Unlike men who all want to look like Batman, women are traditionally a little anxious about upper body training through the misguided fear of bulking up. However, if you speak to any personal trainer who has discussed upper body with female clients, a whole host of female paranoia is unleashed: “I really want a flat tummy”, “I have a muffin top when I put on my skinny jeans”, “I have back fat but I want to wear a backless dress”, “what can I do about these bingo wings”, “I still look pregnant”, “my shoulders are really hunched”. Let’s collectively call these “female upper body issues”.
Our upper body workout guide has been carefully crafted by Jonny and I to address all such female upper body issues. More importantly in our opinion, we want you to understand the importance of upper body training from a deeper structural health perspective. The “right” aesthetics follows from that. Correct upper body training will allow you proper shoulder mobility, for example, which will protect the shoulder joints. This will give you a better posture, preventing hunching and back rounding (aesthetics) but more importantly will stop you getting stress related neck and back problems and tension headaches.
Keeping your core strong and flexible is the easiest way to protect yourself from injuries that may occur from everyday activities (bending, reaching, twisting etc.) By activating the muscles that protect the spine, you are effectively stabilising your entire body. The core muscles (traverse abdominis or TVA, erector spinae, obliques and lower lats) also act together like an internal corset. So aesthetically, core training will work to cinch the waste and this will even have an effect on how your booty looks!
Not sure about you, but I regularly carry my life around in an oversized handbag, carry my children up and down stairs on one side and when travelling long haul with the three of them, my hand luggage requirements should probably be outlawed by Health & Safety. Us women are the worst for carrying heavy loads. I WILL carry 57 supermarket shopping bags from the car rather than go back for a separate journey. Sound familiar?! All of this leads to one thing: if you don’t train your upper body correctly so that you are structurally sound, the constant heavy and uneven loads, combined with the fact that most of us sit at desks for long periods of time will cause you to suffer from chronic or acute neck, shoulder, upper back or lower back niggles and pain if not now then later. Fact. Throw a few pregnancies on your body and all this will be magnified. The other thing about having children is that it causes women to constantly subjugate their own needs (that is the definition of motherhood in many ways!). I don’t even notice if I have a sore back or neck. If a mini human falls over or falls asleep, I need to carry it whatever else I may be carrying at the time, and irrespective of distance or gradient.
Jonny has two sisters, is close to his mother and as a veteran of the fitness world, has trained more women than arguably anyone. He knows our bodies, how we treat them, how we abuse them and what makes us anxious about them. All of this experience combined with the knowledge from his fitness qualifications has gone into this guide. Mastering this will help your body in both the structural and aesthetic ways we care about. The exercises are designed to activate not only the outer abdominal muscles (six pack) but also the little ones inside that support the spine and cinch the waist. Doing these exercises properly will help you achieve your upper body aesthetic goals: a tight toned tummy, a toned strapless-dress-friendly back, shoulders, arms and chest, and also you’ll get a natural boob lift from activating the muscles underneath them properly. You’ll also give your body the deeper bio-mechanical structure that will help protect it from injury. Your back fat, boob fat, bingo wings and muffin top will hopefully disappear. Your abs, boobs and waist will hopefully come say hi. Most importantly, your life won’t be thrown off course by preventable spine, neck and back injuries. We hope you will join us!
One crucial tip on technique: SLOW DOWN. The key to abdominal exercises for example, is doing them slowly. The muscles you want to engage are hard to engage. If you rush, you won’t activate them at all. You want to keep them working as long as possible: time under tension is EVERYTHING. Tempo tempo tempo. Later in the year we will be sharing tips on how to advance these exercises simply by altering your breathing patterns! Any other questions: feel free to email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Jonny, Melissa or I will get back to you as soon as possible. Have fun! You only need 30 minutes… off you go…Master these workouts and you’ll be able to do them in front of Netflix, while overseeing homework or while the roast is in the oven. Yup. That’s what I do. Working mamas be multitaskers.
|Shoulder blade press up||1||10||Advance to lifting one leg off the floor|
|Seated Towel pull and hold with rotation||1||30’s||Advance to lifting both feet off the floor|
|Press up plank with shoulder touches||1||30’s||Leg elevated back foot flat|
|Shoulder push up||1||10||Advance to increase pike position|
|Press ups||3||10||Use resistance band to add porgressice weight|
|Towel Rows||3||20||Upgrade to resistance band rows or TRX|
|Classic tempo crunches||3||10||Upgrade to doing on an incline or with weight|
|Close grip press ups||3||10||Upgrade to parralettes or yoga blocks|
|Kneeling dumbell shoulder press||3||10||Increase weight|
|Single arm Slider press up-planks||3||20 (10 per arm)||Increase ramge of motion|
|Tricep dips with hip raise||3||10||Elevate feet to increase depth of dip|
|Resistance band lateral pull down||3||10||increase size of resistance band|
|V-hold with water bottle twist||3||30’s||upgrade to heavier weight|