Armed and ready

If your party attire requires you to show a little arm, Nancy Kennedy recommends doing the following exercises once a week. “The key is to do three to four sets for every exercise,” explains the California-based trainer whose client list includes Julia Roberts and Jennifer Love Hewitt. “Then rest and allow your muscle to heal and grow.”

In addition to weights, diet and cardio are essential to getting results. “Don’t eliminate any food groups,” says Kennedy. “You need protein, carbs and essential fats for your muscles to take shape.” As for cardio, focus on machines that engage the arms. For example, hold three- to five-pound weights when you’re on the treadmill.

TRY Internal and external rotation to shape the shoulders.
•Lie on your left side. Hold a three-pound dumbbell in your right hand, palm facing down. Elbow is bent at a 45-degree angle and is tight to the body.
•Rotating outwards, lift the weight as high as possible, keeping elbow tight to the body. Only forearm should move.
•Slowly return to starting position.
•Do 12 to 15 repetitions, then switch to the left arm.

TRY New twist on a front raise as a complementary shoulder move.
•Sit on a Swiss ball with a five-pound weight in each hand. With palms facing upwards, bend elbows so they are at a 45-degree angle. Elbows are tight to body.
•Without moving arms, use shoulders to lift weights. Stop when elbows and shoulders are parallel.
•Slowly return to start position.
•Do 12 to 15 repetitions.

TRY Twenty-ones to shape the biceps.
•Stand with an eight-pound weight in each hand, arms at your side.
•Slowly curl weight up to shoulder and return. Repeat seven times.
•Curl weight, stopping at breast height, and return. Repeat seven times.
•Curl weight, stopping at waist height, and return. Repeat seven times.

TRY Close-grip push-ups for tighter triceps.
•Assume a traditional push-up position, but move hands directly under your shoulders.
•As you lower body toward the ground, keep elbows tucked into sides. This forces you to use your lower arms instead of your chest muscles.
•Hover just above the ground, then slowly return to start position.
•Note: If this is too difficult, try push-up from knees instead of toes.

Photo courtesy of Marcio Madeira.