Tutorial: Pictorial Pectoral - Toned Chest, Shoulders & Arms Part 1

See video

This is the first part of a two-part sub-series inside the Little Black Dress Workout that I like to call The Pictorial Pectoral. Much like the Standing Stroop Pull and the Tubing Rear Delt Flys, this exercise is all about shape and tone, not size. And also like those last exercises, we will be doing many, many repetitions. Here, we are getting the shape of your chest, shoulders and arms kneaded, baked and burned. As always, form is key. While it can be done on its own, it is excellent when complemented with the second part of this series.

Use lighter rather than heavier or even medium tubing; we are going to do a rep-burnout! When it starts to burn, keep your focus, on form and breathing.


Again, you can use either Stroops, exercise tubing or Thera-Bands, looped through a Fit Strap. If you have a secure fixture or loop at a height around the bottom of your shoulder blades that you can put your Stroops or tubing through, you can use that as well. What is most important is that you do not want the height of the Stroops or tubing to slide around as you are pulling on it. Even though I am using exercise Stroops in the video, I will be referring to tubing throughout this tutorial.


Proper Technique, Posture and Tips

  • Loop your tubing through your Fit Strap, at a height around the bottom of your shoulder blades. Make sure the tubing is lower than your shoulders when performing this exercise; any higher and it might slip over your shoulders and hit your neck.
  • With your back to the Fit Strap, hold your tubing at the handles, palms facing each other, fingers curled around the handles.
  • Step forward about 1 ½ to 2 feet with one foot, keeping your weight over your front foot. Bend your front leg, do not allow your knee to go past your toes and make sure not to hyper extend your back leg. This is your standing position throughout the entire exercise.
  • Start with your arms open and parallel with the floor, so that you’re able to see your fingers in peripheral vision.
  • Keep your abs in and lift your upper sternum slightly.
  • If you feel the effort of the exercise more in the arms than the chest; straighten the arms a little.
  • Drop and relax your shoulders and upper traps before each repetition and pulses, maintaining a long, relaxed line through every repetition.

The Exercise and Variations

  • Bring your arms together in front of you until your hands meet. From there, separate your arms about 3 inches, then bring them back together until your hands meet again. Finally, open all the way back to the starting position. This is one repetition, do 15-20 reps of this, then more directly into the next variation.
  • Alternating Crossovers: Bring your arms together with one positioned over the other, palms facing each other, then separate as small a distance as possible so that you can return to the previous position with the alternate hand above the other one. In this exercise, I want you to focus on squeezing your chest every time you are crossing your arms. Do 20-40 reps of this variation, and move on to the next.
  • Moving Pulses: While relaxing your neck and upper shoulders, your fists are quickly going up and down in a small range of motion, while your arms are slowly moving with a full range of motion together and apart. Shoulder Girdle stability is very important here. While both motions are important, keep most of your focus on the pulses over the arms moving together and apart. Do  50-100 pulses with your fists, and 3-5 full motions with your arms before moving on to the next variant.
  • Speed Crossovers: With your palms up, perform a similar alternating motion to the one described in the first crossover variant, only performed even faster. Do 25-50 reps and move on to the last variation.
  • Finishing Touch: hold your hands together and lift them up, holding the top of the motion for a full second, then lower your arms back behind your body twice.


Top: Nordstrom Rack, Black
Pants: Lululemon Wunder Under Crop Reversible, Black/Navy


“I like my clothes to be tight enough to show I'm a woman... but loose enough to show I'm a lady.” --Mae West


Post your successes in the comments below, and like it if you liked it!