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Weight training: Tone your upper body

Not sure where to start after you signed up at a new gym? Lack the budget for a one-on-one coach or personal trainer?

Not to worry!

Here’s a great place to start for an upper-body-focused routine using a few of my favorite gym machines. Machines are a great introduction for beginners.

One purpose of machines is to guide beginners through a safe workout. If you’re not a beginner, use these tips to amp up your next upper-body workout.

Each machine pictured is labeled at the gym with a diagram indicating how the machine should be used and which muscles you will be targeting. This routine focuses on shoulders, biceps, back and triceps.



Seated, grab the handles underhand, palms face up. Bring the handles toward the chest.




Seated, palms face up, grab the handles. Pull the elbows past the waist.




Seated, reach up with arms, palms face down. Pull the handles down toward the chest.




Seated, start with hands on the bars, press up and overhead.




Seated, grab the handles, palms facing in. Straighten the arms and slowly return to a bent arm.



For your first time, complete 12 reps of each exercise for two rounds. If you’re experienced, complete three to four rounds of each exercise. Pick a weight that is challenging, not one that you can breeze through. After all, weight lifting does not make women big and bulky. It’s a big and bulky diet that goes alongside a big and bulky weight lifting routine. Weight training helps to burn fat and maintain or tone lean muscle.


Photos taken at Iron Works Gym, Biloxi.

Written by Maria S. Barr

Maria S. Barr is a fitness instructor, educator and entrepreneur who serves as brand manager and a master trainer with Barre Intensity. Reach her at

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