July Exercise Challenge: Lose that Arm Jiggle!

Ask and ye shall receive! I was asked for more upper body sculpting in the July challenge….however there was a lot of dislike for the June Challenge push ups (which are a fabulous upper body workout!) So, despite the fact that I have been trying to keep these workouts as “prison” workouts (i.e. you need nothing more than your own body to make them happen), we will be stepping it up this month and we need to use dumbbells for this one, so use whatever weights you are comfortable with (2lb-6lb to start) and then increase as you feel comfortable throughout the month. We want to strengthen our triceps and biceps, to make the upper body, shoulders, and arms looked toned and taught.  In conjunction with the planks, squats, push ups, and bicycle crunches we’ve been doing, our bodies should be rocking right now!!

We will we focusing on two main exercises:

Bicep curls: Tone your upper arm muscles AND make activities of daily life easier, like carrying kids, groceries, lifting various items, and you will look better in sleeveless outfits! hold your dumbbells, with you feet shoulder width apart, palms facing forward, shoulders and back straight, elbows in to your sides, and squeeze your biceps to pull the dumbbells up, then slowly go down to the starting position.


Starting point

Starting point

Chair Dips: Helps to get rid of arm jiggle and tone, strengthening those

Ending point

Ending point- Bicep Curl

triceps! How to do it? Sit on the edge of a chair, while sitting on the chair, grasp the side of the seat, move your butt off the edge of the chair (with your legs straight in front of you), keeping your back straight and shoulders at a neutral position, lower your self down as far as you can go, then pull yourself back up in a slow controlled motion.



For everyone who has been doing the previous challenges (April, May, and June) , I encourage continuing with 75 crunches a day, 5 minutes of planks, 50 bicycle crunches, and 25 push ups….and some cardio (at least 15-20 minutes of brisk walking, running, biking, etc) then we are adding these on top! This is starting to get REAL 🙂

The July Challenge Schedule:

1: 5 Chair Dips and 10 Bicep curls

2: 10 Chair Dips and 20 Bicep Curls

3: 15 Chair Dips and 25 Bicep Curls

4: 15 Chair Dips and 30 Bicep Curls

5: 20 Chair Dips and 35 Bicep Curls

6: 20 Chair Dips and 40 Bicep Curls

7: Rest Day

8: 25 Chair Dips and 45 Bicep Curls

9: 30 Chair Dips and 50 Bicep Curls

10: 30 Chair Dips and 55 Bicep Curls

11: 35 Chair Dips and 60 Bicep Curls

12: 40 Chair Dips and 70 Bicep Curls

13: 45 Chair Dips and 80 Bicep Curls

14: Rest Day

15: 50 Chair Dips and 90 Bicep Curls

16: 60 Chair Dips and 100 Bicep Curls

17: 70 Chair Dips and 110 Bicep Curls

18: 75 Chair Dips and 120 Bicep Curls

19: 80 Chair Dips and 130 Bicep Curls

20: 90 Chair Dips and 140 Bicep Curls

21: Rest Day

22: 100 Chair Dips and 150 Bicep Curls

23: 100 Chair Dips and 160 Bicep Curls

24: 110 Chair Dips and 170 Bicep Curls

25: 120 Chair Dips and 175  Bicep Curls

26: 125 Chair Dips and 180 Bicep Curls

27: 130 Chair Dips and 190 Bicep Curls

28: Rest Day

29: 140 Chair Dips and 195 Bicep Curls

30: 150 Chair Dips and 200 Bicep Curls

Remember if you are having pain or discomfort, focus on your body positioning, and you may need lower weights, or just to take a break.  I have added in a break every 7 days, but listen to your body and if it needs it, take a break; you will be sore, so drink plenty of waters to flush out the lactic acids, but if you feel more than sore, and you feel pain, then reassess and take a break, if you need to.  And, as always, if you have a medical condition, please check with your Healthcare Provider (HCP) that it is OK to be a part of this challenge.

*And don’t forget to join our Facebook group for added tips and group support!

Yours in Good Health


May Plank Challenge: Join Me, Won’t You?

