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Don't ignore your arms

by Cindy Wendt, Science & Environment editor

 

Many women look into the mirror and criticize their thighs and stomach. They might do dozens of sit-ups and leg exercises, but gravity continues to work against them. The pear-shaped body seems to be their doom.

If this sounds familiar, you may be surprised by the solution.

“Too often women get stuck doing the same exercises,” said fitness competitor and author Kary Odiate in the November issue of Oxygen.
 

Odiate recommends doing shoulder workouts, which can create more size in the upper body to balance out the lower body, thus shrinking the relative appearance of the gluteals and thighs. Stronger shoulders can also improve posture and prevent slouching.

The following are among many shoulder exercises designed to increase muscularity in the deltoids (shoulders).

Dumbbell lateral raise
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. With a dumbbell in each hand, let your arms hang down at the sides. Bend arms at the elbows so that the forearms are parallel with the floor. Start with the palms facing each other. In one count, lift arms upward until they are level with the shoulders. In three counts return to starting position. Repeat.

Dumbbell upright rows
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. With a dumbbell in each hand, hang your arms in front of your body so that the dumbbells rest on the front of each leg. Keep the elbows slightly bent. Raise the dumbbells until the elbows are level with the shoulders. Hold for three counts. Return to starting position. Repeat.

Seated dumbbell shoulder press
Sit at the edge of a bench with feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Lift dumbbells to your shoulders with the palms up. Keep your arms relaxed and bent at the elbows. Face palms forward and in one count, raise the dumbbells overhead until the arms are almost straight. Keep the elbows slightly bent. In three counts, lower dumbbells to the resting position. Repeat.

You will feel the burn during these exercises so start with light weights. Complete each exercise by doing four sets of 15 reps. Work out the shoulders at least once but no more than twice each week for maximum benefit.

Safety tips
Keep the torso tight to prevent the back from arching. Keep the weights slightly in front of your head to maintain balance. Keep knees and elbows slightly bent. Locking the elbows and knees harms the joints.

 

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