America’s freestyle diva can help with the first part. The rest is your business.
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Women Outside, Fall 1998
GEAR | TRAVEL | FITNESS | HEALTH |
FITNESS: Longevity | Strategies | REGIMENS
Amy Van Dyken, four-time olympic gold medalist, has a relief map of a shoulder saddle, all powerfully rounded muscles and jutting bones. She’s earned this upper-body topography the old-fashioned way, through daily five-hour sessions of freestyle and butterfly. But she magnanimously believes that even the chlorine-phobic among us can develop a
striking above-waist profile with just two sessions of weight work per week. “There are only a few exercises you absolutely have to do,” she says. Four to be precise. Then it’s out of the gym and on to strong-arming your boss, landlord, and cable repairman
1. Basic Bench Press. The granddaddy of all chest exercises, the press strengthens the pectoralis major, more familiarly known as the pecs. Lie on a bench with weights in each hand, knees bent, feet flat on the bench. Lift both weights slowly over a count of three. Hold for a beat. Return on a count of six to the resting position, keeping your
2. Seated Rows. Grasp the bar at about chest height, keeping your elbows at a 90-degree angle to your sides. Lean forward, with your back straight, and slowly pull for a count of four, bringing the bars toward your waist — as if, duh, you were rowing. Do sets of 10, eight, six, four, and two at a preliminary weight of 40 or 50 pounds; rest
3. The Fly. The most evocatively named of upper-body exercises. Holding barbells in each hand, sit on a weight bench and lean forward so that your chest touches your thighs. Lift your head so you’re looking at the far wall. Then
4. External Rotations. A set of four spindly muscles set deep within the shoulder, the rotator cuff controls all overhand motions but is also distressingly fragile, in part because it’s seldom isolated and strengthened by weight work. (Van Dyken herself recently underwent rotator-cuff surgery.) External rotations, done biweekly, can build RC
Photograph by Eric Swanson