Prepare to Go Sleeveless!
As the heat wave of the summer wears on, all of us may be turning to tanks, and shoulder-baring tops to try and stay cool. For our July edition of Essential Exercises for Women we have put together a move that is sure to make your shoulders, chest and upper arms look mah-vel-ous...Michelle Obama won't have a thing on you!
This multi-jointed exercise targets the chest, shoulders and tricep as well as the abs when performed in the most extended position.
1. Start on your hands and knees, fingers spread, wrists under shoulders, knees under hips. Extend one leg back to rest on your toes, then the other, forming a straight line from your heels to your shoulders. Keep the butt and ab muscles tight and the shoulders sliding down the back. Be sure the neck is in line with the spine (don't hang your head or jut your chin out.). A modified version would be to have the knees remain on the floor instead of extended out on the toes.
2. Bending the elbows, slowly lower the body as far down as you can while maintaining proper form. Then, straightening (but not locking) the arms, come back to the starting position. Repeat to fatigue (strive for 12-15 repetitions).
Kick It Up!
For a challenge and more emphasis on the smaller tricep portion of the arm do the push-up with the elbows pointing back and close to your sides (as seen above). The triceps are a smaller muscle group so do not be surprised if this version is a little tougher.
Need Some Motivation?
How about even more of an incentive to give push-ups a try? Fact: Your shoulders and upper back tend to carry less fat than the rest of your body, so the right exercises can give this area a nearly instant makeover, says Ramona Braganza, a celebrity trainer who has worked with stars such as Anne Hathaway and Jessica Alba.
Photos: Women's Health Magazine
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