This 20-minute upper body workout will put your shoulders, back, chest, biceps and triceps to the test, sculpting sexy muscles you’ll want to show off all year long. But more important than having toned triceps, a strong upper body also matters in a very functional way. You push, pull and lift things all the time. It might be a heavy suitcase or lighter load of laundry. You might pick up a 20-30 pound child or hold the arm of an elderly person as they navigate their footsteps. Whatever it is you do, a strong upper body is an everyday key to living better. So let’s go get one!
The following upper body workout uses both bodyweight and dumbbells for a complete upper body strength session. Go through each exercise and shoot for 10-12 repetitions per move. Make sure your weights are heavy enough that you struggle to finish your last repetition. The key to actually building strength is lifting weights that challenge you. Once you complete the workout, start back at the top and repeat one more time through.
Start with this cardiovascular warm-up:
Jogging In Place – 1 minute
Jumping Jacks – 1 minute
Fast Upper Cuts – 1 minute
Jumping Rope In Place – 1 minute
Now move directly to the exercises below. Once you reach the end, start back here and go through each move one more time through. Be sure to take some time to stretch when you are finished.
A) Begin in a plank position with your shoulders over your wrists, your feet together, and your body in a straight line.
B) Keeping your body straight, bend your arms to lower your body toward the floor.
C) Straighten your arms to push your body back up into plank position as you punch your right arm forward. Return your hand to the floor, lower back to the bottom of your push-up and repeat punching with left arm. Shoot for 12 total push-ups.
A) Start with feet hip distance apart. Engage your abdominals and sit back into a slight squat. Dumbbells start at the sides of the knees.
B) Keeping the core engaged press the dumbbells past your hips and return with control. Avoid swinging the arms or bending the elbows. Try to finish 12 repetitions.
A) Lie on back with knees bent and feet on floor and hold dumbbells straight up over chest.
B) With a slight bend in the elbow, slowly open arms wide out to the side. Squeeze your chest as you bring the weights back together at the top. Repeat for 10-12 repetitions.
A) Stand with feet hip distance apart holding dumbbells at shoulder height with arms tight to the body, and palms facing in.
B) Rotate wrists out and extend your arms overhead, and return to start with control. Try 10-12 repetitions.
A) Stand with your feet heels in/toes out and slightly wider than your hips. Bend your knees and lower your seat toward the floor. Keep going until your hips are lower than your knees, and keep your spine as vertical as possible. Relax your shoulders and keep your feet flat on the floor. (If your heels come off the floor, likely you have tight calves.)
B) Anchor elbows to inside thigh and curl towards your chest working your biceps. Control as you lower back down. Try to complete 10-12 repetitions.
A) Stand in split stance with your right foot forward and the dumbbell in left arm. Slightly hinge over from your hip flexors, keeping your abdominals engaged to protect your low back.
B) Pull the elbow straight back past your hip (keep arms close to the body—don’t let your elbow wing out.) Engage and squeeze your back muscles then lower the dumbbell back to start position with control. Perform 12 repetitions and repeat on the other side.
A) Start with feet together and dumbbells at sides with palms facing in.
B) Engage abs and lift dumbbells in front of body to shoulder height. Open arms out to sides, rotating dumbbells parallel to the floor.
C) Slowly lower dumbbells down to sides and then return to the front of the body. Repeat 10-12 times.
A) Begin in a kneeling plank position with arms directly below shoulders and body in a straight line back to knees.
B) Lower chest 2 inches from the floor, keeping elbows close to your side. Exhale and slowly push back to starting position. Repeat 10-12 repetitions.
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