Can You Exercise to Make the Top Part of Your Body Smaller?

Young woman exercising with a barbell in the gym

Weight is lost through the body as a whole. This statement is in stark contrast to the spot reduction myth that states you can lose weight in only one area. If you want to zero in on the top of your body, you have to do cardiovascular exercise and weight training. By adding weight training to your plan, you will build metabolically active muscle and also give your upper body a leaner and more defined look.

Elliptical Training

Elliptical training is a form of cardio that tones the chest, shoulders, back and arms. As an added benefit, your knees, back and hips feel very little impact. Step on the pedals of the machine and grasp the poles with your hands at chest level. Move your arms and legs back and forth in an alternating motion for the duration of your workout.

Rowing Exercise

Rowing is another full-body type of cardio. More important, you burn calories and work your arms and back while exercising. Sit on the seat of the machine, place your feet in the footholds and grasp the bar with both hands. Steadily push backward until your knees are just shy of locking out, and pull the bar to your lower stomach. Extend your arms back out as you bend your knees, and glide back to the starting position. Repeat for the duration of your workout. To increase the resistance, look for the appropriate adjustment switch on the machine.

Arm Ergometry

Arm ergometry is performed from a seated position. Unlike other forms of cardio, this exercise specifically targets the upper body. While sitting on the seat, reach out in front of your chest and grasp a crank with each hand. Steadily move them in a circular motion for the duration of your workout. Increase the resistance by making the necessary adjustment on the machine.

Basic Pushups

Pushups work the chest, shoulders and triceps on the back of the arms. All you need is the weight of your body to perform them. Lie on your stomach with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and feet together. Steadily push yourself off the floor until your arms are fully extended and lift your hips to form a straight line from your shoulders to heels. Slowly lower yourself down by bending your elbows and stop when your chest grazes the floor. Push back up steadily and repeat.

Military Presses

Military presses work the shoulders and arms from a standing position with a weighted barbell. Position your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the bar at upper-chest height with your hands spaced slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Keeping your abs tight and back straight, push the bar above your head until your arms are fully extended. Slowly lower the bar back down and repeat.

Lat Pulldowns

Lat pulldowns work the upper back and biceps. Start by sitting on the seat of the lat pulldown machine and anchoring the padded support down on your thighs. Grasp the overhead straight bar with an overhand, wide grip and lean back slightly. Keeping your body still, use your arms to pull the bar down to upper-chest height. When you do this, squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold for a second. Slowly raise the bar back up and repeat.

Supine Bicycle Crunches

Supine bicycle crunches work the entire abdominal area. Begin by lying face-up on the floor with your legs lifted, knees bent and shins parallel to the floor. After placing your hands by your ears, lift your shoulders off the floor and move your opposite elbow and knee toward each other. Extend your opposite leg out straight when you do this. Quickly reverse directions to target your other side, and continue to alternate back and forth.