Ester Marsh: Firming up your arms, shoulders

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 19, 2020


hope you are doing well! I still feel I am living in the Twilight Zone.

Once again, stay connected via Facebook , Gotomeeting and Zoom.

The YMCA (and I know the Forum does too) offers virtual group exercise classes and is starting a “Healthy Living at home accountability program” Tuesday for our current active members at no additional cost.

As we all know, when we are home all day we start looking for things to do, but also to eat. We want to offer weekly support to keep you on track (or get you there) during virtual meetings. For more information, visit the Y website at

As promised, this week you will get exercises to keep your arms and shoulders firm, or to firm them up.

First of all, everyone has arm and shoulder muscles. However, some have more “padding” than others that covers those muscles up.

Typically, body fat percentages need to be 18 percent or lower for women and 12 percent for men to see muscle definition. (Like the great “six pack” many have that hides behind that “insulation”).

It is the same with the arms and shoulders. By (if needed) decreasing your calories and increasing your activity level and strengthening the muscles, you can have great looking arms.

Of course it makes it a lot more challenging staying at home, but it is doable!

Staying healthy and happy means you have to plan your workouts and your meals, but more on that next week.

For this week, we will work our biceps, triceps and shoulders. If you don’t have hand weights, use cans of soup. If your weights/cans of soup are lighter, go longer in repetitions.

Again, before a workout get a nice warm up in by walking or doing something else.

My favorite arm exercises and shoulder exercises to do at home are the following:

For biceps

• D-Bell curls: Weights are to the side of your body and you curl them up one at a time. You can also go with both arms together. Make sure your body is steady and doesn’t rock back and forth.  * Hammer curls- the weights are pointing forward and curl them up

Concentration curls: One weight in one hand, other arm is under the straight arm above the elbow (palm of hand on your ribs), curl arm up and down. Same other side.

For triceps

Dips: Use chair; hands on chair butt off chair, bend arms to 90 degrees and extend. The further your feet are away from chair the more weight you are pushing

Triceps kickbacks: Lean forward keep back very straight and belly tight, elbows next to body and stationary, extend arms and bend, also can be done one hand at a time

Overhead extensions: One arm straight up in the air next to your head, keep there, bend lower part behind head and extend.

For shoulders

Front lateral d-bell raises: Alternate lifting weights to the front with arm almost straight (do not lock)

Side lateral raises: Same but now to the side

Bent over flies: Lean over with a straight back and open them like you would side lateral. For more support on your back you can do one arm at a time and lean on your leg with other arm

Any exercises that hurts (besides the burning of the muscles working out) should not be performed. Try to do each of them anywhere from 15-25 reps and 1 to 3 sets.

And of course stretch after your workout. Stay healthy, keep moving and hang in there.

Ester H. Marsh is Health & Fitness director at the JF Hurley Family YMCA

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