In the hottest days of summer, clothing like tank tops, swimsuits, and sleeveless dresses are so comfortable and cool. But many women are self-conscious about their shoulders and arms, worried that they aren’t toned enough to look good in more revealing summer outfits. Working on the muscles in your upper body is so rewarding because you see results fast and your work really pays off.
Put your fears aside and master these easy exercises that will give you irresistible shoulders and arms you’ll be dying to show off. Use a variety of exercises in this arm and shoulder workout below to create a great upper body circuit that will have you feeling the burn in no time.
Be sure to warm up before beginning to avoid putting unnecessary stress on your muscles. Methodically stretching and rotating each part of your body is a great way to warm up that is easy and stress-free. Add in a few jumping jacks, high knees, or toe taps to get your blood pumping and your heart rate up.
1. Bent-Over Dumbbell Rows
This killer shoulder workout also shapes up your arms making it a great arm and shoulder workout that engages multiple muscle groups. Be prepared to feel this in your side and back deltoids, your biceps, triceps, lats, and chest muscles. Choose a set of dumbbells between 5-10 pounds, making sure you feel comfortable with the weight.
Standing with feet hip-width apart, push your hips back and lean your torso forward. Make sure you are keeping your chest up, not hunching your lower back, which can lead to injury. Hold your dumbbells end-to-end, and pull them up by bending your elbows out to the side, pinching your shoulder blades together. Move the weights in a controlled way, making sure to keep your form and protect your spine. Repeat this for 10-12 reps in 3-4 sets, rotating through some of these other exercises to create an upper body circuit.
2. Overhead Tricep Extensions
Work those triceps for gorgeous arms that look great in short sleeves. Your back and chest muscles are also bound to feel the burn. For this exercise, choose a single dumbbell between 5-10 pounds, making sure that you are challenging yourself, but not over-stressing your muscles.
Hold a single dumbbell in both hands above your head with elbows bent and upper arms aligned with your ears. Holding your elbows still, extend your arms straight so that the weight is directly above your head. Bend your arms again slowly, controlling the weight back into the starting position. Repeat for 10-12 reps in 3-4 sets. If this workout feels too easy, increase the weight of the dumbbell or include more reps in every set.
3. Lateral Shoulder Raise
Try this classic arm and shoulder workout to sculpt and shape amazing shoulders. Begin with a dumbbell in each hand and your feet hip-width apart, arms straight at your sides. Tighten your core muscles then raise your hands out to shoulder height, keeping arms straight. Pause at the top, with your arms parallel to the ground. Slowly return your arms to your sides, keeping careful control of the weights as you bring them down. Repeat this move for 10-12 reps in 3-4 sets, allowing time for rest.
4. Inverted Row
This upper body movement is a killer arm and shoulder workout that can easily be adjusted to your skill level and strength. With your body underneath a bar in a squat rack, place your hands shoulder width apart and extend your feet out in front of you. The higher you place the bar from the ground, the easier this exercise will be.
Keep your body flat and your core tight, making a straight line from shoulders to heels. Bend your elbows and pull your shoulders together as your chest meets the bar. Pause in this position then slowly lower your body. Repeat as many reps as you can until you are fatigued. Try this for 3-4 sets, resting in between each.
5. Plank with a T Raise
If a traditional plank isn't killer enough, try this arm and shoulder workout to strengthen and tone those muscles without any weights. A plank is an easy exercise that works nearly every muscle in your body, from your deltoids, triceps, and abs to your glutes, hamstrings, and quads.
Bring your body into a straight-arm plank position with your wrists directly below your shoulders. Place your feet hip-width apart, drawing your shoulders down and back and your core up and in. Be sure to keep your hips level, so that your body makes a straight line.
Once you are in a plank, raise one arm straight out from the shoulder, being careful not to lift your arm any higher. Slowly lower that arm back to center, and repeat the move on the other side of your body. Repeat for ten reps on each side.
6. Standing Shoulder Press
This exercise works a whole bunch of muscle groups, from your deltoids to your triceps to your chest. Begin with a dumbbell in each hand, your legs hip-width apart, shoulders back, and chest out.
Lift your arms so that your upper arms are parallel to the floor while your forearms are at 90 degrees with your upper arms, and your palms facing forward. (Picture a typical flexing position). While your core is tightened, straighten your arms, pushing the dumbbells right over your head. With a slow and controlled motion, flex your elbows and bring the weights back to starting position. Continue for 10-12 reps in 3-4 sets.
7. Shoulder Shrugs
Shoulder shrugs are one of the best exercises for shoulders that is so easy to execute. Simply grab a dumbbell in each hand and place your hands by your side with your palms facing inward. Then, with your abs tightened, shoulders rolled back and chest up, raise your shoulders to your ears in a shrug as high as you can. Hold this position for about 15-20 seconds. Lower weights slowly to starting position to complete one rep. If this exercise is too simple for you, increase the weight or the time the position is held to add an additional challenge.
This killer arm and shoulder workout is sure to give you that toned look you desire as well as improved upper body strength. Combining these different exercises will engage different muscle groups and provide you with a variety in your range of motion. Be sure to complete a cool-down after working your muscles so hard to prevent post-workout injury. Let us know how these exercises work for you in the comments below!