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Ready, Set, Sleeveless: 5 Exercises for a Toned Upper Body

Sculpt smoking hot arms and banish bra-strap bulge with these targeted shapers.

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Plank Arm Row and Rotate

What you'll need: a mat

Targets: Shoulders, upper back, chest, triceps, biceps, and abs

  • Start on floor in full push-up position, balancing on hands and toes, body forming a straight line from head to heels. Move feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Keeping hips level, lift left hand off floor and bend left elbow behind you to bring hand next to shoulder.
  • Return to start.
  • Repeat, this time rotating torso to right so that left elbow points up (as shown). Return to start to complete 1 rep.
  • Do 2 sets of 10 reps, alternating sides.

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Dip Kick

Targets: Shoulders, upper back, and triceps

  • Sit on floor with knees bent, feet flat. Lean torso back 45 degrees and place palms on floor under shoulders, fingers facing out. Bring left knee to chest and place left foot atop right knee.
  • Bend elbows directly behind you and lift hips a few inches.

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Pilates Press

Targets: Shoulders, back, chest, triceps, biceps, and abs

  • Start in full push-up position, balancing on hands and toes. MAKE IT EASIER: Keep both knees on floor.
  • Bend right knee 90 degrees so that toes point up.
  • Bend elbows directly behind you, keeping arms close to body, and lowering only a few inches toward floor. Press back up.
  • Do 8 to 10 reps. Switch legs and repeat to complete 1 set.
  • Do 2 sets.

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Strap-Happy Shaper

Targets: Shoulders, upper and middle back, and abs

  • Start on floor in plank position, balancing on forearms and toes, elbows directly under shoulders. Clasp hands together.
  • Press through toes to move body forward, bending elbows until face is almost touching floor. MAKE IT EASIER: Move only 1 inch forward.
  • Press backward with shoulders (not from hips) to return to start position.
  • Do 2 sets of 8 to 10 reps.

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Down Dog to Up Dog

Targets: Shoulders, back, chest, abs, and butt

  • Start in full push-up position, balancing on hands and toes. Lift left foot a few inches off floor.
  • Press hips up and back so that body forms an inverted V, lifting left leg behind you toward ceiling.

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What do you think? Review this slideshow!

klooks2013 wrote:

This is a great article I also found very useful tips when I bought the full bodylicious workouts videos at

5/22/2014 01:52:00 PM Report Abuse
pilatesprincess wrote:

Advanced Pilates ex. I have probs w my wrists-need to be doing Pilates 3x/wk 2 build up 2 type of ex. If not doing core work or +wt - tuf! Modify w forearm on floor fwd & knees staggered w low legs feet start on floor. Not worth wrists hurt! Joseph Pilates was a man-some moves easier 4 guys. Women w +wt low or up bod &/or older at disadvantage. Need proper form. That's why Pilates taught by pro instructors!!

7/2/2011 11:41:08 AM Report Abuse
wcusweetheart2009 wrote:

Instead of placing your hand on the ground like in the picture, you can always get a support like they have for the "perfect pushups", it helps you keep your wrist aligned better by allowing you to grab onto the bar and make a fist around it so your hand isn't flat on the floor.

5/26/2011 05:14:15 AM Report Abuse
tsunami12861 wrote:

Its not the easiest exercise to do at first but it just takes motivation to be able to do it with good form i have weak wrists and ankles i take a calcium supplement and use a wrist support to get them done

5/20/2011 04:58:07 AM Report Abuse
kaymrhodes wrote:

You can always do a modified version of this exercise and place the knee closest to the floor on the ground. It will make it a little less challenging, but in addition you can make a fist with your hand instead of having your palm touch the floor...this will relieve some of that pressure in your wrist.

5/4/2011 10:34:57 AM Report Abuse
donnahall123 wrote:

You can always use a hand weight that does not have round ends or use fist for wrists.

5/3/2011 03:09:07 PM Report Abuse
brino711 wrote:

I can't do these bc of my wrists either-- I've tried off and on for many years with no improvement. They usually end up hurting for an entire week after doing exercises like these.

5/3/2011 10:52:10 AM Report Abuse

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