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Toned arms with the TRX

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

Fit arms with four exercises

Strappy sundresses, upcoming bikini season, and the uproar over Michelle Obama's terrifically fit arms, has put firm biceps, toned triceps and shapely deltoids on the fitness want list for most women. Does that mean hours in the gym pumping weights? Not at all! Pete McCall, MS, exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise (ACE) recommends a mere four upper body exercises to get arms that rival the First Lady's. Here are those effective time-saving moves using a new piece of equipment called the TRX Suspension Trainer.

What is the TRX?

"The TRX is a relatively new piece of equipment that allows the user to do resistance training exercises with only their bodyweight," explains McCall. "The TRX can be attached to any solid object (jungle gym, chin-up bar, etc.) and offers a variety of options for exercise."Designed by a Navy SEAL as a go anywhere workout, the TRX consists of a set of two nylon straps that creates resistance from your body weight and gravity. The straps can be locked onto any elevated fixture, including a door or even a tree branch, and offers five to 100 percent of your bodyweight for resistance. You choose how hard you want to work and adjust your body's incline accordingly.

Benefits of the TRX

Besides being ultra portable (the two pound straps fit in a small bag that you can take anywhere), the TRX can be used for full-body fitness training and functional core strength. The suspension aspect of the TRX creates an element of instability that forces your core muscles to kick in with every exercise you do.Even better, the TRX will make your workouts efficient. Simply using your bodyweight and gravity means there are no weight plates or machines to adjust, saving you time and giving you the option of adding circuit-style workouts to your fitness routine. Because the TRX provides functional fitness training, you will not only build strength and tone, you will also improve muscular balance and reduce your risk of injury.Ready to shape up those arms? Take a look at these illustrated arm exercises — then get to work!

Arm exercises with the TRX

How to get buff biceps

According to McCall, two different exercises that utilize the biceps brachii are the back row and the biceps curl. He says, "The primary focus of the row is for the muscles of the upper back, but the biceps and forearm flexor muscles also do a tremendous amount of work."The exercises physiologist recommends: Start with 2 to 3 sets of rows for 12 to 15 reps each, resting about 45 to 90 seconds between each set, then move on to doing the biceps-only exercise for 10 to 12 reps, again resting for 45 to 90 seconds between each set for a total of 2 to 3 sets.

TRX Back Row

Step 1: Starting Position: Holding the TRX handles in each hand, turn yourself to face the anchor point. Assume a split-stance position with both feet facing forward and maintain this foot position throughout the exercise. Stiffen your torso by contracting your core/abdominal muscles, and retracting and depressing your shoulder blades (pull your shoulder blades down and back).Step 2: Gently lean backwards, shifting your body weight over your back leg while extending your elbows. Keep your wrists neutral (straight, not bent) with palms facing inward. Concentrate on keeping your shoulder blades retracted and do not let your shoulders roll forward. Keep your head and spine aligned, and avoid any sagging in the low back.

Step 3: Upward Phase: Exhale and slowly flex (bend) your elbows by pulling your entire body towards your hands. Your elbows should move towards your sides and remain close to your body while your wrists should stay in the neutral position (think about pulling your elbows closer to your ribs). Maintain a stiff torso, aligning your head and spine, and avoid any sagging or arching in your low back or hips.

Step 4: Downward Phase: While maintaining your rigid torso, inhale and slowly lower your body back towards your starting position, extending (straightening) your elbows without your shoulders rolling forward. Keep your head and spine aligned together.

Back Row          Back Row

Next page…TRX Biceps Curl

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