In our quest for that desirable hourglass shape we often only concentrate on our torso and lower half. We crunch, squat, and lunge in efforts to enhance those curves. While the focus on those favorite body parts is important, you don’t want to forget about the top of your hourglass!
The shoulders are an important feature often overlooked when compared with the waist and the rear. Did you know that a defined and sculpted set of shoulders will actually make your midsection look smaller and balance the look of your torso altogether? Not only that, but strong shoulders are key for achieving proper posture, which goes a long way in projecting that curvy hourglass shape.
The set of muscles that you focus on when achieving those sexy “ready to bare” shoulders are your deltoids. The deltoids are comprised of three sections: the anterior, medial, and rear heads. It’s crucial that all three sections are afforded equal treatment so you can get that broad and lifted look that will fill out your tops and get the most out of your shoulder-baring outfits.
Here are six upper body exercises to get those sleek and sexy shoulders:
1. Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Sitting in a seat with a back for support, hold the dumbbells out and to the side, making a goal-post shape with your arms. Make sure your elbows do not dip below your shoulders. Push the dumbbells straight up, but when you get to the top, as you rest, be sure you don’t lock your elbows. Slowly lower back to your starting position as you prepare for the next set.
2. Cable Front-Raises
Set the cable system at its lowest level and straddle the cord. Hold the bar with an overhand grip and let it rest where your arms rest naturally in front of you. Engage your core to protect your lower back and slowly lift the bar to above eye level. Once again, do not lock your elbows. Hold for a few seconds before slowly releasing to start.
3. Seated Front/Side-Raises
Make sure you are not using a weight that is too heavy for the side raises. Sitting in a seat with adequate back support, place your feet firmly on the floor in front of you and, holding the dumbbells at your side, raise them—with straight arms, but not locked elbows—until they reach shoulder height. Slowly lower down and when you raise them up again, instead of being at your sides, you will raise them in front of you. Once again, go no higher than shoulder level and keep your elbows soft.
4. Seated Bent-Over Lateral Raises
Sitting down, bend at the waist until your chest is as close to your knees as possible, with your back flat. Keep your knees together and feet planted firmly on the ground. Grab the dumbbells in an overhand grip and pull the weights up and back as though your arms are wings, lifting up. Hold for a few seconds before returning to start.
5. Stability Ball Pushups
Start by leaning over the ball at hip level, with hands planted firmly on the floor and legs straight out behind you. Slowly walk forward until the stability ball is at either the bottom of your shins or ankle (ankle will provide more of a challenge). Lower yourself down and then push back up. Keep your core engaged to protect your lower back.
6. Jump Rope
Don’t forget your cardio! This one is pretty self-explanatory, but most people don’t think about the benefit the constant rotation your shoulders go through as you jump and what a great workout it provides to your deltoids.
So, ladies, the next time you are working on getting your body bikini and strappy-top ready, don’t forget about those shoulders! These six exercises are just the tip of the iceberg on what workouts are available to sculpt those sexy arms.