Arm + Core Exercises – Complete the exercises below twice on Weeks 1, 3 and 5
Our body can be divided generally into two parts: upper body and lower body. Molded along the top and middle of our spine in our upper body. This month, our upper body will contain our head, shoulders, chest, back and core. We have ALL our organs here and a strong upper body and core contributes greatly to our general health, how we feel day to day and how strong we are able to run. This month we will focus on our arms and core on the same day with many of the exercises doing double duty and hitting all these areas at once.
Dumbbell Pullover: Isolating the arms by incorporating weight helps us define the muscles or our arms and chest while these overhead movements also target the stabilizing muscles in our core.
Lie flat o the floor or a bench with legs bent together squeezing the inner thighs together. Hold the dumbbell overhead with arms outstretched so that your elbows are above your face. Slowly raise the dumbbell over your head towards the floor then slowly bring the dumbbell back up overhead and towards your core. This is one rep. Repeat for 30 seconds for each round.
Arnold Press: The Arnold Press is a great exercise that focuses on our deltoid muscles and, when done correctly, also targets our core. Because this press shifts through three different planes of movement, it targets all the parts of our deltoid muscles.
Start with your arms extended down by your sides, a dumbbell in each hand. Isolate the elbows and pull the dumbbells up towards your shoulders and hold there for a second. Next, open your arms so both are out to the side at 90 degree angles then push the dumbbells up overhead. Repeat this process backwards to go back to your starting position. This is one rep. Continue for 30 seconds.
Skull Crushers: Skull crushers work our triceps, the muscle on the back of your upper arm. The triceps, as the name implies, is a muscle with three heads. The long head originates above the shoulder joint on the scapula, or shoulder blade. The medial and lateral heads originate at the back of the upper humerus and terminate at the bony point on the back of your elbow called the olecranon.
The function of our triceps is to extend, or straighten, your elbow as well as to help extend your shoulder, such as when you bring your arm back when walking and running! If you perform the exercise incorrectly, there is some degree of risk. However, when you perform it properly, the risk is minimized, and the name “skull crusher” is nothing more than a nickname for supine triceps extensions.
- Sit on the bench with the dumbbell on your lap.
- Grasp the dumbbell with palms facing down, while keeping your wrists straight.
- Lie on your back as you bring the weight up to a position over your collarbone.
- Keeping your shoulders stable, slowly bend your elbows, bringing the weight down to just past your head. Keep your elbows pointing straight ahead as you lower the weight.
- Hold for 1–2 seconds. Then straighten your elbows, pushing the weight back to an overhead position. Keep your humerus bone fixed in space throughout the movement.
- Perform for 30 seconds
Swiss Ball Reverse Fly: This can also be done on a beach if you don’t have a Swiss ball.
Lie with a Swiss ball under your upper torso. Extend your legs out long behind you and balance on the balls of your feet. Squeeze your core deeply to help you balance and with dumbbells in your hands, open your arms out to the sides. Hold for a second then lower. Repeats for 30 seconds.
Power Cross Chop: Being able to twist from side to side while keeping our lower extremities still and solid is a challenge but that solid strength while moving will help us to run stronger and more powerfully and we will reap the benefits during every life too. The goal is to create deep stabilization of the hips and pelvis while firing up the muscles in our back, core and arms!
- Start with both feet side holding a medicine ball or dumbbell in your hands.
- Twist your body to the left with the ball low and knees slightly bent then thrust, rotating the ball strongly to the right corner above your head while bending the arms and pivoting your legs.
- Repeat for 30 seconds then switch side and repeat
Dumbbell / Medicine Ball Sit Up: The traditional sit-up gets an upgrade when you use a medicine ball to add extra resistance. You’ll feel more challenged as you build stronger muscles. The shape of these weighted balls makes them perfect for gripping making controlling your core easier as you raise and lower your torso.
The primary muscles targeted by medicine ball sit-ups are your abdominal muscles. When practiced with proper form, you activate your lower body as well, working your glutes and hamstrings. If you do not have access to a medicine ball you can easily substitute with a dumbbell.
- Start lying on the floor with the medicine ball out over your head and arms straight
- Curl head and shoulders off the floor and squeeze abs in. Raise the ball overhead and bring it in front of you as you sit up.
- Allow the ball to gently fall overhead as you lower back down to the starting position.