Say hello to gorgeous shoulders and a defined upper back with these moves, based on the exercises group-fitness instructor Randy B. Washington teaches in his Top It Off class at Crunch Miami. The trick to this übereffective routine: repetitions done at a fat-burning pace with few or no breaks in between. Do this 12-minute routine 3 times a week for 3 weeks and you’ll be ready for that strapless holiday dress.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, a 5- to 8-pound dumbbell in each hand, arms down by your sides with palms facing forward. Bring your arms forward and up to shoulder height so the backs of your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Pause, then in one smooth movement raise your arms overhead and tap the ends of the weights together. Slowly return arms to shoulder height, pause, then lower to starting position. Do 3 sets of 6–8 reps.
Trainer tip: Keep the rest of your body still when lifting your arms.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Holding a 5- to 8-pound dumbbell in each hand, bend forward so upper body is parallel to the floor and hands and weights are extended toward the floor. Keeping weights parallel to one another, slowly begin to circle them over to the left, up and in toward your chest, over to the right, and down. Repeat the circle to the right; that’s 1 rep. Do 3 sets of 10–12 reps.
Trainer tip: Keep your abs engaged to hold yourself steady throughout the circles.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a 5- to 8-pound weight in each hand. Bend your knees slightly and tip your torso forward to a 45-degree angle. Cross your arms at the wrists in front of your knees, then lift arms to shoulder height, with the weights out to the sides. Slowly lower your arms to the starting position, crossing weights in the opposite direction. Do 3 sets of 10–12 reps.
Trainer tip: To avoid using momentum to move weights, go slowly on the way up and down.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a 5- to 8-pound weight in each hand. Raise your arms out to the sides to shoulder height. Then turn palms so they face upward, bend elbows to 90-degree angles, and draw your arms together in front of your chest so that both of your elbows “kiss” and the sides of your forearms touch. Slowly extend your arms back out to the sides, then lower to return to starting position. Do 3 sets of 10–12 reps.
Trainer tip: Don’t let your shoulders lift along with your arms. Instead, think about your shoulder blades sliding down your back.