Arm raises are a strength training exercise that mainly targets muscles around your shoulders and generally the upper body.
There are two variations of this exercise; the front arm raises and the sidearm raises. Both these variations are great for shaping a V-shaped torso.
This is an intensive workout as is but if it gets too easy, you can get a pair of dumbbells to add weight to your arms and work the shoulders even harder for better results.
This exercise is very versatile in that it can be done practically anywhere with enough room to freely have a full range of motion in your arms. The base version of this exercise also does not require any equipment making it even easier to do.
Arm raises use the weight of your arms along with the speed of execution to work your shoulders. Therefore, the heavier your arms the more challenging the exercise will be.
They also aren’t specifically a standing exercise. This is advantageous to people with leg injuries trying to work their shoulders as it can even be done seated.
This exercise not only targets your shoulders but also your core. If you brace correctly through the lift your core will also be worked. Muscles in the upper back, arms and neck will also feel the strain after a couple of sets.
You can also make arm raises more challenging by increasing the speed of execution. This forces you to apply more pressure to stop your arms from slapping your sides.
HOW TO DO ARM RAISES
The base version of this exercise requires no equipment to perform.
To properly do arm raises, you should be standing. However, they can also be done when seated if for some reason you can’t do it standing.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and with your arms at your sides.
- With your palms facing backwards, inhale as you raise both hands overhead while still keeping them straight and hold them there for a second.
- Slowly return your arms to starting position.
- Repeat this movement for a full set.
- Another variation of the arm raises is the lateral arm raises.
- For this variation, you maintain the same posture except for the palms which will be touching your thighs.
- Lift your arms sideways until they are shoulder length high and parallel to the floor.
- Return them to starting position while maintaining control so that they don’t just fall and slap your thighs.
- If you feel this exercise is too easy for you, you can make it challenging by getting two weights one on either arm. This adds weight to your arms making it more challenging on the shoulders.
WHAT MUSCLES DO ARM RAISES WORK?
Arm raises work your upper body to give you that V-shaped torso. They primarily target the shoulders, the upper back and the chest.
This is the muscle group sitting atop your shoulder joint. These are basically the muscles that bring about the up and down movement of the arms.
Strain will be felt in the deltoids throughout the exercise since the weight of the arms targets these muscle groups.
THE UPPER, MIDDLE AND LOWER TRAPEZIUS
This muscle group goes down either side of your neck and stops at about the middle of your spine. These muscles are basically responsible for neck and shoulder blade movement.
Arm raises work these muscles since they aid in shoulder movement.
This exercise also works the core. The upper body mainly depends on the core for stability when doing arm raises. Therefore, when done long enough results can also be seen in the core muscles.
BENEFITS OF DOING ARM RAISES
Doing arm raises is very advantageous to the body. It has numerous benefits such as:
They target and activates your shoulder muscles increasing their endurance. This exercise will get easier to do over time as your muscles become stronger.
This exercise will work the muscles in your shoulders and in the process burn all the fat built upon these muscles. Like many other exercises, arm raises will burn fat for fuel thus getting rid of the fat build-ups.
TONING UPPER BODY MUSCLES
They primarily target the upper back and shoulder muscles. After doing this exercise long enough you will lose fat in these muscle groups.
With the loss of fat comes the toning of muscles. The muscles around your shoulders and upper back will become bigger and have better definition after doing this exercise for a while
BETTER BLOOD CIRCULATION
Doing arm raises increases blood circulation to and from the arms. This increases your heart rate leading to a healthier circulatory system.
BETTER LOOKING TORSO
This exercise will tone your upper body giving it a V-shaped stature. This gives room for other muscle groups to grow such as the chest and the arms which makes it important to incorporate this exercise into your workout program.
When done along with other exercises that target other muscle groups in the torso, this exercise will lead to a uniformly toned upper body.
INCREASING SHOULDER STABILITY
This exercise will work the muscles in your shoulders to make them stronger. Furthermore, after some time your shoulders will also get more stability from repeated engagement every day.
ALTERNATIVES TO ARM RAISES
Apart from the two variations of this exercise, there are other exercises that can be substituted for arm raises.
This exercise is a lot like the arm raises except instead of raising your arms up and down you rotate them in a clockwise and anticlockwise direction.
Just like the raises this exercise will work our shoulder muscles and can also be done with a pair of weights.
This exercise involves pulsing your arms up and down like the raises except that the arms are kept suspended at shoulder length the whole time.
Arm pulses will also primarily target the deltoids and the trapezius just like the arm raises.
MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN DOING ARM RAISES
DOING TOO FEW REPS
For this exercise to be effective you have to do 1 to 3 sets of at least 16 reps for beginners. You can increase this number as you go on.
When doing arm raises it is important not to scrunch your shoulders as you lift your arms. This will reduce the effectiveness of the exercise as well as risk shoulder pain.
USING TOO HEAVY WEIGHTS
When using weights, especially for beginners, it is advisable to use lighter weights to avoid any forced or jerky movement.
Arm raises provide an excellent addition to your workout program. The versatility of this exercise in that it can be done anywhere makes it an excellent choice for working your shoulder muscles.