The second thing to go were my upper arms. Now, I'm pretty sure the flesh underneath your biceps is not an integral part of the baby-growing process -- as far as I know there are no important childbirth-related organs stored in there -- and yet in both my pregnancies my arms got all squishy and flappy and generally had to be sausaged into all those ridiculously short-sleeved maternity shirts invariably adorned with shoulder ruffles (WHY?). Sure, this may have happened because I wasn't working out and I allowed myself a trough or two of ice cream on a daily basis, but really, I've noticed even pin-thin celebrities tend to get the Pregnancy Arms. Well, except Angelina Jolie, but I think she may actually be some sort of sensual-lipped robot.
I really wanted to get my arms back in shape after the baby was born, mostly because I was thinking ahead to summer and sleeveless outfits and not wanting a stiff breeze to create visible ripples in my arm-pudge, but also so I could carry the carseat without collapsing on the ground and sobbing.
In the last few months, I've seen major improvements in my arms -- they are much more toned than they were, and while I suppose they'll never be Madonna-esque in their musculature (and really, I'm not sure I'd want them to be, because holy CRAP) they're actually pretty strong right now. I thought I'd share some of the exercises I've been doing to tone this area:
â€¢ Triceps kickbacks, shoulder presses, front raises, and triceps extensions. I usually do about 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions of these, using 5-lb dumbbells.
â€¢ Yoga. So many yoga poses work your arms, but in particular the Chaturanga (I hope I'm spelling that right) really adds strength. I take a yoga class at the gym once a week and I follow along with the "Inhale" show on the Oxygen network at least two or three more times.
â€¢ Turbo Jam. I swear I don't work for the Turbo Jam people, I just really like this workout. All those repetitive punches work the holy heck out of your arms and shoulders, and there's a great strength training video on the "5 Rockin' Workouts" DVD (hey, I didn't name these) that includes a whole-body sculpting routine.
â€¢ Crunch: Boot Camp Training. This isn't my favorite exercise DVD but I really like the segments that work the arms, particularly the super-strengthening shoulder presses, lat pulldowns, and rows. The pushup sections are a nightmare, but obviously they give you a good workout too.
So, how about you -- are upper arms a challenge area for you too, or are you one of those sinewy, naturally-Pilates-toned types who look awesome in cap sleeves? (If so, you know I hate you, right? In a loving kind of way?) Have you ever tried to tone specific areas of your body, and were you successful? Because I could use some tips on how to deal with the BELLY next.
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