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Strength Exercises for Women: Upper Body
Details on important strength exercises for women. Also mentions the importance of strength workouts.
First, the traditional bicep curl is a great way to develop sleeker arms that look great in sleeveless tops. Begin standing with your feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, and pelvis tucked under (i.e. don't arch your back.) Grip weights (anything from soup cans to dumbbells can work here) lightly in your hands with your arms extended along the sides of your body, palms facing forward. Next, you will bend your arms at the elbow, "curling" the weights toward your chest. Be sure to keep your abdominals and lower back engaged (squeeze your "core" section while you lift) keep your elbows pinned to your waist, and really concentrate on squeezing your biceps as you lift. Once at the top, reverse the motion, lowering the weights back to the starting position. Work on your breathing so that you inhale as you lower and exhale as you lift. The number of repetitions will depend on the weight you've chosen. Ideally, you should do ~12 reps per set and do ~3 sets. If it becomes too easy, increase your weight.
To go along with the bicep curl (which works the front of your arms) is the tricep dip, which works the back of your arms. It is always important to work muscles in opposition. For the tricep dip, your body weight will provide the resistance. Sitting on the edge of a bench, chair, wall seat, etc. place your hands on either side of the seat directly next to you, fingers pointing forward over the edge of the seat. Next, extend your feet out in front of you and, keeping your knees bent, bring your body off the front edge of the seat. You should be supported by your feet (hip distance apart) on the ground and your hands (shoulder width apart) on the wall. Keeping your elbows pointing to the back (don't let them turn out to the sides) you will now "dip" by lowering your body straight toward the ground (inhaling) and press (concentrating on the backs of your arms) yourself back up to starting position. Keep your chest up, core tight, and breathe out on the press up. Again, the repetitions will depend on your weight and current strength levels. Adjust your reps as needed and remember that the more you do, the easier they will become.
Shoulder work is great for women and the last two strength exercises are great for sculpting sexy upper arms and shoulders. First, the upright row starts similarly to the bicep curl. However, instead of having the arms out to the sides with palms facing out, bring the arms straight down in front of your thighs with the palms facing toward you. Again, whatever weights you can find will work. The movement here is a lift of the hands in a straight vertical line up the front of the body. Your elbows will extend out to the sides and the movement ends when your hands reach shoulder height. The return is to bring the hands down that same vertical path downward to the thighs. Again, inhale during the exertion (the lift) and exhale during the release (the return to start.) Remember to keep your abdominals and lower back squeezed tight and keep your shoulders down and pulled back during the move (avoid hunching or shrugging your shoulders.)
The final upper body strength move is the front arm raise. Standing as you did for the upright row, the movement this time is to lift your arms directly in front of you, keeping them shoulder width apart until the line from your shoulders out to your hands in front of you (palms facing downward at the top of lift) is parallel with the floor. You should keep a slight bend in the elbow to avoid putting undue stress on the joint. Again, remember to keep your core strong and exhale during the lift and inhale on the lower. As with the other exercises, keep good posture and relaxed form, don't grip the weights too tightly, and adjust the repetitions and weight as needed.
Strength workouts for women are a very important fitness component. Aside from sculpting beautiful lean muscles, strength exercises are very important for helping to prevent bone loss and in the overall health of the female body