Actress Jessica Biel sets the standard for sexy, defined arms. Although you may not have the money or star-powered personal trainers she does, you can still achieve the same sleek shoulders, biceps, and triceps. A great way to get strong arms is through full-body exercises that target those areas, says Jennifer Devilliers, a certified personal trainer and co-founder of ThePrimeMethod.com. "Total-body exercises give you more bang for your buck because you burn more calories and see more muscle tone." Say goodbye to noodle arms once and for all with this Devilliers-designed workout routine.
Discover the in-home solution that will transform your body forever-the NEW Spartacus Workout!
"The best thing about the t-pushup is it tones the back of arms," says Devilliers--a common trouble spot for women. With the t-pushup you transition from a traditional pushup position into a side plank, which makes the shoulders and core work harder, she explains. Plus, the move strengthens and tones the chest.
How to do a T-pushup:
1. Start off in pushup position with your hands directly under your shoulders.
2. As your body rises, rotate to support yourself on your right hand and the side of your right foot so that your feet are stacked on the outside of your ankle. At the same time, extend your left hand to the ceiling. Create a straight line from one hand to the other. Rotate down to pushup position and repeat on the other side.
Tip: Keep your pelvis tucked and shoulders pulled down away from your ears throughout the movement.
Reps: 10 per side
"A lot of bodyweight exercises focus on pushing, so pullups are great because they focus on pulling and help balance the body," explains Devilliers. They also require your whole body to be engaged, particularly the chest, back, arms, core, and legs. "With proper form, you really target back muscles, and those are the muscles that look great when you wear a strapless dress, tank top, or bikini," she says. To work on form, you can use a band until you are strong enough to do it on your own.
How to do a band-assisted pullup:
1. Grab the bar with a wide grip (wider than shoulder width) and shoulders down. Put one knee into band. Hang from the bars with straight arms and without bending your arms, squeeze your shoulder blades together.
2. With a band looped under one knee, pull your chest to the bar. Expand the chest towards the bar as you pull. Lower yourself using control at a slow five to six count and stop before shoulders come up.
Tip: Keep your entire body tight--tighter is lighter.
Reps: 10 (slow)
"When you perform this exercise correctly, you get the benefits of a pullup and the pushup in one exercise," says Devilliers. Essentially, you are pulling yourself forward into a knee pushup and pushing yourself back into an extended child pose, which targets the mid back, pectoral (chest) muscles, triceps, and glutes. Plus, "one of the best parts of doing push planks is that if you're not using your core, you can't perform the move," she says.
How to do a push plank:
1. Start in an extended child's pose on your knees and the balls of your feet.
2. Push directly forward with your tail tucked, chin down and catch yourself in a plank position. Keep your elbows in by your ribcage and your hands below your shoulders. Push back with your palms to the start position, driving your glutes to your heels.
Tip: Keep shoulders packed down--away from your ears--throughout the movement.
"The rocca press is fabulous for the shoulders," says Devilliers. While you tone your shoulders, this move also stretches the hamstring and calf muscles. To ensure proper form, remember to pull shoulders away from each other as you move down toward the floor, Devilliers suggests.
How to do a rocca press:
1. Start in a wide down-dog position on the balls of your feet.
2. Keeping your back flat, belly in, and quads locked, lower the top of your head to the floor by bending elbows back at a 45-degree angle. Then, press up and repeat.
Tip: Keep a straight line from your tailbone to your wrist, and don't round your back when you lower.
"The forward ellipse is like an elliptical pushup," says Devilliers. It can be done forward or backward, and targets the chest, triceps, and shoulder muscles.
How to do a forward ellipse:
1. Start on hands and knees with hands shoulder-width apart and knees wide and lifted off of the floor. Keep your back parallel to the floor throughout the entire movement.
2. Shift your body forward until your chest goes past your hands. Bend at the elbow, knees, and hips, and move your body down (the butt moves towards heels, then up and forward in a continuous elliptical movement).
Tip: Pull your elbows toward your hips, keep your back flat, tighten your abs, tuck in your tail, and squeeze your glutes.