The weather is starting to warm up and soon the clothes will be coming off. It doesn’t have to be hot weather to do these exercises though. Your back, shoulders and arms can be exposed any time of the year and when they are you want to have lean and shapely arms and nicely shaped shoulders and a sculpted back.

To change the shape of your body you need to do strength training, cardio alone will not change your body shape, nor will it give you a more shapely and leaner body. It will burn off fat which will help you slim down, but it wont necessarily make your body look better, it is possible to be slim and have wobbly bits and you don‘t want that. You want your muscles to be firm so that you get that toned look and strength training is what will do this. Plus, strength training, weight training, resistance training, whichever you prefer to call it, is going to help you burn off more fat, an increase in muscles mass means an increase in your metabolic rate. So you can burn off more calories post workout or even when you are sleeping.

The best work out routine is one that will include exercises for your whole body, you don’t need to spend a long time in the gym lifting weights to get results, 3 times a week is what you should aim for.

Here are my favourite exercises to get that sexy sculpted look for your upper body, not only will you be creating more shapely arms and shoulders but you will also be increasing your strength.

Strength does not equal huge muscles but an increase in muscle mass is necessary to get the toned look, using weights equals firmer muscles.

How many?

Do 3 sets of 12 reps.  Rest for 30-60 seconds between each set.

What weight?

Choose a weight that is heavy enough for you to complete your set with the last rep being the most difficult but still being able to just complete the rep with good form. If you are able to do your 12 reps easily and still do more then you need a heavier weight, if you can’t get to 12 reps then go a bit lighter.

The Exercises


Barbell Curls

Muscles Used: Biceps

How to do it:

  • Grasp the barbell with an underhand grip, hands slightly wider than shoulder width part.
  • Raise the bar to chest your chest by bending your elbows. Keep a tight core and contract your gluteal muscles and spinal muscles to stabalize yourself.
  • Slowly lower the bar back down to starting position and repeat.

Standing Overhead Tricep Extension

Muscles used: Triceps

How to do it:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart knees slightly bent.
  • Raise the dumbbell over your head with two hands so that both hands are supporting one end of the dumbbell (the dumbbell will be vertical with one end supported and the other hanging below it).
  • Slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head until your arms are at 90 degrees.
  • Keep your elbows in tight so they don’t push out to the sides, keep your wrists straight and your spine in neutral.
  • Press the weight back up and repeat.


Shoulder Press

Muscles used: Deltoids (shoulders), trapezius (upper back) and triceps (back of arms).

How to do it:

  • Using a barbell stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hold the bar with hands slightly wider than shoulder width.
  • The bar should be at shoulder height with your palms facing forward and elbows pointing down.
  • Press the bar directly upwards with your arms extended overhead, keep your core braced throughout the move.
  • Lower the bar back down to your shoulders and repeat.

Front Raises

Muscles used: Anterior deltoid

How to do it:

  • Grasp a dumbell in each hand and place them in front of your legs, your palms should be facing your legs.
  • Slowly raise both arms up in front of you, keeping arms straight, until shoulder height.
  • Slowly lower the dumbbells back to starting position and repeat.


One Arm Dumbbell Row

Muscles used: Back (latissimus dorsi), rhomboids and upper trapezius), shoulders (posterior deltoid) and front of arms (biceps)

How to do it:

  • Using a flat bench place your left knee on the bench and keep your right foot flat on the floor with a slight bend in your knee.
  • Lean forward and place your left hand on the bench so your body is supported. Your back should be straight and parallel to the floor.
  • Now reach down and pick up the dumbbell from the floor with your right arm, your palm should be facing in.
  • Slowly raise your elbow, keeping it close to your body, and pull your elbow as far back as you can squeezing the shoulder blade at the end of the move.
  • Lower the dumbbell back to the floor and swap sides and repeat with the other arm.
  • Your head should be looking down at the bench for the whole move so that your keep a neutral spine alignment (spine is kept in a straight line).

Seated Row (Cable Machine)

Muscles Used: Trapezius, Lats, Rhomboids and Posterior Deltoid

How to do it:

  • Choose an appropriate weight on the machine and use a close grip handle.
  • Sit slightly forwards on the machine bench with your feet on the foot pads and leaning forwards grasp the handle.
  • Move your hips backwards on the bench so that there is a slight bend in your knees and your back is straight.
  • Keeping your chest out and a slight arch in your back pull the handle towards your torso and pull your elbows all the way back, keep your shoulders squeezed together throughout the move.
  • Slowly extend your arms to the initial position, but not locking the joints, and repeat.

Those are just a couple of exercises to help sculpt and tone your arms, back and shoulders – but you don’t want to neglect your chest so make sure you include 2 chest exercises such as the bench press and dumbbell chest flyes.

Don’t forget to warm up and cool down everytime you do any exercises.

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