By Stephanie Ila Silver-Silberstein
It was 1994. I was at a gym for the first time in my life in preparation for Spring Break in the Bahamas when my friend Jessica made the following statement: “I want to have Linda Hamilton’s Terminator arms.” Back then, the only thing I knew I didn’t want were fat arms. But today, with sports clubs jam packed at every hour and famous actresses starring as action heroines in countless Hollywood blockbusters, I am now fully aware of just how ahead of her time Jessica was in saying that. Though the air conditioners are finally on full blast, long sleeves are now out and halter tops, strapless dresses and spaghetti straps are back in for the summer. Fortunately, there are ways to get your arms up to Hamilton-par in just a couple of weeks. Read on for a complete workout and tips from 2 professional personal trainers! But first, fashion designer Holly Kristen offers some great advice on how to wear those trendy summer styles.
Her fashions have been seen on the runway in her own sold-out show during Fashion Week ’03, and Holly was the only featured designer for VH-1’s “Band on the Run”. Opening soon is the Holly Kristen New York Showroom featuring her exclusive designs made of the highest quality materials and fabrics. It should also be noted that 5% of all profits are donated to the Holly Kristen Childhood Cancer Fund. Her commitment and generosity are as evident as her fashion sense and style, and this designer is certainly someone to look out for.
As a couture designer for celebrities, royalty and fashionistas alike, Holly knows just how important fashion is when flattering an individual’s body and accentuating her greatest assets. For example, she notes that halter tops are flattering to the arms because the lines they create draw attention to some of women’s greatest features – the neck and collarbone. V-neck and scoop-neck shirts are ideal for a busty woman wishing to elongate her neckline and thin out her torso (as long as cleavage is kept under control). She comments that thin spaghetti straps look great on everyone but notes that flat-chested women wear tops with straight necklines especially well. When looking at short-sleeve T-shirts, Holly says to be sure the sleeves are angled upward and outward. This cut elongates the arm while allowing movement and avoiding pinching of fleshier parts (on even the thinnest of women).
As with the rest of the body, black is flattering to the arms as well, but colorful tops can be great fun in the summer (and all year long for that matter). Light tops can show off your fabulous tan. Vertical or diagonal stripes as well as sleeveless shirts with high necks help create the illusion of a thin, long torso.
Fashion designers like Holly Kristen can do wonders to maximize your appearance, but you have to do your part as well. Obviously a healthy diet and exercise are essential to staying in shape, but it is possible to target certain areas of the body with isolated exercises. Felicia Mannino is a certified personal trainer (by the National Academy of Sports Medicine and International Fitness Professionals Association). She has appeared in “The Complete Book of Abs for Women: The Definitive Guide for Women Who Want to Get into the Ultimate Shape” by Kurt Brungardt. Felicia is a personal trainer at New York Sports Club while also training private clients. She practices what she preaches and she has the arms of steel to prove it! She also has the clients to prove it. A recent bride worked with Felicia exclusively on arms for one month, for 1 hour long sessions twice a week and was able to see significant results and wear her strapless wedding gown with confidence. Women should generally stick to doing more repetitions (sets) using light weights (5 lbs or 7.5lbs) to avoid bulking up. Doing this helps develop lean, toned muscles. The following resistance-training workout consists of 11 exercises targeting each major muscle group of the arms. Some things to remember:
1. Your stance for all exercises should be feet facing straight forward, your legs shoulder width apart with a slight bend in your knees.
2. Always have a slight bend in your elbows and knees to avoid hyperextension due to straightening the arms.
3. Inhale on the concentric phase (harder motion – 2 seconds) and exhale on the eccentric phase (easier motion – 4 seconds).
