Nothing is more frustrating than suiting up to go to the gym and then walking past a mirror and seeing pudgy conglomerates of arm and back fat poking out of your sports bra. Well, don’t get discouraged! Bra bulge happens to everyone in varying degrees and doing these five exercises can help send them packing. So grab your dumbbells and follow along!
This exercise targets your upper back and shoulder muscles. To do it correctly, stand with your feet hip-width apart. Pull your weights up to chest level and keep your wrists lower than your elbows. Keep your shoulders relaxed and core tight. Make sure you’re able to lift the weights with just your arms and shoulders. If you start compensating with your hips and the rest of your body, drop down a set.
While working out your triceps might not intuitively seem like they’ll help with that pesky underarm and back fat, triceps help out the chest when you make pushing movements. Keep them trim with these kickback exercises. Simply place one foot in front of you and lean slightly and until your torso makes about a 45-degree angle to the floor. If you want to work both arms at the same time, keep your feet in line and bend your torso with your knees slightly bent. Bring your elbows up until your forearm(s) are about parallel to the floor. Your elbow should be at a 90-degree angle for your starting point and you’ll extend your arm out behind you until it’s fully extended. Bring it back slowly to the starting position and repeat.
Front and lateral raises
Make sure you’re standing straight and start with your dumbbells in front of your thighs. Start with your palms facing your body and with a slight bend at your elbows, lift your arm(s) straight in front of you until your arms are parallel to the floor. Then lower them back down to the starting position. Front raises can also be performed by starting with your hands on either side, keeping your thumbs at the top and your palms facing each other as you raise your arms in front of you.
Lateral raises are very similar. Stand up straight with your feet about shoulder-width apart and your arms hanging by your side with your palms facing each other. With a slight bend at the elbow, raise your arms out to your sides until they are parallel to the floor, and then bring them back down in slow and controlled movements.
Single-arm dumbbell rows
If you’re looking for a great exercise to target your upper back, this is the one for you. You will need a bench for this one, but if you don’t have one a flat, raised surface will work. You could even pull up a couple of chairs because this exercise targets one side at a time – just change sides so the backs of the chairs don’t block your range of motion. Place your starting knee and starting arm (same side as your knee for support) on the bench, as if you’re about to start crawling with that half of your body. Keep your back straight and parallel to the floor and use your opposite arm to hold the dumbbell. Making sure your palm is facing your torso, pull the weights up to your ribs using your back muscles. Keep your back and core nice and tight without hunching your shoulders. Bring it back down to the starting position and repeat.
Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Grab your dumbbell (a slightly larger one or two small bells) and lift it above your head until your arms are fully extended. Lower the dumbbells behind your head slowly and carefully until your elbows are at about 90-degrees. You should feel resistance as you extend your arms back up and repeat the process.
For all of these exercises, make sure to use slow and controlled movements, start off with lower weights and work your way up to avoid straining your muscles.