Improve Your Push-Ups

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The basic push-up is a great exercise to strengthen the shoulders, arms and back. Military physical tests include push-ups as a measure of fitness and strength. The basic push-up is performed with the body weight supported by the palms and the toes with the body in a stiff, straight line from head to heel. Keep your elbows under your shoulders. Lower your upper chest toward the floor, stopping about 1 to 2 inches from the floor and then push back up from the floor using your arms. Once you are strong enough to perform 75 to 100 push-ups, try some variations to improve the effectiveness of your push-up workout. 
In the start position, place one ankle over the other so that your body weight is resting on the toes of one foot. Perform 50 repetitions and then switch your feet so that your weight is now resting on the toes of the other foot. Repeat 50 more repetitions. 
The torso rotation push-up is a strenuous upper body workout. From the start position for the basic push-up, rotate your upper body to the left as you push up and lift your left arm upward over your head. Your upper body should form a “T” shape so that the front of your body is facing left. Bring your arm back to the floor as you rotate your torso back to the start position. Repeat on the right side.
The plank-style push-up will increase your core strength and stability, as well as workout your arms and chest. Place your forearms on the floor instead of your palms. Hold your body straight for about 10 seconds and then lower your body just a few inches. Push back up and hold for another 10 seconds. 
Elevate your feet on a bench for a powerful push-up workout. Use a low bench or foot stool in the beginning and move up to a regular height bench once you can do 50 to 75 elevated push-ups. Keep your palms under your shoulders for stability.

Dumbbell Chest Fly Exercise

Chest fly exercises using dumbbells works your chest and shoulder muscles. The anterior and medial deltoids, pectorals, rotator cuffs, biceps and posterior deltoids all get a great workout when you do chest flys on a bench using dumbbells. Proper form is important to avoid injury. A fitness instructor can instruct you in the right way to do dumbbell chest flys to maximize your workout effectiveness and avoid injury. 
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Lie back on a workout bench with your feet flat on the floor. The bench should be high enough so that your thighs and body are parallel to the floor when your knees are bent at a 45 degree angle. If you have never used dumbbells before, start with light-weight dumbbells, between 2 pounds and 5 pounds, and work with a fitness trainer or a spotter. Before you begin doing chest flys, make sure your shoulders are in contact with the bench by pulling your shoulder blades down. The back of your head, your shoulders and your butt should all be in contact with the bench. 
Grasp the dumbbells so that your palms are facing forward, toward the middle of your chest. Raise your arms straight up over your chest with your palms holding the dumbbells facing each other. Keep your wrists stable and your arms straight. Don’t bend your wrists. You should bend your elbows slightly for stability.
Breathe in and simultaneously lower your arms straight out toward the floor. Use a wide arc motion from your shoulder. Lower your arms and the dumbbells until your arms are at your shoulder level parallel to the floor. Hold the position for a few seconds. Breathe out as you slowly lift your arms back toward the ceiling in a wide upward arc motion. 
Do 10 to 15 repetitions of this exercise using the light weights. As your shoulder and arm strength improves, you can increase the dumbbell weight and increase the number of repetitions. Safety is most important when doing dumbbell chest flys. A spotter or certified fitness expert should always be present when you use free weights of any kind. 

Dumbbell Arm Exercises for Beginners

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Dumbbell triceps exercises focus on the triceps muscles on the back of the arms. Hold the a light weight, 2 to 5 pound dumbbell in your left hand with your palm toward your body. Spread your legs slightly with your right leg forward. Brace your body by placing your right hand on the thigh of your right leg. Keep your weight displaced evenly over both legs. Pull your shoulders down and back to straighten  your spine. Look at the floor in front of your right foot. Bend your elbow and raise your upper arm until it is close to your body. Keep your forearm vertical to the floor. Straighten your elbow and push your arm toward the wall behind you. Hold the position for a few seconds and return to the start position. Always keep your arm close to your body and avoid the urge to press your arm outward from your torso. Do 5 repetitions on each side. Increase the number of repetitions as you gain strength. 

