Mongoose Bodyworks

A tip for acheiving summer arms with Pilates in NYC

Ahh summer!! It’s right about now that I start to get requests for exercises to tone the arm muscles, especially the back of the arms. The best shaped bodies are the best aligned bodies. So reaching and thereby toning the shoulders and arms is best done when the alignment of the upper body is correct. In order to tone the back of the arms the humeral head ( top of the arm bone) must sit properly in the joint and the shoulder blades should not be protracted or rounded forward. So before toning the arms a simple chest stretch can help to balance the muscle lengths associated with rounded shoulders. The pinwheel is a nice option. • Lie on your side with your hips and knees bent at 45 degrees with both arms extended in front of your chest. Reach your top arm forward then circle it up over your head and around to make a full circle. Keep your hand as close to the mat as is comfortable and allow the spine to rotate with the twist. You should feel a nice stretch across your chest when your arm is behind you. To tone the triceps (backside of the upper arm) there are lots of options. Start with a 1-5 lb weight. To choose the right weight you should be fatiguing by the end of three sets of ten. What’s most important about triceps exercises is not which exercise you choose but HOW you do it. You’ll want to make sure that as you contract the triceps you are NOT simultaneously rolling the shoulder joint forward but that you are stabilizing the top of the arm bone into the back of the joint. Imagine it getting “suctioned into the socket” as you extend. • Start standing holding one weight in each hand. Extend straight arms behind you while visualizing width across the chest AND the back. Don’t just pinch the shoulder blades to open the chest but try to create width in a 3 dimensional way. And don’t allow the shoulder to roll too far forward. Hold in this extended position and then bent and straighten the arms ten times. Remember to focus on stabilizing the top of the arm bone into the back of the joint as you straighten!! Do three sets of ten. Come visit us in Soho,NYC Mongoose Bodyworks Pilates NYC 10012