By Jenny Everett, SELF magazine
We watched Melanie Oudin's win yesterday and, we must admit, the U.S. Open is giving us some serious arm envy. These women are amazingly toned and powerful.
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Since it's unlikely that we're going to attain such a strong, sexy upper body simply by sitting on the couch watching hours of tennis, we called Mark Kovacs, Ph.D., senior manager of strength and conditioning for the United States Tennis Association (USTA).
Here are his picks for 3 tennis-inspired moves that will really shape your arms:
To mimic: A powerful serve
Do this: Cable Triceps Extension. With the rope attachment positioned low on a cable pulley machine, grab one end of the rope in each hand. Stand with your back to the cable machine, feet about hip-width apart and elbows bent 90 degrees above your shoulders. Straighten your arms overhead, then take 2 or 3 seconds to lower the weights until elbows are once again at 90 degrees. Repeat for 10 to 12 reps. Rest for 30 to 60 seconds. That's one set. Do three.
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To mimic: A forehand or backhand stroke
Do this: Cable Core Rotation. Set the rope attachment on cable pulley machine at about waist height. With your right side facing the machine, twist to the right and grab the attachment with both hands. Keep arms straight and twist to the left as you pull the cable across your body. Return to start (taking at least 5 seconds to pull the cable across your body, and another 5 to return to start). That's one rep. Do 10 to 12, then repeat on the opposite side. That's one set. Do 3, resting 30 to 60 seconds in between.
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To mimic: A serious battle for match point
Do this: Medicine ball toss. Grab a 2- to 5-pound medicine ball and stand a couple of feet from a wall. With arms extended overhead, throw the ball against the wall, then catch it, keeping arms straight. Repeat, moving as quickly as possible for at least 10 to 20 seconds. The longer you go, the more you'll feel the burning sensation of progress. Bonus: This gets your heart rate up, adding a fat-burning cardio component.
For more tips on how to improve your tennis game and your health, check out tennis legend and 18-time grand slam winning champion Chris Evert's advice at BeSimplySmart.com.
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Photo Credit: WWD