There’s a bit of a (dare we say it) call-to-arms situation happening this fall. Wedding season seems to be lasting longer than ever, and holiday season is (somehow) already around the corner, so it’s like we're still going sleeveless every weekend. Plus, if you’re like us, MObama’s presence on the campaign trail is probably inspiring you to blaze a trail straight to the gym, because... Damn. Those guns!
But, the thing that sucks about arm exercises is that they’re boring beyond belief, not to mention frustratingly complicated: You’re afraid to add bulk but desperate to banish that bleepin’ bicep blob and tighten up that weird underarm waddle
. We’re right there with you.
That’s why we called on Ary Nunez
, founder of Gotham Global Fitness and Rihanna’s trainer of the past three years
. Her top five “Ninja” moves for sculpting sleek, sexy arms are all martial-arts inspired — and designed to give you major definition (and each move comes with the option to do it with or without weights — which really
makes this the ultimate at-home workout).
So, click through, and start doing these moves every other day for results worthy of a new Facebook photo...no skinny-arm pose required.
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Photographed by Aaron Richter; Hair and makeup by Andi Y; Model Hallie Hutchinson from Request Models.
Photographed by Aaron Richter
NINJA Rotator Long Arm Extends
— "When doing these martial arts-inspired moves, just working against gravity with high repetition will help you tone up fast," says Nunez. But if you do decide to add some weight, she suggests 2-6 lb. dumbbells or Hyper Wear Sandbells
Your shoulders and entire upper arms.
Stand, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, elbows and knees gently bent, and arms tucked close to body with fists at waist. Rotate left as you punch right arm across your body, ending at shoulder-height.
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Step 2: Then drive elbow back at shoulder height to “strike” an imaginary attacker behind you.
Step 3: Finally, strike upward with your fist (so your forearm is perpindicular to the ground). Bring arm back down to starting position and repeat in opposite direction. Do 3 sets of 32 reps.
NINJA Long Uppercut — This move comes from Kung Fu, and like all of the exercises in this workout, you want to concentrate on technique first. “The good thing is that, by default, martial arts makes you use your brain,” says Nunez. “And when your mind is connected to your body, you’re more engaged with the physical work — and burning more calories without even realizing it.”
Tones: Your upper arms, back, and chest.
Step 1: Stand with left leg staggered in front of right, knees slightly bent, and hands in fists.
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Step 2: With arm slightly bent and palm facing upward, punch up at a gentle arc.
Step 3: At the top of your punch, rotate elbow outward to strike opponent to the temple — so that forearm is parallel to ground — and then slide back down to the start position. Do 3 sets of 32 repetitions, alternating arms.
NINJA Elbow N/S Cross Midline and Open — Here, you’re combining an up-down movement (it’s absolutely killer for your arms and back) with a cross-body motion that gives you some bonus chest-toning, too. “When you open up your arms in that final step, it’s like you’re doing a push-up in the air — without the impact,” says Nunez.
Tones: Your biceps, triceps, and shoulders.
Step 1: Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, knees bent. Bend elbows at about 90 degrees, then lift arms up, keeping elbows tucked in toward your ears, until fists touch the backs of your shoulders.
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Step 2: Drive elbows down to your waist.
Step 3: Lift arms up and criss-cross punch across body at shoulder-height.
Step 4: Finally, drive elbows out to sides at shoulder height. Return to start and repeat. Do 3 sets of 32 repetitions.
NINJA Long Arm Forward Strike — Chances are, you’ll get the technique for these down in no time (they’re just some pretty simple punches), so that means you can concentrate on one of the other major tenets of martial-arts fitness: Speed. “When you make it faster, your heart rate is going up, which is a metabolic enhancer,” says Nunez. Arms and cardio in one shot? Yes, please.
Tones: Your biceps, triceps, and shoulders.
Step 1: Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart, knees bent, and fists at waist with elbows tucked in close to body.
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Step 2: Punch right arm out at shoulder-height, rotating arm so palm faces the ground.
Step 3: Return arm to start and repeat on other side. Keep going, alternating arms, for 32 reps. Do 3 sets total.
NINJA Anterior Forearm Upward Strike — This move might not seem like much, but you’ll be feeling it the next day if you put a little tough-and-explosive power behind it. Just pretend you’re fighting off an imaginary opponent…who might (or might not) look like your nightmare boss or best frenemy. “Increasing your range of motion on this — and all the moves — helps too,” says Nunez. “The bigger you make it, the higher you go — all of that gives you better results.”
Tones: Your anterior delts, which will give you that little toned “V” on your shoulders.
Step 1: These are upward strikes. Start with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, ams bent and tucked into body, and fists at waist.
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Step 2: Extend your right arm straight by your hip first, rotating the palm side of your fist to the ground.
Step 3: Strike or push your arm upward to shoulder-height. Repeat on other side, then keep going, alternating arms, for 32 reps. Do 3 sets total.