Guns Blazing

Ah, summer!

Tanks tops. Swim suits. Sun dresses. Flabby upper arms!
If you skip one, two and three because of four, I have some words for you. Tone up those guns or wear them with pride. But do NOT spend the summer shvitzing in sleeves. It makes the rest of us overheated just to look at you. Especially if you’re having hot flashes!

younger arms
Not long ago, a friend approached me and sighed, wistfully, “Oh, you’re wearing a halter top. How brave of you!” Bravery has nothing to do with it. Consistent exercise is my savior. I have already told you about Les Mill Body Pump, an oldie but goodie that has given me strength and definition I never had before. On average, an hour of BP involves over 450 reps benefiting arms through chest, triceps, biceps, shoulders and back sets, a huge bounty when done two or more times per week. But if I can’t talk you into such a commitment, how about a modest investment in two hand weights, somewhere between 3 and 8 pounds, to use every other day? Too much? Try a video of arm exercises using nothing but a towel. Practically guaranteed (if we buy the pitch) to give you arms like SJP.push up

Older, toned and proud

Older, toned and proud

To give you some options, I consulted three people I have trained with. I have taken both Pilates mat and Body Pump classes with Joanne Marr. She thinks pushups are hands down (pun intended) the best. If using hand weights:
• Tricep kick backs
• Bicep curls
• Over head shoulder presses
2-3 sets if 12-15 reps, 3 times per week
If you exercise your guns regularly, you might try her “more bang for the buck” trio:
• Overhead shoulder press/triceps extension combo
• One arm row/triceps kickback combo
• Suspended bicep curls (arms straight out in front of shoulders, palms up)
2-3 sets of 12-15 reps, 3 times a weeks

tricep kickbacks
Next, I queried Big Guy Bobby DeCrescenzo, my hubby’s trainer who is helping me with back therapy. He acknowledges that the flabby upper arm is a tough spot to target, but suggests filling that space with muscle to tighten it up. He recommends:
• Triceps extensions, lying on back (skull knockers)
• Any form of bicep curls
• Side shoulder raises
3 sets of 15 reps, 3 times a week

If you’re a newbie to weights, start light with 3 lb-ers, then, as you are able, move up to 5, or 8, whatever you are comfortable with. If you can execute the 3 sets with ease, it is time to move up in weight.

Pilates trainer Erin Wathen likes the results you can attain at home with no props.
• Push ups and planks; also target your core and legs. Do them on your knees instead of toes if you need to modify. The slower, the better.
• Try side planks on your forearm to start, working up to hands. Increase intensity using one leg only.
• Tricep dips work well off the side of the bed or a bench. Keep arms close to your hips as you dip. Start with bent legs and work up to straight legs or one leg for more intensity.

Still working those 66 yr. old arms!

Still working those 66 yr. old arms!

For no investment whatsoever, you can get a great workout with a rolled up towel. Go to and take your pick. I like the one from Anna Kaiser, Sarah Jessica Parker’s trainer which I got through

I have a real problem with the so-called “Rules” that some of us impose on ourselves as we get older. Saying you can’t go sleeveless is no different than saying you can’t wear long hair  as you age, or short skirts etc. You are still hot after 50 (in more ways than one!) so flaunt it, wear it, own it proudly.

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