Oh my gosh….when did it get here? How did summer arrive so quickly – and why didn’t anyone tell me that I was going to have to sport my bikini in a few short weeks….days…now?
We all see the Hollywood stars on TV – it’s easy to look at their bodies and wonder, ‘how do they look so good and how can I get that?!’ With summer here, it’s on our minds even more.
Some muscles when sculpted give an especially feminine look to women’s bodies. Here is a list of the top ten muscles that you can sculpt on your body so you will really see – and feel – a difference with how your body looks and moves. Take a look:
Tenth Best Muscle for Women to Sculpt: The Pecs
When the pecs are toned and strong, they make the breasts look smoother, higher and more elegant, plus they give good posture a sexy quality. Push-ups are so hard for women that they take a few years to learn how to do them well. Even after they become more doable, students can keep raising the bar on push-ups by walking their hands directly under their chest and refusing to let them sneak forward.
Ninth Best Muscle for Women to Sculpt: The Outer Quad
“Second position” – bending your knees outwards when in a wide stance — chisels a distinctive, dancer-like curve down your outside leg. This graceful new shape, by arching up your outside thigh bone, has the effect of pulling the side of your leg in, making it narrower.
Eighth Best Muscle for Women to Sculpt: The Triceps
Sculpted triceps, like toned hamstrings when they sit up on your thigh bones, make your upper arms look slender. The overall effect is both strong and feminine. “Reverse push-ups,” is the fastest-acting triceps shaper you’ll suffer through during the barre work-out. To get beautiful triceps you have to keep your arms directly over your hands as you bend your elbows.
Seventh Best Muscle for Women to Sculpt: The Hamstrings
Toned hamstrings do wonders for the overall look of your legs. They curve outwards on the back of the leg mid-point up your upper leg, and then they curve inwards right under your butt giving it definition and lift. A great excercise for your hamstring at Studio Be’s Annex is simply leaning forward at the bar, bending one leg in half and holding it behind you. If you can keep your tuck in place and your knee aligned in this position, you just might start shaking like a leaf after just a minute or two. For me this exercise never gets old. I usually wake up the next day feeling sore and a bit more sculpted.
Sixth Best Muscle for Women to Sculpt: The Lower Quads
Studio Be Barre Classes work the lower quads with “eccentric” contractions, smooth, mid-range pliés that stretch the muscles as they’re working. One of the most targeted thigh exercises for slimming down around the knees is the “narrow V,” a stance that keeps your knees in a uniquely deep bend during the pliés. Narrow V looks deceptively simple and basic, so students are often surprised that their lower quads are on fire by mid-point into this exercise.
Fifth Best Muscle for Women to Sculpt: The Lower Traps
The trapezius, a large muscle on our upper backs, moves our shoulder-blades up, in and down. The problem with having untrained traps is that they react to stress by yanking your shoulders upwards to protect your neck – and who today isn’t stressed out in some way? So unless you work at it, your shoulders are going to lift a lot and aren’t going to press down very much. Women, who are especially stressed out these days, can end up with a foreshortened neck and hunched shoulders. Studio Be’s Barre Classes fix this both by strengthening your lower traps and then requiring you to keep your shoulders down throughout the whole workout. The result is an elongated neck, an elegant posture, and a sculpted upper back.
Fourth Best Muscle for Women to Sculpt: The “Six Pack Muscle”
Crunches are not unique to Barre Class. Fitness-enthusiasts everywhere use them to chisel their abs. Barre Class students, being no exception to this rule, sometimes do more than 100 crunches per class.
Third Best Muscle for Women to Sculpt: The “TA” (Traversus Abdominis)
The “TA” is our deepest abdominal muscle. When it’s strong, it both flattens our stomach and stabilizes our lower spine. The catch is that this quintessentially core muscle is relatively thin and not attached to any bones, so it’s tricky to figure out a way to work it. Running, spinning, most yoga workouts, and even some sculpting classes miss the TA because women – especially those who’ve recently given birth – commonly can’t feel their TA’s, no less work them. The good news is that our TA is connected to our diaphragm, so when we breathe sharply and/or laugh deeply, we’re on our way to toning it. Studio Be’s students tone their TA’s with the Barre Class “flat-back” exercise. Students anchor themselves against the wall under the bar, exhale and “pull in” sharply, and then lift their legs against the stabilizing force of their core muscles.
Second Best Muscle for Women to Sculpt: The Gluteus Medius
The gluteus medius is arguably the cutest muscle in a woman’s body. It forms the top curves of the dancer’s proverbial heart-shaped butt. Like the “TA,” it stabilizes your core – in this case your pelvis – when you walk or stand on one foot, and it raises your leg out to the side. From a visual stand-point, toning the gluteus medius results in some dramatic changes. Your legs seem to start higher on your frame; saddle bags shrink or disappear altogether as your seat tightens, and hollows form in the sides of your seat, making your hips look slimmer. The Barre Class technique includes many exercises to shape the glutes medius, including “pretzel,” “standing seat,” “arabesque,” and “back-dancing.”
Top Muscle for Women to Sculpt: The Gluteus Maximus
Uh….Helllo! It’s the largest muscle in our bodies, and uniquely human in shape. It embellishes our elegant, upright posture, and in women forms the bottom part of our alluringly female hour-glass shape. You’d think it would be easy to sculpt since it’s so large. Not. The catch is that it’s lazy. Unless your glutes are already strong, they tend to let other muscles such as the hamstrings do the work. Studio Be’s Barre Classes don’t let them get away with that. Starting with a gentle tuck position during warm-up, proceeding to a stronger tuck during push-ups, then on to a deep tuck during heel lifts, diamond-thigh, “seat-work,” “curl” and “back-dancing, your Gluteus Maximus is working hard.
Okay – now that we’ve got the info, should be easy, right? Well….lucky for us we have Studio Be. They’ll work all ten of these muscles for us – plus much more. ‘Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie’, here we come…..
Suite 215 | 4211 Fairfax Corner East Ave., Fairfax, VA 22030 | Phone: 703-222-0122
11877-B Grand Commons Ave., Fairfax, VA 22030 | Phone: 703 222 0122