Targeting your chest, arms and back is easy with exercises that require these muscle groups to activate simultaneously. Women do not produce large enough levels of testosterone to build bulky muscles, but these exercises do tone and strengthen. Before starting these workouts, warm up the muscles with a five to 10 minute walk or light jog. Always consult with your doctor before starting an exercise program.
Upper Body Sculpting with Bent-Over Rows
The barbell bent-over row is an exercise that targets the muscles of the arms, back and chest, as well as the shoulders. Start this exercise by using an unloaded barbell until you're comfortable with the technique, and then you can start adding your desired weight load based on your fitness level. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and a barbell positioned over the ball of your feet. Squat down to pick up the bar with an overhand grip, keeping your hands shoulder-width apart. Raise your body upward, but keep a slight bend at your knees and hips so your abdominals are positioned over the bar. Position the bar about four inches in front of your thighs. Contract your abdominal muscles as you bend your elbows and raise the bar so it touches your abdominals. Hold the position for one second and then slowly return the bar to the front of your thigh. Repeat for three sets of eight repetitions.
Push and Press for a Strong Upper Body
The barbell push press is another exercise that tones and strengthens the muscles of your chest, arms and back. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your abdominals contracted to stabilize your spine. Keeping your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, hold an unloaded barbell with an overhand grip with the bar directly across the upper portion of your chest. Extend your elbows upward so your arms are extended and the barbell is above your head. Slowly bend your elbows to return the bar to the starting position. Perform three sets of eight repetitions.
Tone with Front Raises
Front raises target your upper arms, chest and back, as well as your shoulders. To perform front raises, stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and your abdominal muscles contracted to stabilize your spine. Hold one dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip and extend your arms downward so the dumbbells are touching the front of your thighs. With your elbows slightly bent, raise the dumbbells forward and upward until your arms are raised higher than your head at a 45 degree angle with your shoulders. Slowly lower your arms down and forward to their starting position and perform three sets of eight repetitions.
The Classic Pushup for Strengthening
The classic pushup strengthens and adds shape to your arms, chest and entire core. To start, lie flat on your stomach with your legs extended behind you and your palms positioned under your shoulders. Curl your toes under and press your palms into the floor as you extend your arms upward to raise your body. Contract your abdominals so your spine remains aligned with your legs during the entire exercise. Once your arms are fully extended, hold the position for one second and then slowly bend your elbows to lower your chest until it's two inches from the floor. Perform three sets of eight repetitions.