Upper Body Toning Exercises

Upper body toning exercises are an important part of any healthy workout regiment. While your lower body gets at least a little workout from walking, sitting and other common daily activities, your upper body often remains relatively unused.

One of the best ways to get some upper body exercise in your regular day is to move your arms when you move your legs. If you're walking down the hall, you can swing your arms to help wake up your muscles. If you're walking on a treadmill, climbing a stair machine or riding a stationary bike, you can also move your arms to give your upper body a mini-workout.

Upper Body Toning Exercises
Some of the best upper body toning exercises are old-fashion activities that require no big machines. These exercises include swimming, jumping jacks, push ups, bench presses and chin ups. If you have a few basic supplies, you can also help tone your upper body jumping rope or playing basketball, baseball or tennis.

Back Windmills
Back windmills are easy to do and provide a great stretch while working the upper and lower body. Depending on your fitness level, you may want to do the exercises with out without weights. If you do need to add weights, you can use almost any light weight for your hands, but you'll need some strapped ankle weights for your legs.

To prepare for the back windmills, lie flat on your back with your toes pointed and your arms stretched above your head, palms up. Keep your limbs straight as you raise your left leg and right arm. Grasp your left ankle with your right hand and use your stomach muscles to keep your body curved. Hold the pose for two counts and lower your limbs back to the ground. Repeat process with right leg and left arm.

Side Windmills
Side windmills require a pair of light weights and focus heavily on your arms and upper body. To prepare for the exercise, you need to stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and grasp a light weight in each hand.

To start the side windmill exercise, raise your straight arms up and out until your hands are level with your shoulders. Your hands, arms and shoulders should create one fluid line running horizontal to your body. Keep your arms straight and immobile as you lean your torso to the left until your left arm is flat against your left leg. Hold the position for three counts. Bend your torso straight, take a breath and lean to the right. Repeat process, taking breaks to lower the weights when needed.

Weighted Punches
Weighted punches use basic shadow-boxing moves while you're holding very light weights in your hands. Take a very light weight in each hand and place your feet shoulder-width apart. Go into a boxing pose with your arms bent and your hands at your chest while you shift your weight between your left and right feet. 

Keep in a boxing pose as you punch your left hand up and to the right three times, twisting your body each time. Punch your right hand up and the left three times. Punch your left hand down and to the right three times. Punch your right hand down and the left three times. Repeat process, switching from left up to the right, right up to the left, left down to the right and right down to the left for as many reps as you can.

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