Decolletage is the area between your torso and neck, encompassing the chest, shoulders and bust. Whenever you're wearing an evening dress, low-cut top, swimsuit or bikini, your decolletage is on show, meaning it's vital to have it looking great in time for party season or your vacation. A mixture of strength-training exercises, cardio and a calorie-controlled diet is the way to improve your decolletage.
No gym? No problem. One of the most effective ways to train your decolletage area is to perform pushups. The common pushup may not seem like much, but it works your chest, shoulders and triceps. There are plenty of ways you can vary them, too. If you're not too confident with full pushups, stick with knee pushups until you're confident enough to take your knees off the floor. If you're already a pushup queen, take your pushups to the next level by placing your hands on medicine balls, lifting a leg off the floor, or changing your hand position, advises trainer Charlotte Andersen in "Shape" magazine.
Women often skip chest training in favor of the more showy muscles, according to personal trainer Shannon Clark writing on Bodybuilding.com. But hitting your chest with basic free-weight exercises is one of the best ways to develop your decolletage. Clark recommends getting to grips with bench presses and dumbbell flyes. You can take this a step further and add in incline presses and flyes to hit your upper chest and overhead presses for your shoulders.
If you're new to weight training, machine exercises may be the way to go to get started. Most gyms have chest press, shoulder press, pec dec and pullover machines. The disadvantage to machines, however, is that you don't work any stabilizing muscles, writes Cassandra Forsythe in "The New Rules of Lifting for Women." So while you are training the right muscles, you're not burning as many calories or building any real-world strength.
Perform two sessions consisting of three exercises for your decolletage area each week, or add in one exercise per session if you're following a full-body plan. Start with three sets of eight reps per exercise and aim to increase the reps every session. Once you can do three sets of 12, increase the weight, drop back to eight reps and build up again. Monitor your diet carefully; if you want to build muscle, you need a small excess of calories, or a small deficit for fat loss.
- Shape Magazine: 13 Simple Ways to Amp Up Your Pushups
- Bodybuilding.com: Why Women Can't Afford to Avoid Chest Training!
- The New Rules of Lifting for Women: Cassandra Forsythe and Lou Schuler
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.