Don’t get an upper arm lift, lift with your upper arms!

(How to do a pull-up or chin-up)

A recent study shows that the plastic surgery procedure that is on the rise the most in the last decade is upper arm lifts. In 2012, more than 15,000 upper arm lifts were performed in the United States, up from 300 in 2000, according to the report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.


I say don’t try to fight flab with the knife, it’s expensive and risky, not to mention nerve-wracking to have surgery. Instead of getting an upper arm lift, lift with your upper arms!

A pull-up is probably the most challenging moves for my personal training clients to master, much more so than even the push-up. Pull-ups are a great way to work your biceps, lats, forearms and chest, but you need some equipment to help you lift your weight at first.


At the gym: You wouldn’t start doing biceps curls for the first time with 75lb barbells, you would start with 5 lbs, so my trainer tip is to find an assisted-pull up machine at the gym to start with less weight than what you weigh.  On the machine, you actually start with a lot of weight, then go down as you get stronger. I know this sounds counterintuitive, but the weight you put on the machine is actually balancing your weight, so you can lift yourself. (So if you weight 100 lbs, and you put 75 lbs on the machine, you are really only lifting 25lbs.)


-Find a weight where you can lift yourself 8 times. Do it 3 times a week until you can lift yourself 12 times or more, then put less weight on the machine so you are lifting more of yourself.

-Keep doing the cycle each week until you can lift yourself 12 times, then adjust. You can play with the grips so you can do it with hands facing you or hands facing away.

-Once you get down to only having to put about 25 lbs on the machine, you are ready to try to pull yourself up


At Home/Outside: you can buy a pull-up bar on sites like Amazon that hooks over your doorways. If you life near a playground, you can also do this there (pictured). Start just hanging at the bottom of the bar with your arms extended. Play with doing it while your hands face you and facing away.


-Hang for 10 seconds at a time in 3 sets. When you can do that, get up to the top of the bar with your chin above it and arms bent.

-Hang above the bar in 10 second intervals before lowering down. Do 3 sets for a week or more until you can do it completely.

-Do a reverse pull up by starting at the top of the bar with your chin over it, and slowly lower yourself down with control. Get off the bar, and use a step or ladder to boost yourself back to the top. Repeat this 10 times for 3 sets for a few days/weeks  until you can do it more easily. 

-Finally, jump up to the bar with your hands wrapped around it, either hands facing away or towards you, whichever way you felt strongest as you practiced, and lift yourself half way up. Do this a a few times each workout until you grunt and groan and get all the way over!


Then start doing 10 at a time for 3 sets a day and work your toned, tank top-ready arms this way each time you do a muscle workout…Showoff!

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