Pilates guru Andrea Speir brings you super effective exercises to target and tone that impossible 'bra bulge' once and for all
There's nothing more frustrating than that putting on your workout top or a tight dress only to notice that amorphous bra fat poking out. So (because we really needed to know for ourselves!) we tapped Pilates instructor Andrea Speir of Speir Pilates for the absolute best exercises to hone in on that perplexing armpit and back area, which seems impossible to tone no matter how many arm exercises we try. (And for a killer total-body routine, try this Reinvented, Use-Every-Muscle Pilates Workout.)
Speir trains celebs and brides with these moves so they can rock their strapless dresses on the red carpet or down the aisle with a lean and defined upper body–no shawl necessary. These exercises will tone and lengthen the back muscles specifically where your bra strap rests, and target and strengthen the muscles in and around the armpit zone to get rid of any unwanted jiggle. Bonus: You'll work your arms and abs in the process! (Then, watch our barre-meets-Pilates inspired workout videos for tips on how to get amazing abs and a sculpted, lifted butt!)
How it works: Incorporate into your workout routine 3-5 times per week to see amazing results.
Total Time: up to 30 minutes
1. Tripod Twister
Begin in a plank position holding 3-5 lb weights with feet and arms hip-distance apart.
Turn one fist to face toward the other arm. Twist body into a side plank, using one arm for support and extending the other arm up toward sky. Hold this position for a few breaths, lifting bottom ribs and squeezing abs.
Lower and lift hips. Come back to center plank. That's one rep. Repeat on the other side.
3 per side
2. Big Reveal Plank
Begin in a side plank with one forearm on mat and the other hand behind head.
Lift hips up a few inches toward sky, opening chest and engaging core. Twist upper body down toward bottom armpit, keeping hips as squared-off and front-facing as possible. Open back up to side plank. That's one rep.
15 per side
3. Pulling Weights
Lie on stomach, holding weights with arms extended straight out to the sides. Imagine punching and elongating arms out to sides to get maximum length and engagement.
Engage abdominals then reach arms back toward legs, lifting head and chest. Extend arms out again while lowering body back down.
Lie on stomach with hands flat on mat directly below armpits.
Engage abdominals to support lower back; keeping elbows wide, lift body up a few inches using with your core and upper back muscles. Lower back down. That's one rep.
Lie on stomach, arms and legs outstretched. Quickly start fluttering arms and legs up and down while taking deep, full breaths. Make sure to keep abs engaged to support lower back. Focus on length, reaching fingers and toes out long.
APRAP for 30 seconds
6. Serratus Push-Ups
Begin in a forearm plank, fists shoulder-distance apart, and actively engage shoulders and back.
Sink chest down a few inches toward mat. Press chest back up toward sky. That's one rep.
7. Snake and Twist
Start standing in one corner of mat, one foot bent slightly in front, arms reaching up toward sky.
Curl down and place hands on mat, then walk out to plank, keeping abs in and chest up, gazing toward sky.
Round back up, walking hands in toward feet.
Roll back up to stand. That's one rep.
5 per side
8. Dancing Tricep Dips
Sit with knees bent and feet flat. Place hands behind body in line with shoulders and lift hips up, extending one leg to sky.
Slowly lower leg toward mat.
Kick leg back toward sky while bending elbows, drawing shoulder blades back and together. That's one rep.
20 per side
9. Classic Pilates Push-ups
Stand at one end of the mat, arms reaching up toward sky.
Round down to place hands on mat mat. Walk hands out to a plank position, lifting one leg so it hovers slightly above the ground.
Bend elbows and lower down while extending leg up toward sky. Lower leg back until parallel with the floor, then walk hands back in toward feet and return to stand. That's one rep.
8 per leg