Everybody's going sleeveless, shifting the focus from who's got Botox to who has great biceps. The obsession erupted last fall with Gwyneth Paltrow and stepped it up when Michelle Obama landed in the White House.
"Women are requesting shift dresses because they want to show off their arms," says designer Michael Kors, whose fall collection is filled with shoulder-baring frocks. Now that women are putting as much effort into their arms as they do their complexions, it's no wonder that trainers, dermatologists, and plastic surgeons are getting more requests for "Obama arms."
"You don't need to lift 20-pound dumbbells to get sexy, sculpted arms," says David Kirsch, personal trainer to celebrities like Heidi Klum and Liv Tyler. "It's better to increase repetitions rather than weight." He recommends you do these exercises three to four times per week to start seeing results in two weeks.
- Stability-ball push-ups: Place your shins on top of the ball and your hands a shoulder-width distance apart on the floor. "Make sure your core is nice and tight," advises Kirsch. Start with 10 push-ups, and once it gets easier, work toward two to three sets.
- Cardio-sculpting circuit: Using three-pound dumbbells, alternate between crossovers (punching across the body) and uppercuts (like punching a chin from below). Try 10 seconds of each, then go straight into 10 seconds of jumping jacks with shoulder presses; you'll start with your hands at your ears and reach up as you jump. As you get more proficient, increase your time.
- Also, try this yoga position.
The right skin care can instantly make limbs look softer, smoother, and highlight the muscles you've got. And nothing pairs better with fashion's sleeveless chic than beautiful, flawless arms.
- Avon Anew Clinical Body Contouring Treatment ($25): When used twice daily, this caffeine-packed firming cream temporarily tightens and firms skin.
- Bliss Fatgirlscrub ($38): Exfoliate in the shower at least twice a week to help banish rough skin and relieve dryness.
- Try these other three products to tackle bumps on your arms, mask imperfections, and hydrate your skin.
"With more women showing off their arms, I'm seeing a big increase in requests for liposuction," says Howard Sobel, dermatologic surgeon and founder of DDF skin care.
- Liposuction: "It requires a small incision, but you don't remove a lot of fat," notes Sobel. "The cut is two millimeters on your elbow that is barely noticeable, there are no stitches, and you can go back to work the next day." Average cost: $3,000. If your skin also needs tightening, SlimLipo uses a laser that smooths arms at the same time it gets rid of fat. Average cost: $3,000.
- Learn more about two other medical procedures.
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