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 – that will 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.
Get into plank position with your palms on the floor, your wrists directly beneath your shoulders, and your fingers facing forward. Your feet should be hips-width apart, and your body should form a straight line between the top of your head and your heels.
Keeping your shoulders away from your ears, bend your elbows to lower your body in a straight line toward the ground until your forehead nearly touches the floor. Then press into your palms to extend your elbows and bring your body back to starting position.
2. Upright Rows
Grab a 6- to 15-pound kettlebell (or dumbbells of equivalent weight) with an overhand grip. 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. Front Raises
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
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 Push Press
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a 5- to 10-pound dumbbell at your shoulder with your palm facing forward, elbow down. Bend your knees slightly to load up, then extend them quickly and push through your heels and glutes, using that power and slight momentum to press the dumbbell straight up over your shoulder to a full extension. Lower it slowly back to the start and repeat right away. That’s one rep. Do all reps on one side before switching.
6. Overhead Pullovers
Lie faceup on a flat bench and grasp a dumbbell with both hands directly over your chest, arms perpendicular to the floor. Place your feet flat for stability and press your back into the bench. Slowly lower the weight in an arc over your head with straight arms. When your elbows come to ear level, reverse the move and return to the start. That’s one rep.