Would You Like to Have a Body Like Jennifer Aniston?

When it comes to women getting in shape, building their upper body is usually listed in the “What they don’t want” section.

However, this is usually because the first thing that comes to mind are female bodybuilders.

When many do think about what they would like their upper body to look like, Jennifer Aniston’s slender and toned figure is always one that stands out and the 50-year-old Friends actress is a name that hundreds of our clients at Ultimate Performance say they want to look like.

Strong, yet feminine. Not bulky, yet a lean and defined look. If you’re a woman who is looking to build a strong body yet maintain and enhance your feminine qualities, this workout is for you!

Most women tend to shy away from training their upper body. Usually because of the fear they might lose their feminine shape.

While this is not only a myth, the lack of training your upper body can prevent you from building the feminine figure you truly want.

Why This Workout Works

To break down the physique, there are going to be three main areas of focus:

  1. Arms/Shoulders
  2. Abs
  3. Back

 

Arms

Whether you’re wearing your favorite summer dress or a tank top, the first thing people will notice are your arms. Having a shapely booty is great, but if your arms are not toned, very few people will question if you work out.

One of the best things to compliment a women’s physique is a set of lean and toned arms – and Jennifer Aniston is a perfect example of this. Just check out any photo of her on the red carpet and you’ll see her perfectly-sculpted arms compliment any dress she wears. 

Because you’ll be training your arms already as a byproduct of training shoulders and back, we will give less attention and frequency here, and focus more on ‘sculpting’ the muscle with higher reps and more specific movements once per week.

 

Shoulders

A great set of arms can easily be overshadowed if you don’t have defined shoulders. 

Building your shoulders will give your arms that lovely defined look that will make everyone turn their head and ask if you’re a fitness model.

Because shoulders are such a small muscle with 3 different portions (front, side, and rear) they are best trained with higher frequency as well as targeting them from as many angles as possible.

 

Abs

They say abs are made in the kitchen, and while this is true, if they’re not developed enough it can take quite a lot of dieting to drop to a low enough fat percentage to see them. 

Abs are definitely a body fat issue more so than anything else. However, spending some time training them in the gym 1-2 times per week like you would any other muscle group is important to developing that show-stopping look.

We’re not looking to develop the abs into ‘3D bricks’ dominating your midsection like a CrossFit athlete, we are however looking to tighten that midsection and give you those lovely subtle lines that scream to people “she’s in incredible shape”. 

 

Back

When wearing an evening dress or tank top, body fat on the back can make many women feel self-conscious. 

While we’re not looking to build a lot of muscle here, we are focused primarily on shaping three key areas:

  1. The lats
  2. Middle back
  3. Lower back

To maintain the feminine qualities we want, we want to make sure we avoid any stimulus to the traps and upper back, and focus more on the areas that will only accentuate already existing feminine qualities. 

Training the lats will not only help bring more shape to the body, but it will also give the illusion of your waist looking smaller. While we’re not looking to grow ‘wings’, a little stimulus of the muscle can go a long way.

Developing the mid portion of your back will open a wide range of new wardrobe ideas as well as allow you to sport backless dresses with more confidence than you’ve ever had before.

Last but not least, the lower portion of the back, primarily the spinal erectors, will give your body that final touch of feminine strength it deserves. This area, when well developed, will also make your booty perk higher.

Here are two workouts that will help you get a body like Jennifer Aniston:

The Workouts

WORKOUT 1: UPPER BODY

How to Perform the Exercises 

This guide is aimed at trainees with a good knowledge of the exercises and how to train safely and effectively. 

If you are unsure and want access to training programmes, nutrition information and over 250+ demonstration videos, sign up for LiveUP online coaching today or consult a qualified PT.

The Set-Up

  • Pick up the dumbbell using a neutral grip and sit on the bench with them resting on your thighs, close to your hip crease. 
  • Position your feet shoulder-width apart, under or behind your knees and flat on the floor. 
  • Lean back against the bench, using your thighs to help get the dumbbells into position, level with your chest and then up to a stacked position, with the wrist, elbow and shoulder all aligned. 
  • Point your chest upwards (but keep the ribcage tucked down) towards the ceiling and tuck your shoulder blades down into your back pockets. 
  • Your shoulders and glutes should be touching the bench and there will be a small gap between your lower can and the bench. 
  • This is the start and end position for each rep. 

