3 Moves for Great Arms

By Camille Styles

Gwyneth, Victoria, all three of the Jennifer’s… what do they have in common besides enviable wardrobes and stellar careers? If you guessed “amazing arms,” you’d be darn right, and I’d bet money that those ladies worked hard to get them. For today’s post in our new fitness tutorial series, we asked Marnie O’Donnell, owner of MOD Fitness (my go-to spot since I’ve returned to working out post-pregnancy), for the 3 signature moves that are key to her gorgeously toned arms. Click through the slides for the 5-minute sculpting workout that’ll have your arms show-off ready — just in time for cocktail party dress season!

*photos by Jessica Attie; location: MOD Fitness, Austin

Tricep Dips (do 2 sets of 20 reps)

Change the back of your arms with this killer move. It tones, sculpts and tightens the largest muscle in your arm – the tricep.

  1. Sit on the floor or a mat with hands placed under your shoulders, thumbs and fingers facing your seat.
  2. Place feet in front of hips to make a 90-degree angle behind the knee. Turn your gaze upwards.
  3. Lift your body off the floor and shift your weight back so that the shoulders are aligned over your hands.
  4. For an added challenge, extend one leg straight diagonally, lining up your knees with each other.
  5. Bend your elbows, lowering the shape down 2-3 inches and back up to the starting position (one rep). Switch which leg is extended after the first set.

Modification: keep your seat on the floor throughout the entire movement.

Downward Dog Tricep Pushups (do 2 sets of 20 reps)

Strengthen your shoulders and triceps with this yoga-inspired move. Downward dog tricep pushups are an amazing way to take your pushups to the next level while also engaging your core.

  1. Start in a straight arm plank with hands under your shoulders.
  2. Lift your hips coming into downward facing dog while maintaining a tight core.
  3. Inhale as you lower and bend your elbows towards your toes; exhale and extend your arm straight contracting your triceps.
  4. For the second set of 10 reps bend your elbows towards 5 and 7 o’clock to target your shoulders.

Side Plank with Arm Extensions (2 sets of 10 reps on each side)

We love to multitask whenever possible at MOD Fitness – two moves for the price of one! Side plank is a great way to tone your abdominals and obliques, and adding the weight and arm moves will work your shoulder and upper body.

  1. Start in a straight arm plank with a weight next to your left wrist.
  2. As you turn into a side plank, carefully pick up the weight with your left hand while pressing your right palm into the floor, right elbow slightly bent.
  3. Begin by pressing your left elbow against your top hip and extending your arm straight to the ceiling. Lower the weight back to the hip to complete one rep.
  4. Maintain proper form by stacking your ankles, hips and shoulders on top of one another and pulling your abdominals towards your spine to stabilize your torso.
  5. If you feel unstable bring your top leg forward of the bottom leg to balance yourself.

Marnie O’Donnell is creator and owner of MOD Fitness Studio, where her mission is to help others transform their bodies and reach their physical goals while creating a challenging and encouraging environment (and take it from me — it is amazing!) Big thanks to Marnie for stopping by and sharing these tips for getting great arms!