4. Stand up straight for proper posture and contract your abdominal muscles while performing all exercises.
5. Always begin each session with suggested warm-up (squats, jumping jacks, cardio etc.).
6. Stretching after you exercise is mandatory! Hold each stretch for 30 seconds (approximately 3 deep breathes).
1. Biceps curl to overhead press – Targets the biceps, lats & shoulders.
2. Shrugs – Targets the shoulders; stand up straight/no protruding forward.
3. Bent arm Deltoid Raises – Targets the deltoids; keep arms at a 90 degree angle & raise to shoulder level.
4. Forward Chest Press – Targets the pectorals muscles & triceps.
5. Bent-over Tricep Extensions – Targets the triceps; stand in a lunge position keeping your back straight & extend your arm from the elbow.
6. Felicia’s Universal Exercise – Bicep Curl, bent arm raises, straight arm raises to lateral release.
7. 21’s – Targets the second head of the bicep; hold weights so thumbs are facing up. 7 reps of lowest position to mid position. 7 reps of mid to shoulder position. 7 reps of lowest to shoulder position.
8. Bent-over Rows – Targets the lats, traps & biceps; bend at the waist, let arms hang down in front of you and bring arms back to pinch the mid-traps by bringing elbows towards each other.
9. Lateral Raises – Targets the lats; keep arms straight (slight bend) and raise them from your side to shoulder level.
10. Push-ups (Regular or with knees on bent on the floor) – Targets pectorals & triceps (SEE WILL BROWN’S INSTRUCTIONS BELOW).
11. Overhead tricep extensions – Targets triceps; standing straight up, one arm at a time at a 90 degree angle with opposite arm supporting the working arm.
12. Repeat Felicia’s Universal Exercise.
Contact Felicia personally (who is pictured above) at [email protected]. Each session should take a total of one hour. Generally, personal trainers recommend working out 4 times/week. Cardio should be done in the morning ideally, and you must be within a certain target heart rate range for best results (especially for weight loss). But weight training is the key to re-shaping and toning your body. To get that overall fabulously fit look, Certified Personal Trainer Will Brown recommends the following:
1. Change your routine and increase the amount of weight used once you reach a certain level of strength. Challenge yourself and experiment with new ways of exercising. Will had me incorporating principals of martial arts and boxing to get my heart rate up, maintain concentration, improve balance and increase strength. What a fun and productive way of working out your body (not to mention your frustrations!).
2. Work with what you have – Use the wall, a chair, free weights and your own muscle resistance to create exercises that work specifically on your problem areas. Will showed me the proper stance when doing squats and leg raises, revealing just how important balance and focus can be when toning your arms and legs.
Will’s arm workout began with a set of 15 Pushups. He says to remember to keep your back straight and your hands a little more than a shoulders width apart. Breathing is essential because it will help you stay relaxed and focused and provides fresh oxygen to the muscles being used. (If you are fatigued from doing regular pushups, do them on your knees.)
Tricep pushdowns and chair dips. When doing the tricep pushdowns remember to stand with your feet shoulders width apart and slight bend at the knees. Keep your elbows in at your sides and press a straight bar downward toward the floor. The start of the exercise is at a 90 Degree angle. Start with 2 to 3 sets of 15 reps. (Remember the breathing) Chair Dips : You will need a flat bench that is at least 12 inches of the ground. Put your feet in front of you and extend your legs as well. Holding on to the bench with both hands at your sides, lower yourself in a controlled fashion towards the ground. Do not bounce up and down. Do at least two sets of 12 reps.
3. Make sure you are doing all exercises correctly to ensure safety and avoid injury. What’s the point in going overboard to the point where you can’t exercise at all and can’t maintain your fabulous body?
4. Don’t worry so much about how much you weigh. If the muscles in your new toned arms are tipping the scale, that’s not such a bad thing!
So go out and buy that fabulous spaghetti strap backless gown you’ve been eyeing at Bergdorf’s! Or throw on that old tank top from the back of your closet. In just a matter of weeks, you can make your entire summer wardrobe look fantastic! Whether your inspiration is a personal trainer, your favorite fashion designer or Linda Hamilton herself – Summer is the perfect time to look your very best!
Contact Will Brown at WB Fitness Inc. 203-536-0804 or [email protected]
Contact me at [email protected] for more information regarding Fashion Designer Holly Kristen.