With the temperature rising and those layers of winter clothes starting to come off Sleeveless Shirt Season is upon us! From arm-baring tops to strapless wedding wear this time of year can make many women grimace. But don't worry! There is still time to trim and tone your upper body and shed a few extra pounds before you go sleeveless.
These seven foolproof exercises work—and fast! Reason: each of these moves is considered a uni-lateral compound movement meaning you are using almost all of the muscles in their body when you perform them. From working your chest, shoulders, triceps, back, and core region when moving your body in and out of a standard push up position you are creating stability and symmetry throughout your extremities. So, to get you confidently baring your arms, here are the 7 moves of the tank top toning workout:
* Perform as many repetitions as possible in 30 seconds
* Rest 30 seconds between exercises
* You may perform up to 2 cycles of the exercises
1. Give yourself a hand (alternating): Starting in a standard push up position (legs fully extended and hands positioned directly under your shoulders), pick your right hand off of the ground and quickly move it laterally as close as possible to your left hand. Allow it to rest for a split second and return it back to its original position and perform on the other side with your left hand to complete one set. Alternate between right and left hand touches for a total of 30 seconds.
Coach’s tip: To be certain that you are keeping your back and hips in a straight line pretend that you are having ice water poured down your spine.
2. Power punches (alternating): Begin in a standard push up position with your legs fully extended and your hands positioned directly under your shoulder. Next, in one explosive movement raise your right hand off of the ground (simultaneously clinching your hand into a fist) and throw a forward punch. Retract the right hand back to its original position and perform with your left hand. Alternate between right and left as many times as possible in 30 seconds. Coach’s tip: If you find your punches out of control or you’re losing balance simply,drop down to a push up position on your knees. This will provide greater stability and control with your form.
3. T-birds (alternating): Starting in a standard push up position, quickly raise and extend your right arm fully to the right side of your body. Retract your right hand to its original position. Immediately extend your left arm to the left side of your body. Alternate between right and left arms as fast as possible.
Coach’s tip: If you feel your hips rolling to the right or left decrease the height of the arm action.
4. Rise ups (alternating): Much like the power punches, (exercise 2) the rise up is a compound exercise. Keep your right arm fully extended and raise it up as high close to shoulder level as possible (parallel to floor). Retract back and perform with left hand.
Coach’s tip: Be sure to focus your eyes on the floor. This will help keep your back and hips level.
5. Give your heart a hand (alternating): Get back into push up position and get your heart pumping with this exercise! In one sweeping motion, drive your right hand (keeping it in an open palm position) up towards your heart touching your chest (heart) and retract back to the original position. Alternate, between right and left hands.
Coach’s tip: If you feel that you hips are rolling from side to side, or that you are struggling to keep form, simply,widen your base (foot position), which will provide your core with greater stability and balance.
6. Knee slappers (alternating): At this point, your shoulders may be a little sore from holding yourself up. So, if you need a few extra second of rest go ahead and take it so that you can keep form throughout this explosive movement. Simultaneously drive your right hand and left knee towards each other having them unite close to your navel. Feel a little off balance? Be sure to exhale through this first part of the exercise. Retract both the hand and foot to their original positions. Next, drive your left hand and right foot towards each (exhaling throughout movement) and have them touch at navel level. Alternate, back and forth while performing as many as possible in 30 seconds.
Coach’s tip: Your hips will want to rise up and down throughout this exercise. To avoid this from happening, be sure to drive your knee diagonally towards the opposite hand so that your knee will almost skim across the floor.
7. Toe tappers (alternating): Much like the above exercise, toe tappers focuses on the opposite extremities. This time, instead of driving your right hand and left knee towards each other bring your right hand to your left foot. Returning to the original position and then repeating on the opposite side. Alternate this protocol as many times as possible within 30 seconds.
Coach’s tip: Remember that the body goes through this exercise as one unit meaning that the hand and foot will leave the ground simultaneously. Otherwise, this can cause instability in form causing you to lose balance.