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Tone up your arms for those strapless summer dresses

I am in a bunch of weddings this summer. Can you suggest a new way to tone my arms for all the strapless dresses I have to wear?

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The question

I am in a bunch of weddings this summer. Can you suggest a new way to tone my arms for all the strapless dresses I have to wear?

The answer

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Try incorporating supersets into your upper body routine. For each superset, do two exercises back to back with no rest in between. Then rest for 60 to 90 seconds after the two exercises are complete.

For example, try this sample superset: plank triceps extension and biceps curl.

Plank triceps extension: get into a tripod plank position on your left forearm and your toes. Hold a free weight in your right hand. Bring your right elbow up so it is next to your right hip. This is your starting position.

To perform the exercise, keep the upper portion of the right arm still as you straighten and bend the right arm from your elbow. Really focus on squeezing the triceps (back of the upper arm) muscle when you extend the arm. Keep your pelvis stable. Do 10 to 15 reps and then switch arms.

To make this exercise easier, perform it on your knees.

Biceps curl: Stand with your arms by your side and a weight in each hand. Bend at the elbows and bring the weight up towards your shoulders without letting your elbows come away from the side of your body. Slowly lower the weights so they straighten to their starting position. Do 12 to 15 reps.

Trainer's tip

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It's important to have great posture so you can show off your hard-earned, toned arms. To work on posture, try this "W,Y" exercise: Stand with your back and hips against a wall with your arms up so they form a "W". Your palms should be facing away from the wall. To perform the exercise, slide your hands up the wall so your arms form a "Y" above your head. Attempt to keep your wrists, elbows, hips and shoulder against the wall as your arms move, and don't let your back arch. Engage your shoulder blades to bring your arms back to the "W" formation. Do 10 reps.

Send certified personal trainer Kathleen Trotter your questions at trainer@globeandmail.com . She will answer select questions, which could appear in The Globe and Mail and/or on The Globe and Mail web site. Your name will not be published if your question is chosen.

Read more Q&As from Kathleen Trotter

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The content provided in The Globe and Mail's Ask a Health Expert centre is for information purposes only and is neither intended to be relied upon nor to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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