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  • Writer's pictureJeanine Yutani

May's focus: Building "Buff Arms"

It’s not just about strong and sculpted arms that look good for summer (you know you were thinking that)…this month’s focus on “buff arms” includes everything about arms: hands, forearms, upper arms, shoulders, and how they connect to the chest, torso and back.

Group using Pilates ring in class
Using the Magic Circle in a Pilates class

In functional movement training for the upper body exercises focus on improving movements such as pushing, pulling, reaching and lifting which involve the hands, arms, shoulders, back and chest. These activities take place in different directions, with changing forces and through varying ranges of motion, so building strength to support the upper body can require everything from grip training to standing arm work to planks and push ups, depending on your goals.

Upper body strength is essential for overall fitness and can have lasting health effects because it’s important for everything from good posture to simple daily activities like carrying groceries or walking the dog. Recent research actually indicates that arm strength can be an indicator of overall health.


  • Improving your metabolism

Exercise is good for building muscle. Many don’t identify Pilates as strength training, but we focus a great deal on building long, strong muscles. Remember that strong is even more amazing because muscle = metabolism-boosting power.

  • Better posture

Slouching vs correct posture

Many of us live more sedentary lifestyles than we wish we did, so our chest can be overly tight causing our shoulders to round forward. Strengthening the muscles of the upper back to balance out the chest can help keep the shoulders back for a more upright posture.

  • Reduced risk of injury

Many clients come to the studio with aesthetic changes like weight loss as their main goal, but we encourage a focus on changes that affect how you live your daily life. Do you want to improve your strength, balance, posture, coordination…or just want to move with less pain or avoid injury as you age? Pilates and other mindful movement techniques can help strengthen your body to

  • Making life a little easier

With better upper arm strength, everyday tasks like getting wet clothes out of the washer get easier. (Boring…but so real…example!) Want to cheer the night away at a VGK game or a concert? You need strong arms! Want to keep picking up your kiddos as they grow? Build those biceps!

  • Good for body and mind

Strong mind body graphic

Reaching movement or fitness goals feel good mentally and physically. While many clients come to the studio with aesthetic changes as their main goal, Some upper body goals might be completing a full-range push-up (legs straight!), keeping up with the 30-a-day tricep “treats” for a month, or holding on through those hanging pull-ups on the trap table. Being stronger and reaching a goal like one of these can be a great confidence boost which can help you feel better inside…and out!

The good news is that upper body training doesn’t even require fancy equipment - just ask anyone in a Mat class how much they’re loving those tricep push-ups this month (and don’t worry if you have hand or wrist issues…we have a variation for you, too) - AND the benefits of those “buff arms” can help you live a stronger, healthier life!

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