I will never forget being a college student, coming home freshman year after gaining a few pounds, and vigorously waving to my family as I pulled into the driveway for a visit.
My younger brother did not greet me with a “hello” or a “how have you been,” but rather, “Wow, you have bye-bye arms,” code for, “your arms jiggle when you wave.”
I’d like to share my favorite exercises for bye-bye arms (also known as “bat wings”) that require little equipment to strengthen, tone, and build lean muscle so waving bye-bye is a breeze!
1.Pullups. Don’t be alarmed—pullups aren’t as scary as they sound, and you can start small with one or two at a time and do more as you build strength. You can do pullups in a doorframe bar, easily installed for little money, or you can use gym or playground equipment. Pullups don’t just work your arms; they also strengthen your back and core, making other exercises and work-and-home tasks much simpler. (Check if your gym has an assisted pullup machine where you can rest your knees on a platform and adjust the level of “help” you get from the platform while pulling your weight upwards.)
2. Pushups. Pushups are great because they require no equipment and little space. A lot of women think pushups are not for them—FALSE! Pushups, even modified ones, work your entire upper body and provide optimal results in strength training—male or female. Start out with 5-10 at a time, and increase as you increase your strength. (The most I have gotten up to is 30 at a time—what about you?)
3. Chair pushups. Find a sturdy kitchen-style chair and sit. Put your arms behind you and scoot your derrière forward, out of the chair. With your hands on the edge of the chair, lower and raise your body, still in a seated position, using just the strength of your arms. Do 10 reps x 3, and increase your reps as you increase your strength.
4. Triceps lift. This one requires either free weights or a heavy, dense object like a dictionary or bag of rice. (My favorite weight is 10 lbs since I am using both hands together to lift the one object.) Hold the weight high over your head, arms fully extended, then lower them behind your head until your arms are at a 90 degree angle, bent at the elbow. Raise your arms back up. Do 10 reps x 3, and increase your reps as you increase your strength.
5. Triceps Swing. Lie on your back with your knees raised. Take a weight or heavy, dense object in each hand. (I prefer 5-8 lbs in each hand.) Raise your right arm high and straight, and extend your left arm behind you, parallel to the ground, but not touching it. As you lower your right arm, raise your left arm, alternating which extended arm is up and which is down. Keep your arms straight. (Special tip—the slower you go, the more your muscles will be worked!)
Try these five easy exercises, and wave bye-bye to bye-bye arms!