Women all want to look great in a backless dress, have sculpted shoulders to die for, and guns for arms.  Here is a simple upper body workout for you to look stunning in a backless dress.

Strength training programs should be performed at least three (3) times per week.  If you are a beginner, start with 7 or 8-pound weights (accommodate for machine routines) for the large muscles/compound exercises and 5-pound dumbbells or Kettlebells for the small muscle isolations.  Aim for three (3) sets of ten-fifteen (10-15) repetitions.

Always complete the full range of motion so that you start and finish each repetition in the same position.  To enhance your stunning backless dress look, focus on a diet low in sugar, eat a variety of fresh vegetables, complex carbohydrates, healthy oils, and drink plenty of water.

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WARM UP:  PREPARE

Before you begin any exercise routine, make sure to WARM UP.  Spend a few minutes just moving your arms and legs around in circles, take a few deep breaths or get on a treadmill, elliptical machine, or stationary bike and get all your body parts moving.  Warming up prepares our bodies for a workout by increasing circulation, slightly elevating the heart rate, and starts pumping up those feel good hormones.  AND REMEMBER TO BREATHE OUT ON EFFORT – USUALLY THE FIRST PART OF THE MOVEMENT.

STEP 1:  LARGE MUSCLE GROUPS/CHEST/CORE/BACK/GLUTEALS

The first step is to work your LARGE MUSCLES THROUGH COMPOUND EXERCISES.  Compound Exercises work several muscles or muscle groups at the same time and are multi-joint movements.

SQUATS:

One of the best functional whole body exercises for balance and calorie burning, but proper form is essential.  Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, knees stay centered over feet, keep your back in a neutral position and then lower your bottom toward the floor by bending your knees and hips.  DO NOT GO PAST A 90-DEGREE BEND AT THE KNEE JOINT.  Works the core, gluteal and thigh muscles and balance.

ABDOMINALS: A strong core is vital to overall health and fitness.  There is a variety of abdominal exercises that can be performed on the floor, stability ball, and even against a wall.  Some of the most popular include the bicycle, planks, crunches, reverse crunches, vertical leg lifts, and abdominal machines.  Choose your favorite, but remember to support your neck and back.

upper body workout for women

BACK

Tthe back muscles are part of the core and like the abdominals, keeping them strong is crucial to overall health and wellness.  Back exercises include the upper and lower portions.

BACK EXTENSIONS/ON A STABILITY BALL:

Lying PRONE (stomach) on a ball with your body positioned so the ball is close to your hips, hands behind your head (do not pull on your neck), lift your upper body up from the hips, exhaling on the way up.  For beginners, start close to a wall with as much of your feet up against the wall as possible.  Works the back and gluteal muscles.

BACK EXTENSIONS/FLOOR RAISES/EXTENSIONS (sometimes called the Superman):

Lying on your stomach with legs straight out hip width apart, follow the Y-I-T LETTER POSITIONS with your arms and do one set in each letter position lifting your arms and legs up behind you at the same time.  Works the back and gluteal muscles.

SINGLE ARM DUMBBELL ROWS:

Standing with LEGS HIP WIDTH APART but staggered 2 or 3 feet apart, extend one arm straight down perpendicular to the floor and pull up similar to staring a lawnmower.  This exercise can be done with one knee on a bench or stationary surface while the free arm supports the body.  Start with a single dumbbell or Kettlebell.  Works the upper back and shoulder girdle muscles and balance.

KETTLEBELL ROW/ALTERNATING ARMS:

Start with two Kettlebells, stand with FEET SHOULDER WIDTH APART with a SLIGHT KNEE FLEXION, bend forward from the hips, arms are straight down toward the floor holding the Kettle Balls just below the knees.  Lift one at a time, keeping your arms as close to your side as possible, pull the weight up near to your waist.  Works the upper back and shoulder girdle muscles and balance.

