Summer is here! Of course, this means the arrival of the king of fruits, mango, tons of ice-creams and the excuse to guzzle down as many cold drinks as you would like. But, the onset of summer means one more thing – sleeveless tops!
It is impossible to even think about wearing full-sleeved clothing and stepping outside to tackle your everyday work, right? Sleeveless blouses and tank tops are a blessing during this weather. But, if you’re shying away from this trend because of….well, flabby and untoned arms, then don’t worry! We’ve got your back.
Before the scorching heat swoops in, prepare to get your upper body all toned up and fit, so that you can shimmy into those favourite tank tops of yours with ease. How? By exercising, of course! But again, you do not have to worry. You see, these exercises are focused on the upper body. They will not even take up too much of your time and you can do them every morning or every evening, depending on your schedule.
Contrary to popular belief, upper body workouts are great for women. They give you a toned and fit body, build up muscle strength and make you more agile and flexible. Believe it or not, it also helps in bone remodeling, i.e., as your muscles get stronger, your bones are forced to become stronger too and adapt to the changes in your body. These exercises are also great for your ligaments and other connective tissues.
We have prepared a list of push and pull exercises, which are supposed to be very effective in terms of burning those calories. Doing these exercises will help engage your core muscles, build muscle strength and even tone up the abs. Sounds like a great deal, doesn’t it? So let’s get tank-top ready, shall we?
1. The up-down plank
Yes, we are sure you have heard all about the plank and even performed it at least once in your lives! We know it can be tough, but this is actually the best way to tone up your upper body. In this variation, first place your forearms on the floor and let your legs extend behind you. Make sure to keep your back really straight and keep your palms flat on the floor on either side of you, a little above the chest area. Once you are set, slowly push yourself up by evenly distributing your weight across both forearms. Ideally, distribute it to the left first and then the right, until you are straight up. Then, slowly lower yourself back down in a reverse move. Do this at least 5 times; more if you can!
2. Shoulder raises
Best way to tone those arms? Shoulder raises! Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand straight on the floor, leaving a little gap between both feet. Leave your hands at your sides, with your right palm facing your body. Let the left palm face outwards and bring it up to your side, letting your right arm come straight up in front of you at the exact same time. Follow the same pattern on the other side. For an added challenge, do it with one knee pulled up. Do this about 10 to 15 times.
3. Chest press
Keep your upper body fit and build up your core strength as well as muscle power in the arms, with the help of chest presses. Lie down on the floor, preferably on your mat, with your legs pulled halfway up, soles touching the ground. Bring your elbows to your sides and align them to shoulder-length. Grab your weights and press them upwards, then pull them back downwards. Make sure the weights don’t clash together! Do this 10-12 times.
4. Triceps dip
Let’s not forget the triceps, shall we? That’s the area that tends to get very flabby and keeps you from wearing the clothes that you love. So, while you’re still lying down from the previous exercise (chest press), bring yourself up to a sitting position. Press your palms down on the floor, with the fingertips facing your toes. Pull up your knees, bend the elbows and then bring yourself up by straightening your arms, thus engaging the triceps as well as the core muscles. Make sure to lift up your hips while doing this exercise, otherwise, the entire point is lost. Do this 10-15 times, depending on your capacity.
5. Standing dumbbells
Make your shoulders stronger with this exercise. Grab your weights in each hand and stand up straight. Let the weights rest at the tops of your thighs before you begin and let your elbows be slightly bent. With the help of your side shoulders, lift up the dumbbells near the chin level, with the dumbbells being held close to the body. Let your elbows do the work of lifting the weights. Do this about 10 times.
6. Alternate renegade row
For this exercise, you will require 2 kettlebells, which are easily available anywhere. You could also do the exercise with weights. Place the kettlebells/weights on the floor at an equal distance from each other. Balance yourself on your toes and hold onto the handles of the two kettlebells as you incline yourself downwards. First, pick up one kettlebell and pull it back, making sure to flex your elbow as you do so. Support yourself by holding onto the stationary kettlebell, on the floor. Repeat the movement with the other kettlebell. Do this 5-10 times on each side.
To engage and work on your back and back muscles, perform arm circles. Stand straight, with the feet slightly apart. Hold onto the dumb bells, hands downwards, in an inverted V pose. Slowly move your arms up in a circular manner until they come up to form a V. Reverse the direction and repeat 10 times.
See? That won’t take up too much of your time. Once you settle into the routine and get used to it, you will even be able to do them all quickly. The end results will be visible for you all to see! Do you know about any more upper body workouts that brought you wonderful results? Tell us all about it in the comments below. And get ready to exercise!