Saturday, January 11, 2014
Feeling up in arms

By TONY WAGNER Citizen Columnist

Dear Mr. Fitness:

Would you be able to provide me with a list of arm exercises that can firm them up quickly? Currently, I'm doing three or four exercises for my triceps muscles and three to four exercises for my biceps muscles -- standard curls and pushdown kind of exercises -- but these exercises don't seem to be working. I'm doing 10 repetitions and three sets for each exercise. I'm a 49-year-old woman who only recently began a weightlifting program. My son thought it would be great if I wrote to you and see if my letter gets in the paper. I weigh 161 pounds and stand 5-foot, 6-inches tall. Thank you in advance.

-- Disenchanted

Dear Disenchanted:

Don't worry, I have the answer you need. The first item you should address is the amount of sets and repetitions you are currently using. I believe you should up the reps to about 20 or 25 per set. I would also increase the sets to five. You don't state how much time you rest between sets. You may want to rest only 30 seconds between your sets. It may be quick, but if you are in reasonable shape condition-wise, you should try to speed things up.

By adding more repetitions and speeding up, you will condition these muscles to recruit more fibers to assist in these higher intensity workouts. More muscle fibers being summoned to work means many more calories expended. This is good. Means you will lose weight! Fat weight!

This increase of fat being burned will happen whether you are active or inactive. How cool is that.

You may want to drop one of the exercises you are currently doing and keep it at three different movements. Always rotate these three exercises so you are doing them in a varied fashion. This will keep the exercises fresh.

So, on one of your exercise days, begin with triceps pushdowns, then do reverse triceps dips, and finish with one-arm triceps kickbacks. Next arm day, reverse this order. Next time, start with your biceps exercises and then finish with your triceps. This will add variety and keep your arm muscles responding.

As for a list of arm exercises, you can choose from the following list: triceps pushdowns with a rope, reverse-grip triceps pushdowns with a bar, close-grip bench presses, and any type of machine triceps movement you wish.

For your biceps may I suggest standing barbell curls, seated alternate dumbbell curls, cable curls, preacher curls, and finally the ubiquitous reverse-grip pressdown. Now, get after it and let me know what happens to those arms!

-- Mr. Fitness

Tony Wagner, aka Mr. Fitness, has more than 30 years of fitness and nutritional expertise. A certified personal fitness trainer and author, he has helped thousands of people get into and stay in shape. Contact him at:, Facebook us, and stop by Bodyzone Fitness Center, 2740 N. Roosevelt Blvd., 305-292-2930.