Fitness model and former STRONG cover athlete, Shannon Prasarn loves to change up her workouts between the weight room, functional training and plyo. But no matter how she varies up the work, she says the gym room floor is where her heart is. Below are some of her favorite exercises for sculpting the solid and shapely upper body that keeps her strong, and helps land her covers.
Sets: 4 Reps: 12
Set up: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart holding dumbbells at your sides, palms forward.
Action: Focus on using your delt muscles to raise the weights out to the sides in a slow, controlled motion. Continue raising the weights in an arc, bringing them overhead. Hold at the top of the movement, then slowly lower back down and repeat.
TIP: Use a lighter weight for these (3-5 lbs) and go slowly.
Sets: 4 Reps: 12
Set up: Stand holding dumbbells at your sides with palms facing forward.
Action: Contract your biceps and bend your elbows to raise the weights up towards your shoulders. From here, flip palms and rotate the dumbbells so your palms are facing out, then extend your arms and press them overhead. Slowly reverse the entire motion to return to the starting position and repeat.
Set up: Stand holding dumbbells at your sides with palms facing in.
Action: Contract your biceps and bend your elbows, raising the dumbbells straight up to shoulder level. Slowly lower back down and repeat.
TIP: If you want to lift a little heavier, alternate the left then right, instead of lifting them simultaneously.
Sets: 4 Reps: 12-15
Set up: Get into plank with your hands directly under your shoulders and core engaged, keeping your elbows close to your body.
Action: Lower your chest to the floor, keeping your upper arms parallel with your sides and elbows pointed straight back. Contract your triceps to extend your arms and press back up to the starting position, and repeat.
TIP: To make this move harder, lift one foot off the ground for a full set. Switch legs on the next set.
Sets: 4 Reps: 20
Set up: Lie on your back with knees bent and feet firmly on the ground. Grasp a dumbbell with both hands and hold it just above your chest, elbows at your sides.
Action: Contract your core and lift your head and upper shoulders off the ground, coming into a crunch. Hold at the top of the movement, then slowly lower back down and repeat.