Even the fittest women get sensitive about the annoying bulge that peeks out of the sides of a bra, through the sleeve of a tank top, or over the neckline of a strapless dress. But if you want to feel more confident in any armpit-bearing outfit, perform the exercises below, designed and demonstrated by certified fitness trainer, health coach, and fitness model Elizabeth Bracero, to tighten up your chest and shoulders.
To see results, work up to four sets of 12 reps of each exercise, and tack a few of them onto your regular strength-training routine. Or, complete the entire routine in the order below a few times a week.
2. Upright Rows
How to do them: Grab a 6- to 15-pound weighted bar (or dumbbells of equivalent weight) with an overhand grip, hands shoulders-width apart. Stand with your feet shoulders-width apart. Exhale as you bend your elbows out to the sides to lift the weighted bar to shoulders-height. Next, inhale as you slowly lower the bar back to starting position to complete one rep.
3. Bar Front Raises
How to do them: Grab a 6- to 15-pound weighted bar with an overhand grip, hands shoulders-width apart. Stand with your feet shoulders-width apart. Keeping your arms as straight as possible (without locking the elbows), exhale as you lift the weighted bar until it’s higher than your shoulders. Next, inhale as you slowly lower the bar back to starting position to complete one rep.
4. Chest Flys
How to do them: Grab a 5- to 10-pound dumbbell in each hand, and lie on your back on a mat or bench. Hold the weights together above your chest with your palms facing each other and your arms nearly straight (elbows should be slightly bent). From this position, inhale as you slowly open the weights out to the sides with control. Exhale as you engage your chest to bring the weights back to starting position. That’s one rep.
5. Single-Arm Dumbbell Raises
How to do them: Grab a 5- to 10-pound dumbbell in each hand, and stand with your feet about shoulders-width apart. Keeping your knees slightly bent, hold the dumbbells in front of your thighs with the palms of your hand facing your thighs. Keeping your arms straight with a slight bend in the elbow, exhale as you raise the left dumbbell straight out front of you until it’s just above shoulders-height. Inhale and slowly lower the left arm back to starting position, then repeat on the opposite side to complete one rep. Continue alternating.
6. Overhead Pullovers