 

The Movement

  • From the stacked position at the top, “pull” the dumbbells down towards your chest with the arms at an angle of 45-60 degrees to your torso.
  • You have reached the end of your range-of-motion when you can no longer lower the dumbbells without the shoulder rounding forwards.
  • Pause before reversing the motion, under control, to return to the start position.
  • Pause again before repeating for the desired number of reps. 
  • On the last rep, lower the dumbbells to the start position, tuck your elbows in and sit forwards using your legs to generate momentum. You can also ask a training partner to take one dumbbell from you at a time. 

 

Trainer Tips

  • The set-up and movement are the same as other versions of the dumbbell bench press but this angle places more emphasis on your shoulders. 
  • Make sure that the dumbbells do not clang together at the top of the movement. 
  • Ensure that you do not ‘shrug’ the weight up at the top. This reduces shoulder stability and increases the risk of injury. Focus on keeping the shoulder blades tucked down throughout.

The Set-Up

  • Grip the cable attachment with a neutral grip and sit down on the bench with your upper thighs securely positioned under the padding. 
  • Sit up as tall as possible (keeping the ribcage tucked), with your arms fully extended above your head but avoid shrugging your shoulders up to your ears.
  • This is the start and end position for each rep.

 

The Movement

  • Keeping your torso still, initiate the movement by dropping your shoulder blades down into your back pockets (closing the gap between your armpit and your hips). Think ‘taking the elevator down’ not ‘pinching’ when it comes to the shoulder blades.
  • Draw the elbow downwards vertically (not backwards), maintaining the same torso position and high chest throughout. 
  • You have reached the end of your range-of-motion when your elbows cannot travel any further without your shoulders rotating inwards and upper back rounding. 
  • Pause for a moment and focus on contracting the lats by squeezing your elbows into your sides. 
  • Reverse the motion, under control, to return to the start position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps. 

 

Trainer Tips

  • Imagine you are taking your shoulder blades up and down like an elevator; allow them to move through their full range-of-motion rather than yanking the bar with your arms. 
  • Avoid using cable attachments that are narrower than your shoulders as this can restrict your range-of-motion. 
  • Use lifting straps to avoid grip becoming a limiting factor in the movement.
  • Watch how far the weight stack travels on each rep as a reference point for your range-of-motion. If this shortens significantly between the first and last rep, the weight is too heavy. 
  • The arm muscles will contribute to this movement but they should not be doing all the work. Focus on drawing the weight down using the back only, the arms should simply assist in the movement.

The Set-Up

  • Perform this exercise with your chest supported on a bench. This allows you to maintain a stable position and focus on the movement. Use the closest setting if the bench does not allow you to set it to a 75-degree setting.
  • Pick up the dumbbells, straddle the bench and lean into it so that your torso angle matches the bench angle. 
  • Hold the dumbbells with a neutral grip and let your arms hang just outside of your thighs (to maintain a slight level of tension throughout) with a small bend in your elbows. 
  • This is the start and end position for each rep. 

 

The Movement

  • Push the dumbbells out to your sides while keeping your shoulders depressed. Your elbows should travel just in front of your shoulders. 
  • You have reached the end of your range-of-motion when you cannot lift the dumbbells any higher without your shoulders shrugging upwards. 
  • Pause for a moment before reversing the motion, under control, to return to the start position. 
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps. 

 

Trainer Tips

  • Do not use momentum to ‘swing’ the weight upwards. Keep control of the dumbbells at all times. 
  • Keep your little finger slightly higher than your thumb throughout the movement to keep maximal tension on your medial deltoid. 
  • If you cannot pause briefly at the top and bottom of the rep, the load is too heavy. 
  • Single-joint exercises like the lateral raise require less effort than multi-joint movements but make sure to stick to the prescribed rest period to ensure you can maintain performance. 
  • This is a complex exercise so start light and only increase the load when you are happy with your technique. Use a mirror to monitor your form.