Biceps curls work not only your biceps but also strengthen your rotator cuff. Sit on a weight bench or stand with the back of your arm resting on the bench support pad. Hold a dumbbell in your hand, arm extended,  with your palm pointing upward. Slowly curl your arm to bend your elbow using your biceps only. Avoid the urge to swing the weight upward toward your shoulder. Keep your wrist and forearm in a straight line and don’t bend  your wrist forward or backward. Slowly lower the dumbbell and your arm back to the start position. The key to successful biceps curls is slow, deliberate and controlled motion. Try to do 5 to 7 biceps curls using a 2 to 5 pound weight with each arm in the beginning. Increase the number of repetitions and increase the weight as your arms grow stronger.

Stability Ball Exercises for a Strong, Toned Back

The stability ball, also called an exercise ball, is a superb way to improve your strength, flexibility and muscle tone. You can focus on your whole body or work specific muscle groups. Warm spring days are just around the corner and so are backless, short-sleeve and sleeveless fashions. You will want your shoulders, upper back and arms to be toned and firm for spring and summer fashions and trips to the beach. Try these three upper body strengthening and toning stability ball exercises to get you in shape fast.
Performing push-ups using a stability ball adds an extra dimension of strengthening and toning to the regular push-up.  Begin with the stability ball underneath your body with your hands and feet on the floor. Keep your palms flat on the floor directly under your shoulders. Breathe in and squeeze your abdominal muscles. Walk your body backward until the stability ball is under your stomach and extend your legs out, but keep your toes on the floor. Place your palms on the stability ball underneath your shoulders. Squeeze the ball with your hands and press upward with your arms to lift your body off the ball. Hold the position for a few seconds and then lower your body back toward the ball. Exhale when pushing upward and inhale when lowering your body back down. Keep your spine in a straight line from the top of your head to your heels. 
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Leg extensions strengthen your chest, arms and upper back. Start by draping your body over a stability ball placed under your stomach. Place your hands palms down on the floor under your shoulders. Breathe out and tighten your abdominal muscles. Lift your feet off the floor and try to keep your legs together. Make a straight line with your body from your head to  your heels. Point your toes for maximum extension. Hold this position for a few seconds. The longer you can  hold the position, the better. Exhale, relax and then repeat the extension. 

Concentrate on your back and shoulders with a shoulder extension workout. Position yourself on the stability ball with it in the middle of your body and your hands and feet on the floor. Stretch out your legs, but keep your toes on the floor. Walk backward until the ball is directly underneath your stomach and both legs are stretched out straight with your toes on the floor. Stretch your arms straight out in front of your body. Try to keep your body straight and avoid arching your back. Slowly bring your arms back until you form a Y shape. Continue bringing  your arms back until they are straight out from the shoulder and form a T shape. Hold this position for a few seconds and then bring your arms back to the start position. Breathe out and repeat the exercise. 

