With our love – or perhaps love/hate – for cardio, it’s no surprise that most of us girls are seriously lacking in the upper body department! Not that we don’t look great, because we do, but when it comes down to it, we tend to focus more on the weight-loss benefits of running and aerobics as opposed to lifting weights. This lends itself to an under-developed upper body, which could be totally toned and tight if we simply added in some resistance exercises just two to three times a week! And believe it or not, building muscle actually has some weight-loss benefits of its own.
First off, the actual work required to build muscle is going to burn calories: not as much as cardio, but still, calories will be burned, which is why any resistance routine is a great compliment to a cardio workout. But what’s even better is when we have more muscle we actually increase the amount of calories our body needs to maintain that muscle, which translates into us burning up more calories overall. So if you maintain a healthy diet, and you’re also building muscle, you can burn more calories than before, and this can help shed some pounds! Burn more calories when you’re on the internet, burn more calories when you’re at a party, burn more calories when you’re at the beach – okay you get the point.
Speaking of beach, what a perfect place to flaunt a perfectly sculpted set of arms? A toned upper body will definitely be an awesome addition to that bikini top of yours, and you’ll feel great about it, too. So pay some attention to that upper body and get arms worthy of any beach babe from Miami to the South of France!
To get started, check out this great arm workout that focuses on working those arms so you can go sleeveless! Shape’s got us covered with some great toning tips to build muscle and slim down!
With all these great benefits, why don’t more girls tune into resistance training and work their arms? Well, there are some crazy, and extremely inaccurate, views of weight training, and these can definitely hinder the push to work that upper bod.
Here’s the number one weight training for women myth debunked:
I don’t want to bulk up: Some women think lifting weights will automatically cause them to bulk up, but this just isn’t the case. For anyone who just envisioned a huge male body builder, rest assured that won’t happen. First off, women don’t have enough testosterone to build that much muscle, in fact, we’re biologically pre-disposed to have more muscle than fat (gee thanks). So right off the bat, we can’t ever gain as much bulk and muscle as our male counterparts. Also, unless you’re lifting a crazy amount of weight, most toning exercises are meant for just that: toning. They focus on more endurance than they do strength, which means they utilize lighter weights that can develop more muscle and tone existing muscle without a focus on adding bulk! But don’t be fooled, “lighter weights” needs to be qualified: when starting out, it’s totally fine to pick a lower weight, but trust me, you can’t stick to a 3- of 5-pounder forever, and if you do, you’ll stop improving and just maintain what you have – which is hindering any potential gains in your fitness, if that’s what you’re looking for. It’s definitely important to keep increasing your weight as you improve your fitness, but if your concern is getting to bulky, stop when you’re happy with the way you look and feel. No one says you have to keep going, so if you’re happy with what you have from using 3-pound weights, stick to that. It’s all about listening to your body and working to what you want!
So start paying attention to those bi’s, tri’s, and delts (that’s biceps, triceps and deltoids…don’t worry, you’ll catch on), add some upper body work into any exercise routine, and flaunt those beach babe arms!