No surprises here, I’m sure, but I’m getting married in the spring [YAY!] and my dress? It’s strapless. As a teenager, I was an avid swimmer, which is a phenomenal exercise for all over body toning. However, it also shaped my back and shoulders in a way where if I wear strapless anything, I sort of resemble a line backer. But my dream has always been to wear a strapless gown, and contrary to how I thought I would look, I actually look really great in that dress. But not great enough that I don’t need to do ANY F&F [focus and fix] on my upper back and shoulders.
Although this beauty and I have different body frames, the back of my dress is very similar to this one and a toned, strong and lean back and shoulders is imperative to pulling it off!
Below are some of my all time favorite shoulder and back workouts, as well as great toning exercises form your biceps and triceps. Do these for 30 days, along with a healthy eating plan, and you will be on your way to a strapless dress back!
Free Weight Workouts
You need two 8-12 pound dumbbells
Do 2-3 sets of 8-12 [repeat with arms]
- Lie facedown on an incline bench, holding a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length, palms facing forward (a).
- With your elbows slightly bent, take one second to raise the weights out to your sides (b).
- Pause for one second, then take two seconds to lower the weights.
- Grab a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Position the dumbbells around shoulder height, palms facing forward. Keeping your chest up, lower yourself into a squat, bending your knees until your thighs are parallel to the ground (A).
- As you stand up, push the dumbbells overhead, keeping them in front of your ears (B)
Arm and Shoulder Accentuator
- Stand with feet hip-width apart, a weight in each hand, arms down.
- Raise arms out to sides a few inches and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat this stop-and-hold pattern four more times, ending with arms at shoulder height (as shown).
- Slowly lower arms in four 10-second increments.
- Stand with feet hip-width apart, a dumbbell in each hand. Bend over with back flat until torso is parallel to floor.
- Extend arms behind you 45 degrees from sides (as shown), palms facing in. Keeping upper arms still, bend elbows 90 degrees, then straighten arms. Do 12 reps.
Side Raise Plank
- Holding a dumbbell in left hand, balance on right hand (positioned under right shoulder) and outside of right foot (stack feet). Align hips with torso. Start with left hand near right, palm facing in (as shown).
- Raise weight out in front of hips and toward ceiling, then lower.
- Sit on ball with a weight in left hand, elbow bent 90 degrees, palm facing out so weight is at shoulder, feet hip-width apart on ground.
- Roll forward into a tabletop position with upper back and elbows resting on ball, hips lifted.
- Drive right elbow into ball as you lift upper body off ball and punch left arm up (as shown). Return to tabletop for one rep
- Stand holding a 1- to 2-pound weight in each hand & bring fists in front of face, palms facing each other.
- Step left foot 6 inches forward and right foot 6 inches back and punch with left fist, then right. Start slowly, speeding up until you’re going as fast as you can.
- Repeat for 60 seconds and switch feet and repeat.
Gym Machine Workouts
Do 8-15 reps of each.
- Adjust levers at twelve o’clock and grip handle in right hand. Stand with right side to machine about 1 foot from base, feet wider than hip-width apart, left foot turned out, left arm at side.
- Push right hip toward machine as you reach left arm to floor with left knee bent (as shown). Straighten up for one rep.
- With levers at six o’clock, grab a handle with left hand and stand with back to machine, right foot staggered in front of left, left elbow bent at side, palm facing forward at shoulder level, right hand on hip.
- Lower into lunge, reaching left arm to ceiling (as shown).
Chin Up Bar
- (A) Grab the chinup bar with a shoulder-width, underhand grip and hang at arm’s length. This is the start position, known as a dead hang. Return to this position each time you lower your body.
- (B) Pull your body to the bar. Pause once the top of your chest touches the bar, then slowly lower your body back to a dead hang.
The Lat Pull Down
- Clip the long bar onto the cable attachment and grip the bar with your hands 1 or 2 inches from the center on either side, palms facing forward.
- Lean back slightly, keeping your arms straight, absengaged and chest lifted, then pull bar to chest.
- Hold for 1 count; slowly return to starting position.