I like to joke about every guy who doesn’t train legs as much as the next person. It’s funny to see people who are obsessed with building muscle, but purposely ignore 60 percent of their muscle because it’s a little bit uncomfortable.

But one of the biggest issues I’ve seen with girls lately is a fear of shoulders. It’s the exact opposite problem most guys have! If you really want to look your best — clothed and naked — some upper body exercises are essential.

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Mistake #1: Neglecting the Muscles in Your Upper Body Will Reduce Your Metabolism

More muscle means more calories burned at rest. This isn’t to say you should get big and bulky; but having some muscle and tone is hot.

Working your muscles also helps you on a hormonal level, by allowing your body to optimize the nutrients you take in. Your body doesn’t discriminate, and your upper body muscles are just as important as your legs and abs for getting that sexy bikini body.

Mistake #2: Not Using the Illusion of Shape to Your Full Advantage

Bodybuilders have been “faking it” to look larger than life for years.

Now, I don’t want to get into the drugs they use, and you certainly don’t have to be larger than life like them, but let’s talk about their ideas because there’s some valuable information there.

See, bodybuilders and fitness models are aiming for a specific shape. Aside from the fact that shoulders simply look good, bodybuilders and bikini competitors know that having strong shoulders will make their waists look thinner, even if they’re the same size!

This illusion occurs because the angle of their body from their shoulders down to their waists changes; it’s less of a straight line. Our parents called that the hour-glass figure (we don’t hear that much anymore), but if there’s one thing everyone agrees upon, it’s that girls with curves are super hot.

Mistake #3: Not Working Your Shoulders with Your Core

Some of the best core exercises involve keeping your hands on the ground in a push-up or plank position, or moving some cables and bands. If your shoulders are too weak to complete the workout, the rest of your body will get slower results – including your abs.

Integrate shoulder training into your workouts as an extension of your core and you can drastically improve your results. (Hint: Crunches suck.)

Mistake #4: Being Scared of Weights

It’s very understandable when girls are hesitant to run openly into a male-dominant weight room. Testosterone is pumping through the roof, people are grunting, dropping weights, and may not even look the way you want to look. But ultimately — even though nutrition helps keep off body fat — muscle makes you look really good.

You can basically think of your muscle as your shape. Butt, legs, stomach, arms — your muscle shapes everything!

So if you’re a little afraid of weights right now, have no fear. You can start with some body weight basics by taking pairs of dumbbells to a corner of the weight room until you’re more comfortable. That way, you won’t feel judged or exposed.

Get your push-ups down perfect, work on your inverted rows, work on your goblet squats, dumbbell Romanian deadlifts (also known as RDLs), and make sure to work with a trainer to build a smart program that will get you results.

Remember: Being strong won’t make you bulky.

Related: Students Who Workout at Campus Gyms Get Better Grades

This post was written by Ben Hessel, a certified personal trainer located in Tempe, Arizona. Ben has dozens of clients, both locally and in major cities across the U.S. He understands the value of looking good to feel your best and realizes that not everyone is going to act like a fitness model.

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