What you need: dumbbells, 5 to 10 pounds, depending on strength
How to do it: Stand with feet hip width apart, holding dumbbells with arms straight down at your sides. Rotate your right hand so palm faces forward, bending your elbow and bringing the weight up towards your right shoulder using a 3-second count; pause and use a 10-second count to slowly return the weight to the starting position. Repeat on each side for 10 to 12 reps.
Why you need it: The slow downward movement recruits a greater number of muscle fibers, says Volkmer. "It gives you strength for carrying groceries and kids."
8. Close-grip push-up (Works: backs of arms and chest)
What you need: no equipment
How to do it: Get into a push-up position (either on your knees or up on the balls of your feet) with your hands in a triangle position with thumbs and forefingers touching. Lower yourself by bending your elbows until upper arm is parallel to the floor; slowly push back up and repeat 12 to 15 times. (This may also be done against a countertop or wall.)
Why you need it: The American Council on Exercise ranks this move as the "gold standard" for triceps exercises , reporting the greatest muscle activity among all triceps exercises. "In everyday life, strong triceps help you pull open heavy doors and get up out of a chair," says Volkmer.
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