Whether or not you’re hitting the gym lately, it’s always helpful to have a simple workout routine that you can get done in just a few minutes a day. I mean, who really has extra time to spend on some arduous exercise program? Luckily, you don’t have to.
When it comes to toning up areas like the chest, arms, and shoulders, you don’t need to spend an hour getting the job done. Improving your posture and firming up those hard-to-reach muscles in the upper body can be done with just five simple moves and a few minutes a day.
We recently worked with fitness expert Denise Austin to bring you a few of her favorite health and fitness tips in our print magazine, Denise Austin Fit Over 50 (Buy on Amazon, $12.99). She has also shared a toning fitness routine for your glutes and legs, and one for your core and back! Now, we bring you her favorite moves for tightening those bat wings, strengthening your shoulders, and perking up those chest muscles. The best part? There’s no equipment necessary. Check out the moves below, as well as this video tutorial from Austin herself!
Arm circles might look like they’re easy, but this exercise is sure to make you feel the burn! This super simple move doesn’t require a huge range of motion, but they get the job done. Arm circles target all the muscles in the arms like the biceps and triceps, as well as those muscles in the shoulders in one exercise, so you’ll see results fast! To perform arm circles, follow the instructions below.
- Standing with your feet hip-width apart, extend your arms straight out to the sides so your hands are level with your shoulders.
- Do your best to keep your posture upright for the entire exercise by slightly contracting your abdominal muscles.
- Make two thumbs up with your hands, and begin drawing small circles forward.
- Continue this motion for 30 seconds, then reverse your circles, moving the arms backwards for another 30 seconds.
The chest firmer, just like it sounds, is meant to work and tighten the muscles in the chest like your pectoral muscles. With this move, you’ll be able to improve your posture and say goodbye to underarm sagging in no time. To perform the chest firmer, follow the instructions below.
- Standing up tall, take your arms out to sides and bend your elbows to a 90 degree angle, so you’re making a cactus shape with your arms.
- Make a fist with your hands and draw your fists together in front of you, keeping the elbows bent.
- Return to your starting position, and perform this motion 20 times.
Tricep dips work the tricep muscles which are located on the backs of the upper arms. You know those so called “bat wings” you hear so much about once you pass a certain age? This is for those. This simple move will tone up those jiggly arms so you can wear your short sleeves with confidence once again. To perform tricep dips, follow the instructions below.
- Sit down on the ground with your knees bent, feet on the ground in front of you.
- Holding your upper body up with your arms (fingertips should be facing your feet and your wrists, elbows, and shoulders should be lined up), press into your hands and lift your hips up slightly off of the ground.
- Bend your elbows slightly to come down (like you’re doing a reverse push-up), keeping the hips off the ground. Press into your hands to press back up. Perform 20 reps.
Plank With a Row
Whether or not you’re familiar with the ever-popular plank, this variation is great for specifically targeting those chest, arm, and shoulder muscles. Planks target almost all of the muscles in your body, but adding a rowing movement helps to firm up the entire upper body. If you can’t hold yourself up in a regular plank, feel free to do this move on your knees first. To perform a plank with a row, follow the instructions below.
- Start on your hands and knees with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and your hips stacked over your knees, keeping your core engaged so the belly isn’t hanging down.
- Press into your toes and lift your knees off of the ground (or stay down on your knees if that’s easier for you).
- Make a fist with your right hand (as though you’re holding a dumbbell), and bend your elbow to lift it up and back, keeping the elbow close to your body, then place your hand back down. Don’t let the hips move too much during this exercise.
- Perform this motion on the other side. Do 20 on each side.
Bent Knee Push-Ups
If you’re not a fan of the traditional push-up, this variation is for you. Traditional push-ups can be a little intense, but these, which are performed on your knees, will give you all the same benefits for your back, chest, and arm muscles. After doing them for a little while, you might even feel daring enough to try doing regular push-ups! To perform a bent-knee push up, follow the instructions below.
- Begin on your hands and knees, keeping your shoulders over your wrists and taking your knees slightly back behind you so that your core is engaged and your back is straight.
- Bend your knees so your feet come up.
- Keeping the elbows close to your sides (don’t let them splay outward!) bend your elbows and lower half-way down, keeping the spine straight. Press back up.
- Move through as many of these as you can, working your way up to 20 reps.
You can do this circuit three to five times to complete your entire no-equipment upper body workout. With these five simple moves, 15 minutes a day, and a little bit of persistence, you’ll stand up taller, stronger, and prouder in no time.