1. The Round-And-Round
This is an entry-level exercise for your arms, best to do if you are far, far away from doing push-ups. It doesn’t require any weight lifting, but relies only on proper, timed tensing of the muscles.
Sit on the floor, your back resting against a hard surface to keep your spine straight. Stretch your arms straight in front of you, and keep the muscles tense throughout the exercise. Form firm fists, and rotate them slowly, four times clockwise, four times counter-clockwise. Breathe deeply and evenly. Move your arms straight up, so that your fists are pointing at the ceiling, and repeat.
Next, extend your arms to your sides, and do two more series of four and four. For maximum effect on the triceps, sit in the middle of the floor so that your back is straight, but not held up against anything, and extend your arms as far back as they will go. Repeat another series.
DO NOT bend your elbows throughout the exercise (straight-up-sides-back), it’s important to keep the arms straight so that all the muscles are involved. Same goes for your back. When done, get up and do a couple of relaxed arm-shakes, letting them fall loosely from shoulder to fingers.
2. The Dip
Find a sturdy, stable chair. The edge of a bed, or couch, will also work. Face away from it, and rest your hands firmly on it, grasping on either side of the edge. Now let your legs “walk away” from your body, until your knees are bent, and your thighs are parallel to the floor.
Bend your elbows back, lowering your butt and body towards the floor until your upper arms are nearly parallel to it too. Hold the position for two seconds for beginners, then rise and repeat in two series of ten. As you get more toned, increase the time spent in the position and number of repetitions.
3. The “Girly” Push-Up
Lie face down on the floor. Place palms on floor, at a normal shoulder distance, and rise from the floor. Bend your knees, cross your ankles, and rest on your knees throughout the exercise. Lower your body as far as it will go, by bending your elbows, then rise so your upper arms are parallel to the floor. It’s important to keep your body, head to knees, straight as a board!
If your back bends, or your tummy and butt start to “drop” towards the floor, the effect will not be as pronounced. This is known as the “girly” push-up, since it only uses the weight of your upper body. When you feel ready to go all out, forget the bent knees, straighten out your whole body with only your toes and palms touching the floor. You should be parallel to the ground from head to ankles. This is how the guys do it for maximum effect.
4. The Alternating Push Up
The starting position is the same as in the “guys” push-up. Do a normal lowering, but when rising, turn your whole body to the left side, resting only on your stretched right arm. Straighten your left arm toward the ceiling, stay for two seconds, then lower yourself to the starting position, do another dip to the floor, and repeat on the other side with your right arm stretched. Do series of ten, five on each side, in the beginning.
The effects of this version show quickly, as almost all of your body’s weight is on one arm only. As you progress, increase the time spent only on one arm and number of repetitions.