No matter what size you are, you may have some fat between your back and arms that spills over your bra—also known as “bra bulge.” Some of that’s due to genetics, but an unbalanced workout routine can play a role as well. Many women neglect their arms, chest, and back due to a misguided fear of getting bulky. And while you may not love your bra bulge, a weak upper body can also wreck your posture and bring on back pain.
Barry’s Bootcamp instructor and celeb personal trainer Astrid Swan wants you to get over your fear of upper body workouts, so she created this exclusive routine for Health. This seven-move sequence revs your heart rate to torch calories and melt away fat from your whole body (including your back). Plus, these sculpting exercises will perk up your posture, which may minimize the appearance bra bulge. Use a pair of heavy dumbbells; Swan suggests 12 lb. or higher, depending on your strength level.
Pushups to superman
Lower all the way to the floor slowly as you do a pushup. Lay flat and extend arms forward to a superman position, lifting chest and thighs off the floor. Pull elbows down to goal-post position and lower your body down to press back up into the top of the pushup. Do 10 repetitions.
Plank renegade rows
Start in plank position, using the dumbbells as handles. Keep feet slightly wider than hip width, be sure to keep hips parallel to the floor and abs engaged. Alternate renegade rows, 10 repetitions per side, for 20 total reps.
Start with dumbbells on shoulders, feet hip-width apart with feet slightly turned out. Lower down into a squat position, keeping chest tall and abs engaged. Power from the core and glutes to press the weights above head in a press. Be sure to avoid locking out your knees as you press the weights up to the top. Do 10 reps.
Combination of first three exercises
Combine all three moves minus the superman. Using the dumbbells as handles, do one pushup, at the top of the pushup complete renegade rows on the right side then left side. Next, jump your feet forward sand land in the bottom of your squat. Be sure to keep your core engaged as you thrust the weights above your head. Do 10 repetitions.
Using one dumbbell, bend knees slightly to hoist up the weight and snatch it to the top. Be sure to keep hips tucked and keep a small bend in the knees as you extend the arm. Return to starting position and pass the weight to the other side. Do 10 reps per side.
Depending on your strength, you can continue using both weights or drop down to one. Do a triceps extension slowly; think three counts to lower and one count to press up. Keep your elbows tight, framing your face. Do 10 reps, slowly and with intention.
Hold one dumbbell on each end. Start with the dumbbell right under your chin, and pass it around your head clockwise for 10 reps, then counterclockwise for another 10 reps. Be sure to keep your elbows tight, framing your face, and bring the weight around your head (like a “halo”) with elbows bent.