Photo: Johner Images/Getty
Put yourself in a wedding dress and any body bothers you might have suddenly become magnified – especially if it’s your arms you’ve got beef with. Yep, while legs and tummies can be concealed under swathes of silk and satin, your upper body stays in the spotlight. Whether it’s linking arms with your dad or cutting the cake, those limbs will be caught on camera at every occasion. Luckily, Jess Schuring, the founder of Heartcore Fitness – who counts Kate Hudson and Elle Macpherson as her clients – has revealed these do-them-anywhere exercises to ensure you get A-list arms in time for the big day (and no, you don’t have to worry about looking like a body-building bride).
Your arm-busting essentials
● A set of light weights (around 1kg)
● A yoga mat (not essential but the more comfortable option)
Your tone-up time frame
“A 20-minute workout four to five times a week is enough but don’t rush your reps,” says Jess. “People get afraid of building muscles, so they don’t do the exercises for long enough. It’s about moving slowly, keeping your muscles engaged and focusing on micro movements to maintain connection in the muscle until you fatigue. That’s how you get long and lean!”
Photo: Blend Images/John Fedele/Getty
For beautiful biceps
Exercise 1: Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent and abs engaged. Bring your arms in front of you to shoulder level with your palms facing up and shoulders relaxed. On an inhale, bend your elbows in to 90 degrees then extend out on your exhale, focusing on a slow movement and strong abs. Repeat eight times.
Exercise 2: Keep your arms at shoulder level and bent at 90 degrees then perform mini lifting movements as if pushing your fingertips to the sky. Repeat 16 times.
Exercise 3: Open your arms out so they remain at shoulder level (elbows still bent), then squeeze your elbows back together in front of your chest as you exhale. Repeat eight times.
Exercise 4: Repeat exercise two.
The small print: The above exercises are equal to one rep. Aim for four reps if you can, with or without dumbbells.
For toned triceps
Exercise 5: Sit on the floor with your feet hip-width apart, in line with your knees, and your hands next to your hips, fingers facing forward. Press yourself up pushing into the palms of your hands and bring your hips as high up as you can, shifting your weight into your hands and away from your feet. Inhale as you bend your elbows (make sure they stay close to your body and don’t go out to the sides). Then, on the exhale, straighten your elbows, pressing through your hands. Repeat eight times slowly.
Exercise 6: On your eighth press-up, bend your elbows halfway and make one-inch micro movements up and down. Repeat 16 times.
The small print: Both exercises are considered one rep. Repeat up to four times.
For sexy shoulders
Exercise 7: Stand straight with your arms by your sides, knees slightly bent and abs tight. As you exhale, lift your arms to shoulder level, palms facing downwards. Inhale and lower your arms until level with the top of your hips, then lift them back up again, making sure you
keep the muscles in your shoulders engaged. Repeat three times.
Exercise 8: On your third lift, hold your
arms up and circle eight times in each
direction before lowering them.
The small print: The above is one rep,
repeat non-stop between six and 10 times, then do the whole thing again with your
palms facing upwards. Dumbbells optional!
For perfect pecs
Exercise 9: Come into a straight-arm plank with your feet hip-width apart and your hands a bit wider than your shoulders. Make sure your fingertips are slightly turned in, your abs engaged and your shoulders down. Bend your elbows halfway then make tiny micro movements up and down – around an inch. Go slow and control the movement, so you’re using your muscles rather than momentum. Aim for eight then hold your elbows in the bent position for another eight counts before straightening your arms.
The small print: This is one rep. Repeat four times. Drop to your knees if you need to.
The at-work arm exercise hack
Exercise 10: Sit up straight and slightly forward on your chair with your feet together at a 90-degree angle and your stomach pulled in. Lift your shoulders high up on your inhale, hold your breath for one second, then slowly exhale, rolling your shoulders back and down, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Repeat ten times. This is amazing for stress relief and perfecting your posture, too. Result!