The Set-Up

  • Choose a handle attachment that matches your shoulder width best, while allowing you to maximally contract the back.
  • Maintain a neutral spine position while keeping the chest up.
  • Begin each movement by first retracting the shoulder blades.

 

The Movement

  • Example: Pull the bar to the sternum or slightly below while you pull your shoulder blades together, return the bar to the starting position as you allow the back to open up and stretch.
  • Concentric: The fully shortened position is determined by how far back you can row and squeeze the back without allowing the shoulders to round forward.
  • Eccentric: The fully lengthened position is determined by how far you can bring the bar back to its starting position, allowing for minor protraction of the shoulders blades while still maintaining tension in the back.
  • Common Errors: As the set becomes progressively more challenging, it’s typical to see extra range of motion being gained by moving from the hips as you swing backward.

 

Trainer Tips

  • Using straps can have a greater effect at increasing mind-muscle connection in the back.
  • Instead of thinking about pulling the bar with the hands, allow the elbows to lead first as the shoulder blades pinch together and squeeze.

 

The Set-Up

 

  • Set yourself up the same way you would for a seated cable back row.
  • Use a rope attachment and hold the rope palms down.
  • Maintain a neutral spine position while keeping the chest up.

 

The Movement

 

Example: Pull the rope to the face without allowing the shoulder blades to move, return the rope to the starting position without allowing the shoulders to protract.

Concentric: The fully-shortened position is determined by how far you can pull the rope apart while maintaining the shoulder blades in a neutral position.

Eccentric: The fully-lengthened position is determined by how far you can stretch the rear delts and upper back muscles without allowing the shoulder blades to protract.

Common Mistakes: As the set becomes progressively more challenging, it’s typical to see extra range of motion being gained by moving from the hips as you swing backward.

It’s also common to see the biceps curling the weight to the face versus allowing for the upper back and rear delts to do the work.

 

Trainer Tips

 

  • Actively pull the rope apart as you drive your elbows as far away to the sides as you can.
  • Keep your elbows parallel with the floor, only drop the elbows in slightly if you feel pain in the front of the shoulders.
  • Elbow position should be determined by balancing rear delt activation and anterior delt pain, strike a balance between comfort and strength and mind-muscle connection.

The Set-Up

 

  • Choose a handle attachment that matches your shoulder width best while allowing you to maximally contract the triceps without allowing the shoulders to round.
  • Use a pad for the knees to help soften the pressure.
  • Keep the shoulder blades back and down throughout the whole movement.

 

The Movement

  • Example: Press the rope down by fully flexing the triceps until the elbows are locked out and the arms straight, bring the rope back to its starting position without allowing the elbows to travel forward on the way up.
  • Concentric: The fully-shortened position is determined by how much you can extend the elbows without allowing the shoulders to round forward and/or traps to elevate.
  • Eccentric:The fully-lengthened position is determined by how far you can flex the elbows without allowing the elbows to travel forward. 
  • Common Mistakes: As the set progressively gets more challenging its typical to see cheating by swinging the weight back into the body.
  • It’s also common to see mechanical breakdown occur as the traps elevate and shoulders round forward without allowing for the elbows to fully extend.

 

Trainer Tips

  • Start light and work your way up, most people have never experienced the fully-shortened position of the triceps so it’s typically very weak.
  • Instead of thinking ‘extend the elbows back’, think about actively pulling your chest up as you flex your triceps until your arms are straight and in alignment with the torso.

WORKOUT 2: ARMS & ABS

How to Perform the Exercises

The Set-Up

  • Set a bench underneath a chin-up bar to allow for a ‘cheated’ concentric rep.
  • Jump up to the top and focus on getting your shoulder blades pulled back and down, contracting your lats as hard as you can.
  • Focus on maintaining tension in the lats as you actively allow gravity to bring you down.

 

The Movement

  • Example: Jump up to the top, skipping the concentric component, while at the top depress the shoulder blades and transfer the tension to the lats, keep the tension in the lats as you slowly push yourself away from the bar.
  • Concentric: The fully-shortened position is determined by how far you can go up while keeping the chest high, and shoulders back and down.
  • Eccentric: The fully-lengthened position is determined by how far you can stretch the lats while maintaining tension.
  • Common Mistakes: Cheating your way to the top only to be using your arms, which defeats the purpose of trying to cheat the concentric to focus on doing at least one position of the movement right.

