As any trainer worth their Bala Bangles will tell you, the most important part of an exercise is your form. Proper form ensures that you are doing the movement effectively and safely. And when it comes to upper body exercises, there's one major thing Simone de la Rue, founder of Body By Simone, wants you to do. "Always think about really bracing down in engaging your core in any overhead press or any upper body workout," says de la Rue. This is important because engaging your core helps you have more power and stability.
De la Rue shares this tidbit during this week's episode of Well+Good's Trainer of the Month Club, which features an arms-and-back workout that can be scaled for all fitness levels. It consists of six movements, each done for 10 reps. She recommends that beginners do one round, and people at an intermediate or advanced level do two to three rounds. She uses five-pound weights in the workout, but says you can go heavier or lighter depending on your skill level.
Ready to put this tip into action? Watch the video and follow along with the movements below.
Upper body workout with Simone de la Rue
1. Overhead press
Start in a standing position with your feet about hip-width distance apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand. There should be a slight bend in your knees. Engage your core and lift your arms into a goalpost position. Press your arms overhead, then lower then back down to that same goalpost position.
2. Overhead press to chest squeeze
Perform an overhead press by starting from a goal post position and pushing your weights up overhead so that they're parallel to your body. Return to the goalpost position, bring your elbows in to "kiss" each other in front of your chest, then move them back out again.
3. Shoulder scaption
Start in a standing position with your feet about hip-width distance apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing each other. There should be a slight bend in your knees. Place your dumbbells onto your quads, engage your core, and lift your arms out into a "V" position. Don't go any higher than shoulder height. Bring your hands back down so that your weights are resting on your quads, making sure that you don't lean backward.
4. Reverse fly
Start with your feet together and a bend in your knees. Squeeze your knees together, then tilt forward at your waist. Bring your arms in front of your body. "Now imagine you're drawing some nice wings and you open up, you hold at the top of your range for a second, and you bring it down and squeeze," says de la Rue. "There should be no strain in the neck and shoulders that any time when you lift up and hold and down."
5. Bent-over row
Start with your feet together and a bend in your knees. Squeeze your knees together, then tilt forward at your waist. Bring your arms in front of your body and drive your elbows back behind you, keeping your arms close to your sides. Pause for a second at the top of the movement, then return your arms to the starting position.
6. Tricep extension
Start with your feet together and a bend in your knees. Squeeze your knees together, then tilt forward at your waist. Bring your arms in front of your body. Curl your arms up toward your chest, pause for a second, then straighten them as you extend them back behind you. Bring your arms back to the top of the movement.
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