As my husband would joke, you've got those Michelle O arms. Out are the days of trying to be uber skinny. Let's focus on being strong and healthy. As mothers, it pays to have some muscle behind those tri's and bi's. Between loading kiddos in carseats, wrestling to change diapers, hoisting them into high chairs and generally carrying them here and there we need to be packing some muscle.
Here are 8 exercises to tone, strengthen and shed that flappy bat wing under your arm. Muscle is not only healthy and helpful, it's beautiful. Split up these exercises and use them two days out of your week to start improving your tone. I guarantee you'll start to notice how much easier it is to lug your toddler around.
Dumbbell Skull Crushers
Lie either on a bench or a stability ball holding two dumbbells directly in front of you. Your arms should be fully extended towards the ceiling. Palms facing in and elbows should be tucked in, not bowed out at all.
As you inhale, keep your upper arms stationary with the elbows tucked in as you slowly lower the dumbbells until they are near your ears. Now, keep the upper arms stationary and elbows tucked the entire time as you use the tricep muscles to bring the weight back to your starting position with your arms extended towards the ceiling.
Tricep Push Down
If you have a gym membership you can use a high pulley cable machine to perform this exercise. I will be demonstrating how to do this from home with a fitness band. Start by attaching the band to a sturdy overhead beam, staircase rail (like I am using) or any other creative spot that will support the resistance of this exercise.
Keeping your elbows tucked and locked to your sides begin with your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. As you contract the triceps, move your arms down to your side until your arms are straight. Only your forearms should be moving, keep your upper arm stationary the entire exercise. Squeeze the triceps and hold for a second in this contracted position. Slowly return to your starting position, going up only to the 90-degree angle.
Place a bench or sturdy chair behind your back. Facing away from the chair, hold on to the edge with hands shoulder wide apart. Legs should be extended forward, bend at the waist and keep elbows tucked behind you.
Slowly lower your body as you inhale by bending at the elbows, keeping them tucked straight behind you the entire time. Lower yourself until there is an angle slightly smaller than 90 degrees between the upper arm and forearm. Using your triceps to bring your torso up again, lift back to your starting position. Tip: The further away you place your feet from your body the harder it will be. For beginners, start with your feet closer to you at more of a 90 degree bend in your legs and work your way up.
Body Tricep Press
Standing, take a shoulder width grip on a bar or wall and step a yard or so back, feet together and arms extended so that you are leaning on the bar or wall.
Now keeping your elbows tucked straight downwards, lower yourself towards the bar or wall. Pause, then press away and extend the elbows again to your starting position.
Begin in a plank position on the ground. All your body weight should be on your toes and forearms with the rest of your body straight and lifted. Forearms should be shoulder-width apart.
Pressing your palms firmly into the ground, extend through the elbows to raise your body from the ground. Keep your body straight and still the entire time. Slowly lower your forearms back to the ground to your starting position.
Dumbbell Tricep Extensions
Stand with dumbbell held by both hands. Fully extend both hands with the dumbbell over your head until both arms are fully extended. Feet should be shoulder width apart. The palm of your hands should be facing up towards the ceiling. The dumbbell should be resting in the palms of your hands with your thumbs wrapped around it.
Keeping your upper arms close to your head with elbows tucked in, lower the dumbbell behind your head until your forearms touch your biceps. Keep your upper arm stationary the entire exercise. Use the tricep to raise the dumbbell back to the extended arm starting position.
Tricep Dumbbell Kickback
Using either a bench or a stability ball place one hand on the ball and while the other hand holds the dumbbell. Keep your back straight and a slight bend in the knees and bend forward at the waist. Your torso should be almost parallel to the floor. Your upper arm should be close to your torso and parallel to the floor with your forearms pointed towards the floor. There should be a 90-degree angle formed between your forearm and upper arm.
While keeping your upper arm stationary, use your tricep to lift the dumbbell until the arm is fully extended behind you. After a brief pause, slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position.
Lie down flat on a bench or stability ball with dumbbells extended straight in front of you, palms facing each other. Do not lock out your elbows but keep a slight bend.
With a slight bend in your elbows, lower your arms out at both sides until you feel a stretch in your chest. Arms remain stationary the entire exercise with that slight bend of the elbow. Exhale as you bring the arms back to the starting position as your squeeze your chest muscles. Hold for a second at the contracted position and repeat.