Get Arms Like Lupita Nyong'o With These 4 Toning Moves

February 27, 2014

Lupita Nyong’o is the name on everyone’s lips these days, and for good reason. The breakout star’s performance of Patsey in 12 Years a Slave launched her into the spotlight, and now she’s here to stay. Along with her serious acting chops, Nyong’o is the current darling of the fashion world. She’s topping best dressed lists left and right, and sat front row with the fab Anna Wintour at Calvin Klein’s 2014 show during New York Fashion Week.

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The first-time Oscar nominee is up for Best Supporting Actress, alongside Hollywood sweethearts like Jennifer Lawrence and Julia Roberts. She’s already taken home a Screen Actors Guild and Critics’ Choice Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role this season, so we’re willing to put our money on the fact that she wins the Academy Award this Sunday. One thing we can be certain about? This woman has killer arms! Maybe it’s from holding those heavy awards, but there’s no denying the actress looks incredible in all things sleeveless.

Want to reach Nyong’o’s buff babe status? Alyssa Mucci, CPT, shares 4 of her favorite arm exercises for toning and strengthening:

Tricep push-ups: “Begin in a standard plank position with back flat, head neutral, and abs engaged. Place hands directly under shoulders (shoulder-width apart). Perform a push-up by lowering chest to the floor, keeping elbows pointing toward your feet -- almost as if they were grazing the sides of your body -- and return to plank position. (Don't let your abs sink!) Repeat with 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions. To modify this exercise, simply keep knees on the floor.”  

Plank row: “Choose two dumbbells of your choice. Start with a lighter load (5 to 7 pounds) if you are a beginner. Begin in a plank position, gripping a dumbbell in each hand. Raise the dumbbell in your left hand up toward your armpit, keeping your elbow close to your body, and lower the dumbbell back to the ground. Repeat on the right side (3 sets of 12 to 15 reps on each side). For best results, keep the chest and pelvis facing the ground and try not to rotate to the sides of your body.”

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Alternating bicep curls: “I like to perform this exercise during a wall sit in order to engage my core and quadriceps simultaneously (this also allows my back to remain in a straight position). This exercise can also be performed while standing upright. Begin by choosing 2 dumbbells of your choice. Begin with your arms extended down, and palms facing your thighs. Slowly begin to lift one dumbbell at a time toward your shoulder, rotating your wrists facing upward and contracting the biceps. Slowly begin to lower each wrist back to the starting position, alternating between the right and left sides. Repeat for 3 sets of 12 to 20 reps.”

Lateral raise: “Choose a set of dumbbells. I recommend a lighter load initially in order to maintain the correct posture (7 to 10 pounds). Begin holding a dumbbell in each hand, arms extended downward with palms facing in. Slowly raise both dumbbells up on each side to make a letter ‘T,’ with your arms parallel to the ground. Hold the T position for a few breaths, and slowly lower your arms back down to your sides. Aim to keep the movement slow and controlled. 3 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions are recommended for optimum results.”

—Written by Lauren Kodiak, Fitbie contributor

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