Say Goodbye to Bat Wings

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Rapid weight-loss and aging can often result in loose skin. One of the most difficult areas to firm up is the back of the arm. Exercising the triceps muscle on the back of the arm can help get rid of those flabby upper arms that many people call “bat wings.” Start now with regular triceps exercises to rid yourself of flabby arms in time for short sleeve spring clothing. You will need some elastic exercise bands and a set of 2 pound to 5 pound dumbbells. See a doctor before beginning arm exercises if you have joint problems, such as arthritis, hand injury or an injured rotator cuff in the shoulder. Start slowly and rest a full day between exercising your arms. You may experience some muscle soreness after the first day or two of exercise, but this is normal. Stop exercising if you experience pain or notice any swelling and see a doctor. Pain is an indication of injury. To avoid injury and excess muscle soreness, seek the guidance of a personal fitness trainer and start slowly. 
Dumbbell tricep extensions can be done while sitting or standing. Grasp a dumbbell with both hands. Raise your arms over your head and then bend your elbows to lower the dumbbell behind your head. Lower the dumbbell until you feel your triceps muscle begin to stretch. Hold this position for 5 seconds and then bring the dumbbell up over your head again. Hold it for 3 seconds and then repeat the exercise by lowering the dumbbell behind your head again. Do a set of 5 to 10 repetitions. Stop when your arms begin to feel weak. 
Use a chair or a bench to perform triceps dips. Stand in front of a sturdy chair or an exercise bench. Turn your back to the chair and lower your body to place your hands, palms down on the seat of the chair or bench. Your fingers should be facing forward. Bend your knees until your legs are perpendicular to the floor at a 90 degree angle. Keep your elbows close to your body and bend your elbows as you lower your body.. You should feel your tricep muscles tighten. Hold the position for a 5 to 10 seconds. Straighten your elbows to raise your body up and hold for another 5 to 10 seconds. 
The traditional push-up is one of the most effective exercises for the tricep muscles. It also works your abdominal muscles, your chest, back, shoulders, legs and glutes. Beginners should do push-ups with their knees on the floor instead of stretching out their legs. Rest your weight on your knees and hands. Straighten your body so that your head, neck and back form a straight line. Place your palms under your shoulders with your fingers pointing forward. Slowly lower your upper body toward the floor by bending your elbows. Lower your body until your face is about 2 to 3 inches off the floor or as low as you can comfortably go. Hold the position for 2 seconds and then straighten your elbows to push your body back up. 

5 Exercises for Toned Arms

You can tone and strengthen weak and flabby arms by performing some easy arm exercises. You will need a pair of 5 pound dumbbells and about 25 minutes. Perform these exercises every other day and in about two to three weeks you should begin to see firmer, more toned arms.
To avoid injury, warm up for a few minutes by doing some arm circles. Stand up straight and stretch your arms out so that your body forms a “T” shape. Move your arms in small circles toward the front 20 to 25 times. Reverse and move your arms in small circles toward your back for another 20 to 25 repetitions. This will help strengthen and tone your arms as well as stretch muscles.
Push-ups is one of the most effective exercises to strengthen and tone the arms, shoulders and chest. Start push-ups by placing your hands on the floor at shoulder width with your fingers spread out and pointed straight out in front of you. Rest on your knees and toes. Tuck in your abdominal muscles and lift yourself up until your body weight is resting on your toes and on your hands. Slowly lower your body a few inches and then push your body back up to the starting position. Keep your head parallel with the floor and try to maintain a straight body during the exercise. Don’t count the number of repetitions, just do as many push-ups as you can for 5 minutes. 
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You will need a couple of 5 pound dumbbell weights to perform biceps curls. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a weight in each hand with your palms facing upward. Breathe out and pull the weight upward toward your shoulder. Breathe in as your lower the weight. Don’t completely relax your arm when lowering the weight, but hold some tension on the weight. Perform the exercise with both arms simultaneously or alternate lifting right and then left. When alternating arms, lift the weight with one arm as you lower the weight in the other hand.
Stretch and tone your triceps muscles by performing some stretches with dumbbells. Lie down on your back with a 5 pound dumbbell in each hand. Raise your arms toward the ceiling with the palms facing. Bend your elbows and lower the dumbbells to either side of your head and then raise your arms again. Remember to breath in when lower the weights and breathe out when lifting them. 

Turn the dumbbells over so that your palms are facing the floor and you are holding the weights in an overhand position. Take a deep breath and then lift both of your arms straight out in front of you by bringing your arms straight up from your thighs. Breathe out as you lift the weights. Lift the weights until your arms are parallel to the floor and straight out from the shoulder. Hold for a couple of seconds and the slowly lower the weights as you inhale. Do this exercise for 5 minutes. 

Finish the last 5 minutes of your arm work out by performing some triceps pushes. Stand up straight with your feet apart about shoulder width. Hold a 5 pound dumbbell in each hand so that  your palms are facing downward. Keep your arms straight and lift your arms backward. Return your arms to your sides and then repeat the exercise. 

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