The question: I am bored with my arm workout – I am no longer seeing results. I would love to feel confident in my strapless dresses. Any tips?
The answer: Try to modify your program every four to six weeks. Variety is the key to bursting through a fitness plateau. Don't just change up your exercises, but also manipulate your reps, sets, loads, lifting tempo and rest periods.
For example, if you have been doing three sets of 15 reps using light weights, instead do 10 reps using heavier weights. If you currently use heavy weights, instead use light weights and cycle through three or more exercises with no break.
A few weeks ago, I revamped my upper body program and I really enjoy my new routine. Why don't you try it and see what you think?
Start by doing a five- to 10-minute cardio warm-up. Then the "meat (or tofu) and potatoes" section of the workout is as follows: Pair one traditional upper-body strength exercise with 30 seconds of intense cardio. Aim to complete four to five different pairs of exercises per workout. Always finish with a stretch. Any upper-body exercise will do – try bench presses, push-ups, overhead shoulder presses, bent over rows, lateral raises and front raises. Possible cardio intervals: suicide runs, stair running, skipping, jumping jacks and high knees.
Here is a sample set: Do 12 to 15 push-ups followed by as many burpies as you can do in 30 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds, then repeat for a total of four sets.
(Don't know how to do a burpie? Start standing. Bend forward and place your hands on the floor. Jump your feet backward into a plank. Jump your feet back toward your hands. Stand up and repeat.)
I know this is easier said than done, but try not to get fixated on achieving a particular aesthetic. Try to focus on your health and not simply your weight. We are all more than our dress size and the number on the scale. Feeling confident is a state of mind. Be proud of your dedication to your fitness and strength.
Remember, your workouts should make you feel empowered and energized, not defeated and judged!
Trainer's tip: Another way to mix up your arm routine is to try a fun exercise class, learn a sport or try different cardio workout that requires your arms. Consider boxing, tennis and skipping.
Kathleen Trotter has been a personal trainer and Pilates equipment specialist for 10 years. Her website is www.kathleentrotter.com.