We are pumped to share one of our favorite stories from Self here on FitSugar!
Summer is all about showing skin, but are you ready to flaunt your figure in a strapless dress? If the answer isn't quite yes, then you're in luck! Scoring a sexy back, decolletage, and shoulders doesn't necessarily mean logging long hours at the gym. Instead, try this no-equipment upper-body workout from Philippe Til, a personal trainer and kettlebell expert based in West Los Angeles.
"A little definition goes a long way in looking great and getting compliments," he says. "Working the shoulders and upper back also automatically recruits your biceps and triceps so you kill a few birds with one stone!"
Toning up top also creates the illusion you've morphed into a long-legged goddess without breaking the bank on a pair of Jimmy Choo stilettos. "An upright posture automatically helps you draw in your stomach so you appear taller and leaner," says Til. "It's a win-win!"
To help his female clients shape up fast for strapless dress season, Til uses circuit training to target several major muscle groups at once. "Spot reduction doesn't work," he says. "Think of an ice cube. If placed in the sun, it melts all over, not just in one area."
Incorporate these three moves into your regular routine three times a week, repeating four times the first day, three times the second day, and five times the third day. "Do these exercises back to back," says Til. "This workout has a variety of moves that target the upper back and core at once as well as the lower body and core at once. The more muscles you recruit, the more calories you burn and the more time you save!"
Keep reading for the back-defining exercises.
Prone Shoulder Press
Lie down flat on your stomach, elbows bent at your side with your palms level with your shoulders (first photo below). Take a breath in. Squeeze your fists, buttocks, and thighs as well as your shoulder blades at once, then lift your limbs off the floor so you're balancing only on your stomach and hips (middle). Extend your arms forward with slow, controlled tension as if you were pushing the wall in front of you, and exhale slowly through your mouth (bottom). You will feel your shoulders, back, and spine working as you extend as well as your buttocks and thighs. When you're fully extended like Superman, take a quick breath in. Bring your arms back and reverse the motion, exhaling again as you retract the shoulder blades. Imagine you are doing a pull-up, except you're on your stomach or pulling a bar to your upper chest. Also, imagine your forearms are sliding forward and back on a track to keep them in alignment. Repeat 10 times.
Sit on the floor with legs straight, arms at your side, elbows locked, fingers pointing forward or to the side (first photo below). Lay down on your back with your arms crossed over your chest, palms facing down. Squeeze the glutes and thighs. Dig your heels and raise your hips up so that your ankles, knees, hips and shoulders are in one line and your body looks like a ramp (bottom). Hold the contraction for three to five seconds and release. Repeat 10 to 15 times.
Unweighted Goblet Squat
Stand with your feet hips-width apart, feet parallel or turned out no more than 45 degrees. Hold your arms straight out in front of you, palms facing down (top). Squeeze your armpits, drive the elbows down, and keep your chest slightly forward. Imagine pulling your tailbone into the ground almost in a straight line. Maintain the tension in your upper body and do not lean forward. As you lower your body (middle), pry your knees slightly apart (bottom). You will find a narrow stance actually allows you to go deeper into the squat. Repeat 10 to 15 times.