Strong Arm August Challenge

Are you still wearing tank tops and sleeveless tops?  What about you ladies?  If this is going to be a typical Texas summer, I don’t foresee us jumping into sweaters anytime soon.  I think that was the mentality that went behind our voters’ mindsets when they decided upon arms for this month’s challenge.  I was pretty excited, but nervous.  Other trainers in the group had the same concern as I did.  Would this challenge exclude people who don’t own weights or don’t have a gym membership?  Never fail!  There is a solution for anyone that may feel they are unable to do this challenge.  We have something for EVERYONE:

  1. Weights – for those that love to lift.
  2. Resistance bands – for those that just want one versatile piece of equipment.
  3. Body weight exercise – for those that don’t want to invest in equipment.
  4. Push ups – A variety available to meet the participants’ needs and protect any existing injuries.

Hustle for the Musle.png


We will have four exercises on the schedule.  THAT’S IT!  It is the same rotation, so no surprises.  We have two videos to show the proper form for this month’s exercises.  The first video will show our first three exercises.  You can find it here.  The second video can be found in the comments section or can be found here, this is for our push ups.  Many modifications are available!  The exercises be as follows:

  • Bicep curl – Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your feet as hip width apart.  Let your arms hang down at your thighs with your palms forward.  Pull your abdominals in, stand tall, and keep your knees slightly bent.  Curl both arms upward until they’re in front of your shoulders.  Slowly lower the dumbbells back down.  Inhale up, exhale down.
    • Resistance Band Biceps- Step across a resistance band to increase tension.  Hold the handles or ends of the band, depending upon the type of band you are using in each hand.  Follow the steps above.  To increase tension, wrap your band around your wrists and shorten the band.
    • Prayer Pulse – Put the palms of your hands together as if praying and then staying in that position, put your elbows together. Position elbows level with your chest.  Flex arm muscles.  Pulse your arms up and down SLOWLY in front of your chest without letting your elbows stop touching each other.  Pulse for 30 seconds at a time.  If the calendar says 1X8 Reps, you should do 30 seconds X 8 Reps.  3X 12 Reps equates to 30 seconds X 12 Reps X 3 times.
  • Tricep Extensions – START OFF BY DOING THIS IN THE MIRROR TO MAKE SURE YOUR FORM IS ON POINT.  Stand up with a challenging dumbbell held by both hands. Your feet should be about shoulder width apart. Slowly use both hands to grab the dumbbell and round it over your head until both arms are fully extended.  The resistance should be resting in the palms of your hands with your thumbs around it. The palm of the hands should be facing up towards the ceiling. This will be your starting position.  Keeping your upper arms close to your head with elbows in and perpendicular to the floor, lower the weight behind your head until your forearms touch your biceps.  The biceps/triceps should remain stationary and only the forearms should move. Breathe in as you perform this step.  Go back to the starting position by using the triceps to raise the dumbbell. Breathe out as you perform this step.
    • Resistance Band Triceps – Stand with one foot slightly in front of the other and place the center of the band under the back foot  OR Stand tall and grab the resistance band behind your back about 1/4 of the way down the band.  Bring handles together straight up above the top of your head.  Slowly lower handles behind the back of your head until elbows are bent 90 degrees, keeping elbows close to the side of your head.  Press hands back up overhead slowly.
    • Chair Tricep Dips – Sit down on the edge of the seat and place your hands behind your hips.  Hands are shoulder width apart, wrists are directly under shoulders.  Lift your bottom off the chair and walk your feet away from the chair, 2-3 steps.  Make sure your hands are secure on the chair so that you don’t slip off. Keep your chest elevated and head up. Your knees should not bend past your toes.  Slowly lower your body down.  Make sure your elbows do not bend past 90 degrees.  Elbows stay even or lower than shoulders.  YOU ARE NOT JUST PUMPING YOUR BOOTY!  Extend your arms, lifting your body up and supporting your weight with your arms.  To make this more challenging, lift your toes!
  • Upright Rows – Holding dumbbells and stand with your feet shoulder width apart, dumbbells facing down towards your thighs.  While keeping your back straight, lift the dumbbells straight up in front of your chest, to just below chin level.  LEAD WITH YOUR ELBOWS!  Elbows should always be higher than anything else.  Keep weights as close to your body as possible. Pause, and then slowly lower the dumbbells back down to the front of your thigh area.
    • Resistance Band Rows – Step across a resistance band and then cross the handles to increase the tension.  Hold the handles or ends of the band, depending upon the type of band you are using in each hand.  Follow the steps above.  To increase tension, wrap your band around your wrists and shorten the band.
    • Pulsing W – Open bent arms to the side, palms flat and up to the sky.  You should be making a “W”.  When you are getting into this position, FLEX!  This will make sure that you feel the exercise.  Bring the arms down to your sides and then back to start position in a slow and controlled motion.  If you are feeling it in one arm more than the other, do one at a time.
  • Push Up – We have something for everyone!  On your toes, weight disperse, on your knees or on the wall push ups.  This is a full body workout.  If you have shoulder, wrist or back issues I ask that you please start with the wall push ups.  This is a no equipment exercise.  Please check out the video for ALL the variations available for you.


When working with weights it is always important to remember a few things…  When working with arms, there are a few special things to remember:

  1. Shoulders and ears are not friends, they do not talk.  When performing reps, make sure they stay away from one another.  No hunching or shrugging.
  2. Control is the name of the game.  If you are swinging, your weights are probably too light and/or you are breaking your form.  Injury will ensue.  Slow and steady wins the race.
  3. Abs tight!  This will make everything a 2 for 1.  Working those arms and abs.  This will also make sure that we don’t have unnecessary injuries.  Keeping those core muscles tight will assist in preventing improper form:  swinging, hyperextension in the back, hunching over, etc.
  4. Challenge yourself.  If it seems to easy you probably need to challenge yourself.  Start with a weight that isn’t easy.  If you find that completing the first reps are a breeze, increase the weight.



Hmmmm…..  Sure!  Let’s do THREE!!!!  This is based upon the participation that I saw from the No Jiggle July Challenge.  It was so great seeing everyone’s participation.  This is why I am adding a third entry!


  • Completing “done” on the Facebook page per the daily schedule (this does not include Rest Days, unless you are catching up).
  • A member accepts your invitation to join our group Team Best You.  I am able to see who accepts your invitation.
  • Completing a challenge.  This month it is called “Fire” instead of “Spice”.  Hopefully your muscles will be on FIRE!  These days are already noted on the calendar.


  • You must CHECK-IN via Facebook to a Texas Family Fitness class offered by a participating instructor and tag Sylvia Bernal.  These instructors include:
    • Alisa Lofton
    • Anna Hubbard
    • Clay Mills
    • Heather Starnes
    • Cambry Wiersum
  • Additional instructors may be added to this list and I will inform you via our group Team Best You.


  • Posting motivating memes or graphics.
  • Posting pictures of you in action…  What is more motivating than you showing that it can be done???

Alright, Guys and Dolls!  Let’s get Strong Armed this month!!!!  Are you ready???  Reach out to me with any questions.  There are no excuses.  We can do this!

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