BENCH PRESS:

Using a dumbbell in each hand, lie on your back on an incline bench, arms out at your sides, bent at the elbows, raise your arms at the same time upward toward the ceiling, and DO NOT LOCK YOUR ELBOWS at the top of each lift.  Works the chest muscles and the front of the shoulders.

STEP 2: MACHINES

Most gyms have abdominal, back extension, chest press and rowing machines available, and use them once your large muscle free weight portion from STEP 1 is complete.

STEP 3:  BICEPS, TRICEPS, AND SHOULDERS

The third step ISOLATES SMALLER MUSCLES through exercises that work one muscle or muscle group at a time and only one joint.  Work your biceps, triceps and shoulder for that stunning backless dress look.  Complete one set choosing from one of the four choices for each muscle group or mix it up, but aim for three sets.

BICEPS:  two dumbbells or Kettlebells, sitting or standing

1. SINGLE ARM CONCENTRATION CURL: sit on a bench or stability ball with your working arm resting on the inside of your thigh, lift the weight and keep your arm against your leg – THINK OF THE ‘THINKER’

2. ALTERNATING HAMMER CURLS: sit or stand with arms down at your side, weight in each hand and lift one arm at a time with the weight lifting toward your shoulder like a hammer bending arms from the elbow

3. ALTERNATING HAMMER/CROSS BODY/CURLS WITH A TWIST:  same as #2 but add a little inward rotation/twist halfway through the upward movement

4. BICEP CURL/DOUBLE ARM:  Standing with a weight in both hands positioned in front of your thigh, lift both at the same time.  DO NOT SWING YOUR BODY/SWAY YOUR BACK OR THE WEIGHT IS TOO HEAVY

TRICEPS:

two dumbbells or Kettlebells, standing with feet hip width apart staggered two or three feet OR with one knee on a bench or stationary surface.  Nos. 1, 2, and 3 are single arm.

1. KICKBACKS FROM ELBOW:  with arm up fixed against your side, elbow bent at 90 degrees, extend your arm up and back lifting the weight to a position PARALLEL TO THE FLOOR.

2. KICKBACKS WITH A STRAIGHT ARM:  same position as No. 1, but keep your arm straight down and lift the weight up from the shoulder without going past your body.

3. KICKBACKS WITH A TWIST:  same as No. 2 but add a rotation/twist turning the weight outward parallel to the floor partway through the movement

4. SKULL CRUSHERS:  lie down on ball or a flat or inclined surface with two dumbbells, arms straight up positioned like at the end of a chest/bench press.  Bend your elbows at the same time so the hands come down just slightly above the top of your head or drop both arms at the same time toward your side, keeping them close to your body and bent throughout the movement.  DO NOT USE HEAVY WEIGHTS for this exercise and aim for higher repetitions, and do not take the name literally – DON’T HIT YOUR HEAD

SHOULDERS:

Always err on the side of caution with your shoulders since they are injury prone.

1. SHOULDER PRESS/PALMS TURNED IN:  Using a dumbbell in each hand, you can sit or stand for this exercise, but the key is having your PALMS FACING IN, arms bent down at your side, and lift one at a time straight up but do not lock out the elbows at the top of each movement.

2. FRONTAL RAISES:  Standing with one dumbbell in each hand positioned in front of your thighs, ELBOWS SOFT, raise weights together or one at a time ending so that arms is parallel to the floor.

3. LATERAL SHOULDER RAISES:  Either sitting or standing with back straight and one dumbbell in each hand, ELBOWS SLIGHTLY BENT, lift both arms up until they are parallel to the floor.

4. REVERSE FLIES:  Can be performed sitting on an incline bench with both stomach and chest up against the bench or standing with feet hip width apart, knees slightly bent, and bend forward from the hips.  Extend both arms down to the floor and with soft elbows; raise your arms upward like wings while you SQUEEZE YOUR SHOULDER BLADES TOGETHER.

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