 

Trainer Tips

  • Use straps to prevent the arms from fatiguing too quickly
  • If you have a hard time getting the lats positioned at the top, have someone spot you from the mid back and hold you at the top until you can get your lats in the right position and tense.

The Set-Up

  • Set the fest behind the knees and keep good contact with the floor
  • Actively engage your hips and abs to maintain a solid structure
  • Keep your shoulder blades down and tucked and the chest high throughout the whole movement

 

The Movement

  • Example: Bring the dumbbells to the shoulders as you keep your elbows pointed towards the ceiling, after fully stretching the triceps, flex the triceps to bring the weights back over the body.
  • Concentric: The fully-shortened position is determined by how much you can extend the elbows without allowing the shoulders to round forward and/or the chest caving at the top.
  • Eccentric: The fully-lengthened position is determined by how far you can flex the elbows without allowing the elbows to travel back.
  • Common Mistakes: Allowing the elbows to flare out as you press.
  • Another big mistake is not keeping tension on the triceps on the way down and just bending at the joint, which causes serious elbow pain.

 

Trainer Tips

  • Start light and do it right! If you’re breaking position, drop the weight! The biggest mistakes we see here deals with load selection.

The Set-Up

  • Set up an EZ curl bar and grab the grip width that feels the most comfortable on the forearms and wrists
  • Actively engage the biceps from the bottom of the movement by pulling the bar just a little bit to create tension.
  • Keep your chest upright and your abs locked in.

 

The Movement

  • Example: Curl the weight up until the biceps are fully flexed, bring the weight back down the starting position. 
  • Concentric: The fully-shortened position is determined by how far you can flex the biceps without allowing for the elbows to travel forward.
  • Eccentric: The fully-lengthened position is determined by how far you can extend the elbows while maintaining tension in the biceps and preventing the shoulders from rounding forward.
  • Common Mistakes: Swinging the weight up and breaking the initial set-up.
  • Allowing the weight to drop down without maintaining any tension during the eccentric component.
  • Finding leverage at the top of the movement, letting the biceps rest, and allowing for the biceps to relax at the very bottom (keep tension the whole way through!).

 

Trainer Tips

  • Practice fully contracting your biceps without any weight before starting the exercise, if you don’t feel your biceps expand and contract, there’s no way you’ll get it right with weight in your hand.
  • Relax the forearms and hands when you flex the biceps, many times people squeeze their hands too hard, losing focus on the biceps and instead burning out the forearm.

The Set-Up

  • Choose a handle attachment that matches your shoulder width best while allowing you to maximally contract the triceps without allowing the shoulders to round.
  • Actively engage the triceps from the top of the movement by pressing the bar down just a little bit to create tension.
  • Keep the shoulder blades back and down throughout the whole movement.

 

The Movement

  • Example: Press the rope/bar down by fully flexing the triceps until the elbows are locked out and the arms straight, bring the rope back to its starting position without allowing the elbows to travel forward on the way up.
  • Concentric: The fully-shortened position is determined by how much you can extend the elbows without allowing the shoulders to round forward and/or traps to elevate.
  • Eccentric: The fully lengthened position is determined by how far you can flex the elbows without allowing the elbows to travel forward.
  • Common Mistakes: As the set progressively gets more challenging it is typical to see cheating by swinging the weight back into the body.
  • It’s also common to see shortening the range of motion on the eccentric by only bringing the bar up halfway instead of fully stretching the triceps.

 

Trainer Tips

  • It is very important to find a stance – staggered or feet hip width apart – that allows for the most support.
  • Practice fully flexing the triceps without weight before beginning, get used to what it feels like before starting the movement with weight!

The Set-Up

  • Set the Swiss ball on your lower back, allowing for the hips to sit slightly off it.
  • Press your feet against a wall or lock them down to gain extra support and stability.
  • Engage the abs by actively bracing (push your lower back into the ball as you posteriorly tilt your pelvis).

