December 16, 2013
Want to sport stronger sexier arms in the New Year? I chatted with six-time fitness cover model and IFBB Figure Pro Felicia Romero to get the scoop on the upper-body sculpting exercises that she swears by for staying in shape, both on and off the stage. Here are three upper body exercises that Felicia swears by.
The move: TRX row (3 sets of 20 reps)
Why she loves it: “I love the TRX because it’s a functional training tool that uses your own bodyweight to challenge your entire body.”
Try it in your routine: Begin in a split stance (one foot placed in front of the other) holding the TRX handles in each hand as you face the anchor point—the place the TRX is connected to. Keeping your core engaged and your shoulder blades pulled down and back slightly lean backwards, shifting your bodyweight over your back leg while straightening your arms out at chest height. As you exhale slowly bend your elbows and pull your body toward your hands, keeping the elbows tight to the sides of the body as you do so. For a little variety, you can also explore performing a high-back row by raising the elbows to shoulder height and letting them flare out wide as you pull your body toward your hands for additional emphasis on the muscles of the upper back and the backsides of the shoulders.
The move: Barbell shoulder press (3 sets of 15 reps)
Why she loves it: “I swear by shoulder presses as they’re great for overall shoulder development.”
Try it in your routine: Begin standing in a split stance, grasping the barbell with your hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. With the palms facing forward, position the bar in front of your chest in line with your collarbone. Keeping your elbows bent and close to the sides of your body and your core engaged, exhale and slowly press the barbell overhead, extending your arms as you maintain spinal alignment. Inhale and slowly lower the bar back down, bending your elbows as you lower the bar back to its starting position.
The move: Dumbbell front raise into lateral raise (3 sets of 20 reps)
Why she loves it: “Front raises and side raises using dumbbells are great for sculpting and are a staple in my training.”
Try it in your routine: Begin standing in a split stance with one dumbbell in each hand placed in front of the thighs with palms facing toward you. Keeping your core engaged to avoid arching the back you exhale and slowly raise the dumbbells up in front of your body. Just before your arms near shoulder level, turn your thumbs slightly upward, as this slight external rotation may help to reduce potential impingement in the shoulder joint. Continue to raise the dumbbells until your arms are level with your shoulders and parallel to the floor. As you inhale, slowly lower the dumbbells back down to your starting position with your palms facing the thighs. From this position, allow the dumbbells to move to your sides with the arms extended and the palms facing your body to prepare for lateral raises. As you exhale, raise the dumbbells up and out to your sides. As you raise the arms near shoulder height, turn your thumbs slightly upward to once again help reduce the risk of impingement in the shoulder joint. Continue raising the dumbbells until your arms are level with your shoulders and as you inhale lower back down to your starting position before repeating the sequence.
Looking for more exercise ideas? Check out three TRX exercises you can do to strengthen your upper body while also strengthening your core and torching calories!
Jessica Matthews, MS, E-RYTContributor
Jessica Matthews, M.S., E-RYT is assistant professor of exercise science at Miramar College. As a leading fitness expert, writer and educator Jessica is a regular contributor to numerous publications, including Shape and Oprah.com. She holds a B.S. in physical education teacher education from Coastal Carolina University and M.S. in physical education from Canisius College. She is a certified Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor and Health Coach through the American Council on Exercise (ACE) as well as an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT) through Yoga Alliance and trained stand-up paddleboard (SUP) yoga instructor. Prior to teaching at Miramar, Jessica worked full-time ACE, serving in a number of key roles including exercise physiologist, certification director and senior health and fitness editor. Her past work also includes serving as aquatics director at Conway Medical Wellness and Fitness Center and designing health and physical education curriculum for grades K-12. Full Bio Jessica Matthews »