Don’t shrug off these stubborn muscles — tone your delts with this foolproof sequence.
Whether you’re rocking trendy cold-shoulder blouses, have your sights set on upcoming summer tank tops or simply want the strength to lift more, doing focused moves to sculpt sexy shoulders is key.
“Working your shoulders is essential to creating a V-shaped torso that will give you the appearance of having a smaller waist,” says Jennifer Cohen, celebrity trainer for Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera and best-selling author of No Gym Required (Key Porter Books, 2009) and Strong Is the New Skinny (Harmony), 2014). “However, working out your shoulders will also help relieve pressure from your neck and back while helping with your overall posture. For instance, if you sit at a desk all day, chances are you’re hunched over in a chair, which is a killer for your back and neck. Working your shoulders helps reduce the pain that comes with this.”
Cohen has put together her four favorite moves, designed to tone your shoulders without bulking you up. If you want to kick things up a notch and make it more challenging, add more weights or read the pro trip included with each move below.
1. Single-Arm Lateral Raise. Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold a light dumbbell in your right hand down at your side. Your palm should be facing in toward your body, and your shoulders should be back and your chest raised. From here, raise your right arm out to your side in a straight line until it is parallel with the ground. Hold for a count and release back down to your side. Repeat for 15 reps on your right side, then work your left side.
- Pro Tip: You can add strap-on arm weights to your biceps for added resistance.
2. Pike to Push-Up. Start with your body in a push-up position, with your fingers on each hand facing each other to form a diamond. From here, bend at the waist, pushing your hips up into a pike position and coming up onto your toes. Once you’re in pike position, bend your elbows to lower your head down toward your hands. Press back up. Do 15 reps.
- Pro Tip: Place your feet against a wall so your entire bodyweight is being used when doing these push-ups.
3. Upright Row Into V. Stand with your feet in a wide stance. Hold a dumbbell in each hand in front of your body. From this position, pull your weights up to your chest so your arms form a V-like shape. Lower your weights back down and repeat for 20 reps. Keep your shoulders back, your chest raised and your abs engaged. This move works the front of the shoulders, particularly the anterior deltoids.
- Pro Tip: Want to engage your abs with this move? Try doing this while kneeling.
4. Arnold Press. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, holding two medium dumbbells. Bring the dumbbells in front of your face with your arms bent and your palms facing you. From here, bring both elbows out to the side while rotating your palms so they face outward. At this point, your arms should be at a 90-degree angle on the outside of your ears. Next, press both arms straight up above your head until your arms are straight but not locked out. Release your arms back to the first position and repeat for 12 to 15 more reps.
- Pro Tip: At the end of the move, you can do small pulses up and down (moving about an inch or two) in the center of your body to work your biceps.
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Sculpt your upper body with these powerful yet simple moves.
Some of the hardest exercises I do in the gym (read: accessory work) require little to no equipment. Building a solid foundation makes other functional movements we perform every day easier and reduces risk of injury tenfold. Anytime you train, you’re teaching your body how to move. You’re reinforcing habits. Effective training relies on intensity and quality of movement. It doesn’t necessarily require all the bells and whistles of equipment.
For jacked shoulders and a tight midline, give these moves a try:
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Tone up and build confidence with these four simple yet powerful arm exercises.
As the weather begins to hint at sunshine and warmer temps, the realization that you will soon need to shed layers of clothing begins to set in. But are you ready to reveal your arms to the world?
“It isn’t uncommon for winter weight gain to leave some women feeling discouraged or lacking confidence, especially when it comes to their upper body, as they transition from jackets to tank tops,” says Felicia Romero, a trainer and former fitness cover model who recently appeared on season 2 of Fit to Fat to Fit on Lifetime. “I tell my clients to set realistic goals and be consistent with nutrition and exercise plans to ensure they feel confident, sexy and like a knockout in whatever they want to wear this season.”
Romero is a firm believer that one of the best ways to tone and sculpt the upper body, back and arms is to mix heavy weights with lighter ones. She suggests the following moves to create the toned, sculpted arms you’re excited to show off:
If you’re panicking with Memorial Day just around the corner, be sure to combine these weightlifting moves with a healthy eating plan to see toning results at a faster rate. “You can speed up your progress by incorporating more weight (every four to six weeks) or adding in a cardio element,” Romero says. “When working the upper body, I like to work in HIIT exercises to increase fat loss while toning. To level up, try adding burpees, jumping jacks, squat jumps or frog jumps to your upper-body workout — 20- to 30-second intervals with 10 to 15 seconds of rest.”
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By identifying the most effective moves for shoulder muscles, ACE hopes that you can be more efficient with your workouts and, thus, more likely to stick with them for the long term.
The shoulders — the deltoids — are among the most important muscles we use in daily life. Whether we’re pushing, pulling or lifting things over our heads, the shoulder muscles always come into play. They’re also a key factor in aesthetics. Broad shoulders make a person look strong and confident, and they can even make one’s waist look slimmer.
Despite all the functional and aesthetic benefits of strong shoulders, they’re also some of the most misunderstood and oft-neglected muscles.
The American Council on Exercise teamed up with the exercise scientists from the Clinical Exercise Physiology program at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse to determine which exercises are most effective for strengthening the shoulder muscles.
By identifying the most effective moves for shoulder muscles, ACE’s hope is that exercisers can be more time efficient with their workouts and, thus, more likely to stick with them for the long term.
Complete the quick form below and download the complete research study.
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