 

The Movement

  • Example: Crunch the abs until the ab wall is fully contracted, while maintaining tension, allowing for the abs to stretch as you go back to the starting position.
  • Concentric: The fully-shortened position is determined by how close you can bring the bottom of the ribs to the top of the pelvis without allowing the hips to move.
  • Eccentric: The fully-lengthened position is determined by how far you can pull the bottom of the ribs away from the pelvis without allowing for the lower back to move.
  • Common Mistakes: Not shortening the ab wall and instead using the hip flexors to do the movement.

 

Trainer Tips

  • If stability is your problem and you are rolling all over the place, practice bracing first by regressing to a Swiss ball plank or anchor your feet down better to give more support throughout the movement.

The Set-Up

  • Lie face up on a bench with your knees tucked all the way into your chest. 
  • Hold onto the head of the bench with both hands. 

 

The Movement

  • Engage your abdominal muscles and curl your lower back off the bench. Visualise closing the gap between the bottom of your ribcage and your pelvis. 
  • You have reached the end of your range-of-motion when you cannot move any further without rolling up onto your upper back. 
  • Pause for a moment and breath out in a long stream as if blowing up a balloon to achieve an extra contraction in the abdominals. 
  • Reverse the motion, under control, to return to the start position. 
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps. 

 

Trainer Tips

  • If you cannot feel an intense sensation in your abs, you are likely using momentum and other muscles, like the hip flexors, to swing upwards. Try slowing down the movement until you can feel it. 
  • If you are unable to perform the exercise effectively flat, try a slight decline with your head at the bottom to allow gravity to help you.
  • Once you are able to complete the movement flat, you can progress the exercise to a slight incline with the head at the top of the bench.

The Set-Up

  • Lie on the floor and lift your legs to a 75-90-degree angle (the closer the legs are to parallel the harder the exercise).
  • Engage the abs by actively bracing (push your lower back into the floor as you posteriorly tilt your pelvis).
  • Find the most challenging position for the abs by lowering the legs without allowing for the lower back to come off the floor.

 

The Movement

  • Example: Reach up and touch your toes without allowing the lower back to come off the floor, return back to the floor while maintaining tension in the abs.
  • Concentric: The fully-shortened position is determined by how close you can bring the bottom of the ribs to the top of the pelvis without allowing the hips to move.
  • Eccentric: The fully-lengthened position is determined by how far you can pull the bottom of the ribs away from the pelvis without allowing for the lower back to move.
  • Common Mistakes: Using too much momentum off the floor and trying to ‘actually’ touch your toes versus working with the muscle and your active range of motion.

 

Trainer Tips

  • The exercise is a slight misnomer, you won’t actually touch your toes. So focus on contracting and shortening the ab wall to get you as close as you can.
  • If the lower back hurts or fatigues first, roll a yoga mat up and place it underneath your natural arch to give extra support, a core pad works better if you have one.

The Set-Up 

  • Lie down on your back with your arms stretched out overhead and your legs straight and together, toes pointed.

 

The Movement

  • Brace your core and lift your arms and legs off the floor. 
  • Focus on pressing your lower back into the ground while squeezing your entire abdominal wall.
  • Shoulders should be slightly lifted and your ribs are tucked in you are aiming for a banana shape.

 

Trainer Tips

  • Focus on keeping your brace as tight as possible.
  • This exercise can be regressed by keeping the arms alongside the body or bending the knees and flexing the hip so that there is a 90-degree angle at both the hips and knee.
  • This exercise can be progressed by adding weight to the ankles or hands for added resistance.  Another popular movement for progressing this exercise is to remain in a dish position and slowly rock backwards and forwards whilst maintaining a tight brace.
  • Remember to breathe.

By Eric Bowling

 

SCULPT YOUR PERFECT BODY TODAY!

With a bespoke personal training and nutrition programme at Ultimate Performance.

GET INCREDIBLE RESULTS ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD!

With the LiveUP Online Coaching programme from Ultimate Performance.

CHECK OUT OUR IMPRESSIVE TRACK RECORD!

Here are just some of the incredible results we have helped our clients achieve.