5 Workouts For A Beautiful Upper Body

Published: 23rd January 2012
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Having that hot hourglass figure starts with your upper body. When you start with a lean, trim, shapely top the rest naturally follows. Doing the proper exercises in the proper way will get you that look you want.

Total Body Fat Loss Is Key
Isolated movements such as tricep exercises can help build muscle, increase strength, and boost your metabolism. But, spot training isn't enough. If you want results, you need to do the right combination of exercises and lose fat from all over your body before worrying about those so called "problem areas".

To burn fat, your exercise program requires three basic elements:

Cardio Exercise -- Your fitness program should have the right combination of slow cardio and intense interval training.

Strength Training -- Your workout week should also include 3-5 days of strength training per week. Itís impossible for a female to bulk up, unless she is intentionally doing so. This part of your fitness routine will tone your muscles, build up your strength, and increase your metabolism. You'll burn fat more efficiently and use the fat you take in through your diet more wisely.

Proper Nutrition -- Without proper nutrition you wonít lose fat. Knowing what to eat and when to it it is crucial to achieving your goals.

Exercises To Get That Hot Upper Body

Tricep Dip -- This strength exercise targets your triceps, but it also works your anterior delts, pecs, and rhomboids. The triceps consist of three heads that run from your humerus and scapula to your forearm: the lateral, medial, and long head. The lateral head is found on the top of your arm. The medial head comes down your midline, and the long head runs along the bottom of your arm. These heads allow you to straighten your elbow, and they also work in conjunction with your latissimus dorsi to bring your arm toward your body.

To perform a tricep dip:
1. Position yourself in front of a bench, chair, dip bar, or a set of rings with your hands shoulder width apart.
2. With your legs bent and your feet hip-width apart, elevate yourself so your arms are straight and your elbows slightly bent. (This will keep the tension on your triceps, instead of the joints in your elbows.)
3. Keeping your back close to the support, lower your upper body to the floor by slowly bending your elbows into a 90-degree angle.
4. Continue the movement until you reach the bottom, before pushing yourself back into the starting position. Just be sure to avoid bending your neck or moving your ears close to your shoulders.

Lateral Raises
To really give your delts a workout, try an exercise like the cable lateral raise. This movement focuses on your lateral delt, but it actually works all three.

To perform a lateral raise:
1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand.
2. Slowly raise them level with your shoulders while keeping your hands in front of your hips and your wrists facing each other. Pause before returning your arms to the start position.

Pull-Ups
To get your traps and lats into shape, try pull-ups as a simple way to work a lot of muscles. In addition to working your lats and pectoralis major, pull-ups also work your posterior delts, traps, rhomboid, and your levator scapulae, as well as your teres major, pectoralis minor, and serratus anterior muscles. The biceps, rectus abdominis, erector spinae, transverse abdominis, and obliques are also involved.

To get started, try a standard chin-up. To perform one of these, use an underhand grip to pull your chest toward the bar. Once you've reached the top, hold the position. Then, lower your body into a dead hang.

When you're ready to move beyond a chin-up, switch to a pull-up by using an overhand grip. Then, there are several other variations you can try, including pulsating at the top of the movement or hanging onto the bar for as long as you can.

Cable Flys
1. Step forward with your chest out and stomach tight to put resistance on your pecs.
2. Bend your elbow slightly and pull the cables toward each other in front of you by straightening your arms. Think of it like there's a stability ball on your chest and you're pulling the cables around the ball.
3. Once you've reached the top of the movement, pause, and return to the starting position.

Sexy Six-Pack Abs
Everyone wants the gorgeous flat stomach and the famous six-pack. But these stunning 'bumps' aren't separate muscles. They're two muscles called your 'rectus abdominis', and they're found between your ribs and pubic bone, joined in the centre by the linea alba.
It's these muscles that move the trunk of your body, ?ex your spine during movements such as a crunch, and bring your pelvis to your ribcage during leg-hip raises or posterior pelvic tilts. They do more than just help you move, however.

Your rectus abdominis helps you breathe, keeps your internal organs in place, and provides stability. But strong abs will give you more than just a sexy upper body. A strong core is vital for proper joint, tendon, and opposing muscle strength, meaning you can easily maintain your plane of motion. You'll have better posture, improved physical performance, less lower back pain, less muscle soreness and stiffness, and a lower risk of injury.

Hanging Leg Raises
To work your core and get the maximum benefit from your exercises, don't do thousands of crunches or sit-ups. Hanging leg raises target your hip flexors, external obliques, AND your rectus abdominis. For this exercise, use an overhand grip with your arms shoulder-width apart to hold a bar. Your knees should be slightly bent and your feet should be together. Bend your knees, raise your hips, and curl your lower back to bring your thighs toward your chest. Pause at the top of the movement, and return to the starting position. Just be sure to keep your lower abs tight while bringing your legs to your chest to ensure you use your abs to complete the movement, instead of your hip flexors.

Use these exercises to shape your upper body and add years of youth to your body.

Resources:
Flavia Del Monte is a Registered Nurse, Certified Physical Trainer, and Nutrition Expert. She specializes in women's fitness and continually shares her vast knowledge of women's physiology and muscle structure on her fitness blog and elsewhere.

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