I feel like the upper body is one of the parts, as ladies, that we kind of skip over. We focus so much attention on firm butts and tight abs that we skimp on this very important area. Not only do strong, lean sculpted shoulders look great in tank tops and summer dresses as warmer weather approaches, but strong arms are also essential to our everyday activities.
By adding just 10 minutes of strength training for the upper body 1 or 2 times a week, we can prevent conditions like sore backs, tight necks, and restless sleeps.
When your body is constantly tight and sore, our sleep patterns suffer, and when we are not well-rested, our bodies’ hormones, moods, and energy systems dip very low, causing problems like weight gain, fatigue, and emotional mood swings.
I love these movements because they make sense and are so important for my everyday activities as a mom. Whether you’re lifting children into car seats, carrying groceries, or working a physical job, these movements will help to increase your strength, avoid injury, and create beautiful lean arms for your spring wardrobe.
Pick a weight with which you can perform each movement with control 12-15 times.
Repeat circuit 3x.
Perform each movement for a count of 4 up and 4 down.
Things to watch for:
- While performing, make sure not to lock your joints in the movement.
- Perform slowly and with control.
- Keep your core tight throughout each movement.
- Press shoulders away from the ears and do not arch your back.
Wide Shoulder press:
Holding weights in hands, bring your arms to a 90 degree position and slowly press weights up till there is a small bend in the elbow. Slowly bring your elbows down to be in alignment with your shoulders (at a 90 degree angle). Slowly return to starting position.
Lean your upper body slightly forward, bring your navel towards your spine, elbows close your ribs and with a slow controlled motion start to extend the arms behind you. Keep your elbows pressing into the rib cage as you press the arms back. Squeeze your triceps and return to starting position.
With light weight in the arms, slowly cross your arms across the body to begin . The motion will be as though you are punching the air! Slowly return to starting position, engage your core and repeat the opposite side. Once you have the motion down, speed up the motion and get your heart rate up!
Narrow shoulder press:
With palms facing one another slowly press your arms straight up above the head, leaving a small bend in the elbow to protect the joint. Slowly lower the weight and return to starting position.
Lean body slightly forward, bring navel to spine, keep arms straight and slowly bring them into a open fly position. As you open the arms feel the shoulder blades come together and squeeze your mid back. Make sure to drop your shoulders away from the ears as you perform this movement.
With elbows just about one inch away from the body, slowly bring weight up towards your shoulders, and with control, lower down to a fully extended arm. Feel your bicep stretch and squeeze through out this movement. Make sure to pick a weight that is challenging.