Toning the Upper Body

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 13,496
    Fitness Expert Jonathan Reff discusses toning the upper body.

    Jonathan Reff

    Jonathan Reff is personal training director at Somafit, an upscale fitness studio and spa, as well as owner of Jonathan Reff Personal Training. Through Jonathan Reff Personal Training, Jonathan brings personal training and gym design to your home.

    Jonathan has been personal training in New York and the Washington D.C. area for over ten years. Jonathan holds certificatons from N.A.S.M. (National Academy of Sports Medicine) as well as A.C.E. (American Council on Exercise). In addition, Jonathan holds a second degree black belt in Olympic Taekwondo, a martial art in which he was nationally ranked at one point. Jonathan has worked with elite level to novice in both fitness and Olympic Taekwondo.

    Jonathan believes a healthy lifestlye is achieved through a healthy and happy mind and body.

    Please enjoy this video and feel free to contact Jonathan with any questions.

    Jonathan: Hi, Jonathan again and we are here at SomaFit learning about how to lose weight through exercise and diet. We have done cardiovascular, lower body and abdominals and we are moving onto upper body. Now, again before I get started on upper body. I want to give you a little background on the in that I mean, the muscular churn how your upper body works. We have first your back, your lats, second your chest, your pectorals muscles, third, your biceps and fourth, your triceps. That is a very basic learning lesson on anatomy and for our purpose is that all I am going to talk about today. But we are going to get started with our back, our lats and to start; we are going to do what is called a bent-over dumbbell row. So, for that I need a bench and obviously a dumbbell, you could certainly utilize at home a bench and something to give you or add a little extra weight to whatever you are grabbing. So, even something as light as you can of soup, just for beginners, it would work. Again, I want to stress that you do not have to be in a gym to get a good workout. Today, I am going to get started with this dumbbell, I am going to grab that with my right hand, before I do that I am going to place my left hand on the bench, grab the dumbbell with my right hand and then I m going to drop the dumbbell down as if I were going to drop it to the ground, but not quite.

    Now, as far as the positioning is concerned, I am going to take my foot and slide my foot away from the bench and keeping my hand in dumbbell underneath my shoulder, I am going to exhale on the positive and pull that elbow towards the ceiling above me. Now, on my negative, I am breathing in and bringing the dumbbell down, I am exhaling, breathing in, exhaling, breathing in, exhaling, breathing in. As far as the posture of my back is concerned, it should be flat and again my abdominals are engaged, particularly on that positive motion where I am rolling or pulling that elbow towards the ceiling.

    Breathing in, exhaling, now, I will take that dumbbell down, I am going to switch it up to my other side because we are working unilaterally, of course we have to work the other side, so I am going to slide my left foot on the floor, away from the bench, my right foot or right knee, onto the bench left hand has a dumbbell, left elbow is pulled up towards the ceiling as I exhale. Breathing in, exhaling, breathing in, exhaling, very good, I am going to bring dumbbell to rest and so as far as sets and repetitions, anything from two to three sets to start, a repetitions from 10 to 15 repetitions, meaning each set you would do 10 to 15 and then rest and then repeat it with the second or even the third set.

    Again, for those beginners, you want to again always be asking yourself, how is this making me feel on a scale of one to ten, engage that exercise accordingly. Now, we are going to move on to a bicep curl. From the back, we are going to move to biceps for two reasons, number one we are working our body a little more evenly because we have just worked a big muscle in the back, we are going to then work a smaller muscle in the front. In addition, your biceps are assistors, if we can call them that, to your back muscles of your lats, meaning that the lats of your back are the primary mover or the muscle that is most involved in that bent over row, but your biceps are as well, assisting as a secondary group. This is a resistance band or a Dyna-band, they are easily ordered online or any retailer. I am going to step on the band with both feet, my feet will go be spread hip width apart and parallel, my palms will come to face the camera and I am going to exhale. As I exhale, I m pulling my arms to my shoulders or my fists to my shoulders. Breathing in, exhaling, breathing in, exhaling, breathing in, exhaling, breathing in, exhaling, let me give you guys a side view and from that side view you can see that my alignment should be as close to straight as possible. Again I am envisioning that palm line being dropped straight down to the center of my head. Exhaling, breathing in, exhaling, breathing in, if I wanted to make it a little harder or tricky on myself, one, two, one, two, I can alternate them and that will cause not only one arm to work a little harder, but also my abdominals being engaged that much more to keep my body stable.

    So, again, thinking about anything that can vary your routine, I would say is very, very important because body can become, body is very intelligent, it becomes complacent quite quickly to whatever you impose on it. So, you always want to be keeping it on its toes, so to speak. Now, from here, I am going to let go that bend and we are going to move right onto the chest press. Now, I am seated in upright, on a bench, I have my hands approximately up this level below my shoulders and I have approximately 55 pounds of weight on this bar which is not a lot of weight, but again that is unemployed and engaging on that scale of one to ten what is most challenging for me.

    So, from here again, I am going to maintain my alignment in neutral spine and I am going to exhale and extend my arms forward, my elbows are always slightly bent, very important in both upper and lower body exercises is that we do not hyper extend any of the limbs. We want to keep the knees and arms in their perspective exercises slightly bent, so again on my negative here, I am breathing in on the way back, exhaling as I push forward, breathing in, exhaling, breathing in, exhaling, now here I am working the pectorals muscles of my chest and again I am taking the load back on the negative and pushing the load forward. So, breathing in, exhaling, breathing in, exhaling. I am going to slowly and gently bring these weights to rest and again any set and rep would be anything from two to three sets, anywhere from ten to fifteen repetitions and from here we are going to move on to a tricep kick-back. Again, the weight is unimportant particularly for those beginners; you could almost do it with a can of soup and still have quite a challenging workout on your triceps. Now, I am going to again take a position similar to that first bent over row that I did, but one thing will change. I am going to take my left hand to the bench, grab the dumbbell on my right hand. The dumbbell goes forward, my feet here do not have to go wide up the bench, they are going to stay close. My elbow is going to get pulled up but it s going to stop at my back and from there I am going to hinge my arm and flex and extend my elbow. So, I am breathing in on the positive, exhaling and extending my arm, breathing in on the way down, exhaling on the way out, breathing in on the way down, exhaling on the positive, breathing in on the negative. Exhaling, breathing in, I am going to bring this dumbbell down and switch it again to my left hand side which off course we are working unilaterally here, so we have to work both sides evenly. Switching things up, I am breathing in as I raise my elbow, exhale as I extend it. Breathing in as I flex my elbow, exhale as I extend it. Wow! My triceps are really burning. So to finish up I want to just stress that by taking in some type of activity whether it be weight training, cardiovascular, jumping rope, even exercising outside, it should be considered a necessity and kind of paramount and to fore front of your life, it s going to make you happier, healthier and a better person all around. Thanks again and hope to see you soon.