arm has a 3-5lb weight in hand, raised towards ceiling. Twist weight under your body and back to raised position, all while keeping your hips lifted.
- Move #2 - 20 front shoulder raises, total: use 3-5 lb weights and hold in each hand just in front of your thighs. Arms have a slight bend in elbow, and raise to chest level out in front of your body. Hands stay close. Repeat up and down for 20.
- Move #3 - 20 Bent over rows, each side: use 5-8 lb weights and bend over at the waist with right leg in a high lunge position behind you. Front, left leg is bent. Start with weight in right hand and hanging towards ground. Pull the elbow back behind you and bring back to starting position. Repeat.
Week 4 Vacation Workout
Repeat 4x - pack your resistance bands and paper plates
Move #1 - 10 up downs on a step. Up and down = 1 count. You'll want to be in a plank push up position, either on your knees or knees off the ground to make it harder. Use one stair and climb up and down it for count of ten. Rest then repeat.
Move #2 - 8 push up slide outs. Grab some paper plates. Start with one plate on your right hand and get in a pushup position. Slide right hand out to the side and bring it back in, all while staying in a push up position. Do 4 on each hand then rest and repeat.
Move #3 - 10 bow and arrow pulls with resistance band or 3-5lb weights (if you have a gym available). Get into a position like as if you are getting ready to shoot a bow and arrow. If you have a band, wrap one end of the band around your front hand thumb and pull with the opposite end with the other hand (back behind you). Pull the back arm back repeatedly until you reach ten count, then switch arms. You'll work the triceps with this move. Ten on each side and rest and repeat.
Week 5 Workout: Repeat 4x, 4 days/week
Equipment Needed: 3-5 lb weights
Move #1: 12 arm curls. This basic move will work those biceps and triceps tight. Hold elbows in close to ribs (not to rest them but slightly touching) and palms facing up. Start with hands down by thighs and curl to chest. Repeat
Move #2: 10 upside down touchdown shoulder raises. Standing, put your hands in an upright touch down position, now turn it upside down. While holding 3-5 lb weights, raise forearms to shoulder height. Keep elbows up and out and up as you repeat.
Move #3: 8 explosive push ups. Kneel tall and fall forward to land on your hands in a push up position. Push right back up to starting position. Be sure to not over arch back or fall too hard onto hands. Repeat.
Week 6 Workout: Repeat 4x, 4 days/week
Equipment Needed: 3-5 lb weights
Move #1: 20 push and pulls. Standing with knees slightly bent, hold 3-5lb weights out in front of you, palms facing each other. Hold at chest height. Begin to push and pull, alternating each as if you were on an Elliptical machine.
Move #2: 10 push up plank shoulder taps. In a a starting push up position, keep hips facing ground the whole time while you bring your right hand to the left shoulder and back to start. Then, switch sides. Do a total of 10 taps.
Move #3: 10 pushups. Getting back to basics. Try it without using your knees and get an added core workout. Try bringing your elbows to a 90 degree angle as you press down.
Week 7 Workout (Wedding Week!): Repeat 4x, 3 days/week
Equipment Needed: 3-5 lb weights
Counts below denote total so split counts per arm where needed.
Move #1: 20 deltoid pull downs. On knees, with booty off ground, hold 5-8lb weights and bring into a football goal position. Elbows stay up. Alternate grabbing and pulling from one corner of the ceiling with one weight and pull down into shoulder blades back to goal position. Switch sides.
Move #2: 10 lateral push up walks. In a push up position, walk your hands and feet 10 times to the right. Then, switch to the left. Your core is in a sturdy and flat position the whole time. Booty and hips stay down.
Move #3: 10 crab walk up downs. Get in a crab-like position, keep feet grounded and pull yourself up into a standing position without using your hands. Come back to crab position without moving your feet.
You can do it!