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How to tone (and show off) your shoulders all summer


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Photo: Julia Wu for Well+Good
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Not to knock crop tops (the ab-baring trend isn’t going anywhere), but off-the-shoulder tops and dresses are killing it this summer as the go-to style to flaunt strength in a way that’s more of a wink than an in-your-face statement. (And don’t even pretend you haven’t noticed that they happen to hide pit stains.)

To get the scoop on how to sculpt your shoulders, we consulted seven of the hottest trainers to share their favorite moves for targeting those specific spots. And each of them went above and beyond, by picking out a fave style for summer.

Scroll down to see their picks and get ready to show off those powerful and fabulous shoulders all summer long.

Get Started
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Photo: Julia Wu for Well+Good

Go-to shoulder move: Plank & Reach

1. Start in full plank with extended legs and elbows slightly bent toward the rib cage. Shoulders should be directly over wrists, with both palms and all 10 fingertips rooted into the ground.

2. Alternate single arm reaches directly forward—think pulling your shoulders away from ears and extending your fingers powerfully forward. Complete five on each arm and repeat three times.

3. For added core power, simultaneously lift opposite leg with arm.

Shop the shoulder-baring look:

Reformation Classon Bodysuit, $98

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Photo: Julia Wu for Well+Good

Go-to shoulder move: Draw A Sword

1. Stand with your feet the same width as your shoulders, knees bent and hands on your hips. Sweep your right hand toward your left knee as you look down. Sweep your right arm upward and to the right as if you were drawing a sword out of a hip belt, looking up toward your hand (keep your thumb pointing up).

2. Complete 12 reps, switch sides and repeat. This move can be done with a resistance band or weight.

Shop the shoulder-baring look:

Chloé Macramé Lace-Trimmed Camisole, $1,150

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Go-to shoulder move: Battle Ropes

Although there are plenty of battle rope variations you can do, try this option that will put the anterior and posterior deltoid —AKA shoulder muscle—to work!

1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Grasp the rope with palms facing down, lift arms over your shoulders, and move your arms in circles.

2. Perform clockwise circles for 30 seconds, then counter-clockwise for another 30 seconds.

Shop the shoulder-baring look:

Misa Castelle Maxi Dress, $251

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Photo: Julia Wu for Well+Good

Go-to shoulder move: Resistance Band Lateral Raises

Resistance bands provide continuous tension throughout an exercise, so the tension never leaves the muscle. This will tone and shape your shoulders, leaving you sore in all the right places.

1. Stand on the center of your resistance band and hold the ends in each hand.

2. Stand with feet shoulder width apart, retract your shoulders, and with a slight bend in your elbows, slowly raise your arms parallel to the floor while keeping your core engaged.

Shop the shoulder-baring look:

Zimmerman Crepe Link Jumpsuit, $495

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Photo: Julia Wu for Well+Good

Go-to shoulder move: Overhead Dumbbell Presses

1. While holding a dumbbell in each hand, rotate your wrists so that the palms of your hands are facing forward.

2. Exhale and push the dumbbells upward until they touch at the top. After a brief pause at the top, slowly lower the weights back down to the starting position while inhaling. Complete three sets of 10–12 reps.

Shop the shoulder-baring look:

Aqua Ruched Off-The-Shoulder Top, $68

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Photo: Julia Wu for Well+Good

Go-to shoulder move: Pike Push-ups

1. These are essentially push-ups in a downward dog position, so assume a push-up position on the floor. Your arms should be straight and your hands should be shoulder-width apart.

2. Lift up your hips so that your body forms an upside-down V. Your legs and arms should stay as straight as possible.

3. Bend your elbows and lower your upper body until the top of your head nearly touches the floor. Pause, and then push yourself back up until your arms are straight. Complete as many as you can in 30 seconds, pause and do another 30 seconds.

Shop the shoulder-baring look:

Alice + Olivia Jaymee Cropped Halter Top, $188

Shopping around for more summer styles? We found the coolest jewelry you can actually work out in. And if you love avocados, you’re going to flip out over all the clothes and shoes on this shopping list.