You can get tired of a good, dependable thing like push-ups after a while. It even happens with your fave Lizzo songs (controversial statement, but—true). While both may build you up and make you stronger (physically and emotionally speaking), you tend to just crave something different every once in a while.
That’s why I’m bringing you a slew of new, fun arm-strengthening moves to add to your sweat repertoire for the days when you just cannot. do. one. more. push-up. And I know you’re excited about it, because after surveying readers in an Instagram poll, a whopping 78 percent of you said you’re sick of the OG upper body move.
“Push-ups are no doubt a go-to move for training the upper body and for a good reason—they’re great,” says Corey Phelps, a Washington DC-based personal trainer. “But one cannot build a strong upper body with push-ups alone. It’s essential to train in multiple ranges of motion as well as balance training with more than just pushing motions.” And that’s all that push-ups give you.
Incorporating a variety of arm-strengthening movements while working out will help keep your body balanced, which will also help with preventing injuries. “If a certain area builds a lot of strength while another area remains weak, we run the risk of the stronger muscles overcompensating for the weaker ones, which, in turn, can cause injury,” says Victoria Brown, a senior SoulCycle instructor. Now let’s get our upper bodies balanced and strong, shall we? Keep scrolling for four expert-approved arm movements to try in your fitness regimen—sorry push-ups, we’re on a break.
Phelps recommends these to work all of the muscles in your arms, back, and chest. Place your hand on the bar in either a wide, narrow, or underhand grip, tighten your core and glutes, then pull your chest up towards the bar. Lower back down. “Feel free to use resistance bands to assist as you build strength,” she says.
“Inchworms are a go-to move of mine,” says Jackie Wilson, CEO and founder of Nova Fitness Innovation. “This upper body dominate move is packed with full-body benefits, and forces your entire body to engage and work together to perform the movement.” It’ll target your shoulders, arms, back, and core. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees slightly while walking your hands in front of you until you’re in high plank position, then walk your hands back, bending your legs slightly as you stand back up. And repeat.
While these start in the push-up position, they’re very different. “This movement provides benefits for the arms, core, and shoulders,” says Wilson of another one of her upper body faves. From push-up position, tap your left shoulder with your right arm, then return your right arm to the starting position. Then tap your right shoulder with your left arm, and return it to the starting position—and repeat.
Both Wilson and Brown praise dips as an easy move you can do anywhere that fires up your triceps. Just find a chair or a bench or any raised surface, place both hands shoulder-width apart behind you with your arms extended. Squeeze your core and lower body until both arms are at a 90-degree angle, then raise your body while extending the arms, and repeat.
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