Pilates arm workouts at residence

    Photo credit @haileybieber

The other day, when we had to take a break grated avocado for guacamole, we suddenly realized that our arms were basically overcooked spaghetti. (Gluten-free spaghetti, obvs.) For defense, we made a lot of guac.

It made us think of all the other ways to have a stronger upper body that would be helpful. It is possible to fill our Target shopping cart with more things that are not on our list. Win one of the Survivor challenges where you have to keep something on your head for hours. Bring all of our groceries with us on a trip so we don’t have to venture back into triple-figure weather. We won’t be able to stop it. At that moment, we decided to add some Pilates arm workouts into our fitness routine.

Why Pilates? Glad ya asked. The movements work our slow-twitch muscle fibers, aka the more difficult-to-target muscle fibers that we often don’t pay much attention to. Strengthening these is important because they help with muscle tone, as well as stability. Plus, tbh, Pilates is the type of workout we’re most likely to do. Work smarter, not harder, people. So turn on the rhythm — or, as we sometimes do, TV — and get ready to strengthen your upper body.

1. A multi-tasking Pilates biceps exercise

Meaning, we can do it in front of the TV or on the audio-only zoom. The first three movements in this series from our CCO Sarah Howard are all about burning the upper body.

Chest
How to do it: Hold the Pilates hoop in front of you at chest height. Make sure your hands are aligned on the pad. Press your palms together then release, but keep some tension. Do it 10 times.

Arm
How to: Place one of the ring’s pads on your neck. Raise the corresponding arm and place your palm on the opposite pad. Press down and release, making sure to keep some tension. Do 10 reps on each side.

Lats
How to do it: Place the hoop so that one pad rests directly on your right hip, then reach your arm down and place your right palm on the other pad. Use the palm of your hand to press the ring towards the body. Then release, making sure to keep some tension. Do 10 reps on each side.

2. A Pilates biceps workout takes only 5 minutes

It sounds short, but trust us, you’ll feel the burn.


Approach by rotation
How to do it: Start on your knees, reaching both arms toward the letter “T.” Rotate your palms backward, then slowly bend your elbows, squeeze your shoulder blades back, and rotate your palms to face them.

Shoulder rotation
How to do it: Glue elbows to waistline, palms facing each other, shoulder-width apart. Swing from your shoulders to move your forearms apart, keeping your elbows glued to your torso, then slowly return to the starting position.

Shrug
How To: Aim to bring your arms up. Option to stand at a wall and press your elbows, wrists, and backs of your hands against the wall to keep your shoulders open and nice. Extend your arms overhead, then waist down 90 degrees.

Semitones
How to do it: Hold the target pole position, keep your elbows at a 90-degree angle, then release your arms until they reach shoulder height and rotate back.

Keep side gain
How to do it: Extend your arms into a “T” and hold.

3. Pilates hand exercises when we want to push a little harder

Use one-pound dumbbells to increase the intensity and pull the shaky arm.


Start breathing
How to do it: Make sure to take a moment to land before starting your arm exercise. Begin the breath warm-up with your weight on the palm of your hand; you will use them throughout the entire workout. Start by closing your eyes and releasing the tension in your body. Hang the dumbbell arms to the ground and stand up straight. Inhale and exhale. Then bring your hands towards your heart and put them together as if you were praying. Inhale with affirmations for your workout or daily life, then exhale.

Half circle arm pulse
How to do it: Start by pulling in your stomach and gently bending your knees. Extend both your arms outward and point your palms toward the ceiling. In a consistent circular motion, bring your arms up toward the ceiling then back out. Continue doing this for 10 times.

Pulse on chest
How to do it: Bring your arms into a 90-degree bend. Make sure your elbows are in line with your shoulders. With palms facing face, extend arms to sides of body and open chest. Bring your arms forward from the sides of your body and touch your elbows. Continue doing these beats for 10 reps.

Elevator from the ceiling
How to do it: Place your arms to the sides of your body, arms bent and palms facing forward. Your arms should be in an L-shape and your fingertips should be facing the ceiling. Gently raise your arms up and down. Complete 10 reps before moving on to the next weight exercise.

Front-to-back arm extension
How to do it: Bend forward while keeping your abs tight. Reach your hands back with your palms facing the ceiling, then reach forward in a consistent motion. Make sure as you are reaching to move your body up and bend in a consistent motion. Continue for 10 reps.

Tricep . extension
How to do it: At hinges, extend arms to the sides with palms facing back. Start extending your arms toward the sides and then back. Make sure to touch your triceps. Continue for 10 reps.

Weighted circular arm pulse
How to do it: Stand up straight and extend your arms with your shoulders back and palms facing the floor. Make small circular forward motions for 10 seconds. In the last 5 seconds you can make the circular motions even smaller. Then, for another 10 seconds, go in the opposite direction. During the last five seconds of the reverse beat, you can straighten your arms even longer to really engage your muscles.

Side-to-side arm extender
How to do it: For 10 reps, extend your left arm out and bring your right arm up towards the left side of your body, then return to the right side and extend it. Repeat the same exercise with your other side for 10 more times.

Weighted arm stretch
How to do it: End your workout with a closing stretch. Relax your arms and extend them out, stretching your entire upper body. Slightly raise your arms and exhale.

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