For the month of May, as we are focusing on getting healthier, getting stronger, toning our bodies, and encouraging one another to accomplish our goals (especially when some of use really do NOT enjoy the exercises), we will look to the plank! And, no I am not talking about just laying various pieces of furniture and posting pictures via social media, I am talking about the real deal plank (AKA a hover.)

To perform a proper plank:

You should rest on your elbows, should length apart (your hands can come together at the center or go straight forward, but your forearms need to stay on the ground) and your toes should also be on the ground.  Keeping your entire core tight, and in a straight line, relaxing your head/neck so that you are looking straight down, you should hold this position. Plank view 1

Plank view 2

*If this position is too difficult or you are unable to hold it because of any medical/health conditions, you can hold this position on your hands (in push up position)



There are also some alterations that you can add in:

Leg Lifts: lift one leg at a time approximately 6 inches off the floor, hold for 5 seconds, then alternate with the other leg, all while holding your back, torso, and shoulders straight.

in the side view my leg is lifted a little high- only around 6" off the ground

in the side view my leg is lifted a little high- only around 6″ off the ground



leg height is better here

leg height is better here












Plank with arm lift

Plank with arm lift

Arm lifts: Lift one arms at a time to shoulder height, and hold for 5 seconds, then alternate with your other arm, and maintain that straight back, torso and shoulders. You can do these by themselves OR when you lift the opposite leg.



Plank with alternating leg/arm lift

Plank with alternating leg/arm lift





How are planks going to transform my body?

Planks work to strengthen the core muscles in your body (your abdominal and back muscles) directly. Then there are other muscles that help to stabilize you in this pose and they strengthen as well:  shoulder muscles, pectoralis (chest), quads (upper legs), gluteals (butt), sartorius (thigh), serratus anterior (side of chest), tensor fasciae latae (thigh/hip), and gastrocnemius (calves).

Increasing your ability to hold these plank positions will help to strengthen and tone those muscles, which will not only make you appear leaner in your core, but also tighten your legs and butt too! Because we are strengthening your muscles, you will be burning more calories, even at rest, so when you feel sore, that is your muscles strengthening, and your body burning fuel. So, feel the burn, and love the burn: it means you are making progress!

The Challenge (…if you choose to accept it):

And for those of you who did the April Squat Challenge, keep maintenance squats ranging from 50-100 5 days a week (if you are able physically and medically).  If you have any specific medical and/or physical limitations, you should speak with your personal healthcare provider before taking on a strenuous challenge.

Day 1: 1 minute

Day 2: 2 minutes

Day 3: 2.5 minutes

Day 4: 3 minutes

Day 5: 3.5 minutes

Day 6: 4 minutes


Day 8: 5 minutes

Day 9: 5.5 minutes

Day 10: 6 minutes

Day 11: 6.5 minutes

Day 12: 7 minutes

Day 13: 7.5 minutes

Day 14: REST DAY

Day 15: 8 minutes

Day 16: 8.5 minutes

Day 17: 9 minutes

Day 18: 9.5 minutes

Day 19: 10 minutes

Day 20: 10.5 minutes

Day 21: REST DAY

Day 22: 11 minutes

Day 23: 12 minutes

Day 24: 13 minutes

Day 25: 14 minutes

Day 26: 15 minutes

Day 27: 16 minutes

Day 28: 17 minutes

Day 29: 18 minutes

Day 30: 19 minutes

Day 31: 20 minutes

This is a HARD challenge BUT you can split up the planks into any set of reps and times that works for you and your body (i.e. split up the 20 minutes into 2 sets of 10 minutes in the morning doing 2 minute reps, so 5 planks in the morning and at night and you hit your 20 minute goal.) You should be able start with reps of 30 seconds and be able to increase that pretty quickly, adding in the arm and leg lifts to make it more challenging and to improve your core strength.

So let’s do this and get healthy, fit, and ready for summer!! And don’t forget to join the Facebook Page for the May Plank Challenge, where you can ask questions, get support, and (for those that dare) post their pre/post challenge bodies!

Yours in Good Health,