Toning Your Upper Body*
(In this section, the term toning is used to denote strength training)
 
Two or three upper body workouts a week will help most women develop shapely shoulders, toned arms and more importantly, a stronger upper back and better posture. Increased upper body strength makes lifting heavy items, doing household chores, carrying heavy loads and gardening easier. Feeling stronger performing these everyday activities will also gives you a mental boost. Also see What is Toning and Toning Your Body.
To tone your arms and legs. Three times each week, perform:
    - two / three sets of the upper body exercises detailed below, plus
    - one or two sets of the lower body exercises.
 
1 Reverse Fly
Reverse Fly exercises will tone your upper back and lift your chest.
Fitness levels:-
    Moderate  - 18 reps
    High - 25 reps
This exercise will require a pair of 3 kg dumbbells.   Holding a dumbbells in each hand, stand straight with your arms down.  Next, steadily lean forward until you are at an angel of approximately 70 degrees. Raise your arms out sidewards and upwards, until they are just above your shoulders. Pause .. before returning to the starting position. 
 
2  Ball Pullover
Ball Pullover exercises will tone your upper back and the backs of your arms.
Fitness levels:-
    Moderate  - 15 reps
    High - 20 reps
 
This exercise will require a 5 kg ball. Lay on the floor, using both hands, ensuring that you keep them straight, hold the ball in the air. Lower the ball behind you, taking it as close to the floor as possible, without actually touching the floor. Pause.. and return to the ball to it's start position.
 
3. Shoulder Press
Shoulder Press exercises will tone and strengthen your shoulders.
Fitness levels:-
    Moderate  - 20 reps
    High - 30 reps
 
This exercise will require a pair of 3 kg dumbbells. To adopt the start position, sit comfortably on a chair/bench, ensuring that you back is properly supported and that your  legs are bent at a 90 degree angle. With a dumbbell in each hand and knuckles pointing upwards, raise your arms up to shoulder level, while maintaining a 90 degree angle at your elbow.  Now that you are in the start position, keep your body straight as you exhale and push the dumbbells upwards, taking care not to lock your arms once they are straight.  Pause.. inhale before bring your arms down and adopting the start position.
 
4. Rotating Ball Throw
Incline exercises will tone your chest and arms.
Fitness levels:-
    Moderate  - 15 reps
    High - 20 reps
 
This exercise will require a 5 kg ball. Stand sideways-on, approximately a metre from a wall. Hold a ball in the hand that is furthest away from the wall and stretch your weighted arm out as straight as possible. Turn your upper body until you are facing the wall, throw the ball and catch it when it rebounds back to you.  Take care to turn your whole upper body, prior to throwing the ball.
 
5. Incline Press-up
Incline exercises will lift your chest.
Fitness levels:-
Moderate - 15 reps
High - 25 reps

Stand in front of a chair or stability ball. Lean forward with your fingers pointing forwards and place your hands on the chair/ball. Straighten out your body, ensuring that our hands are directly beneath your shoulders and that your legs are extended behind you. From this starting point, steadily let your body down and bend your elbows to an angle of approximately 90 degrees. Take care to ensure that a) your head and spine are aligned, b) your stomach and thighs muscles are taunt and c) your bottom is not pointing into the air. Pause ... before returning to the start position.
 
6. Ball Chest Press
Incline exercises will tone your upper arms.
Fitness levels:-
Moderate - 20 reps
High - 30 reps

This exercise will require a 5 kg ball. Laying on your back raise the 5kg ball into the air, until your arms are straight. From this start position, bend your elbows and lower the ball to your chest before returning your arms to the start position.

 


* Always consult with a doctor or other healthcare professional before embarking on any exercise programme.