Today I’m sharing an upper body circuit workout that will leave your arms feeling like jello.
If you don’t like to take your phone onto the gym floor (I used to not like to), I recommend a Gymboss Interval Timer (affiliate link) to keep track of your time. Instead of having to keep watching a clock you can set the timer to go off – that way you can concentrate on form and getting ready for the next exercise.
You’ll do each exercise for 30 seconds followed by 30 seconds of rest and then the next exercise. Once you’ve completed the tricep dips at the end of circuit, rest as long as you need before starting at the top again. Complete 3 times through for a complete workout. As usual, I’ve listed descriptions of all the exercises below the graphic.
Dumbbell bench press
With a pair of dumbbells, lay back on a bench with your feet on the floor and your hips, shoulders, and back of your head pressing into the bench. Lift the dumbbells straight up so there’s only a micro bend at the elbow. Slowly lower the dumbbells towards your chest before pushing them back up again. The dumbbells should come down to your chest, not your shoulders.
With a dumbbell in each hand, lie on a bench or the floor with your elbows slightly bent. Move the dumbbells in a semi circular motion above you until they meet directly above your chest. Return to the starting position by moving the dumbbells with control so that your arms are extended again.
Front shoulder raise
With a dumbbell in each hand, stand straight with your feet shoulder width apart. Slowly lift your hands in front of you so that they’re at shoulder height, with a micro bend in your elbows. Slowly lower your hands back to your sides.
Start with the feet hip width apart, and back in a neutral position. With a dumbbell in each hand, keep your elbows in close to your side and raise the dumbbell upwards. Movement should be at the elbow, not the wrist. Lower the dumbbell with a controlled movement, not allowing gravity to take over.
Starting on your toes and hands, make sure your body is a straight line from your heels to your knees, hips, shoulders, and neck. Your hands should be a bit wider than your shoulders. Slowly bend at the elbows, lowering yourself to the ground. Try to get at low as possible, and then push yourself back up, all the while maintaining that straight line. An easier modification is instead of being on your toes, lower to your knees.
Sitting at a lat pulldown, adjust the leg pads to make sure it’s at the appropriate height. Stand up to grasp the bar with both hands and then sit back down, sliding your legs under the leg pads. Start with your arms fully extended and leaning back just slightly. Bring your hands down to your collar bone slowly and then entend them back out to the starting position.
One arm dumbbell bench row
Put your hand and knee on the same side on a bench, which your hand directly under your shoulder and your knee directly under your hip. With your other foot on the floor and a dumbbell in the other hand, raise the dumbbell up to the side of your torso using your back and shoulder muscles, while keeping your shoulder and torso stationary. Return the dumbbell to the starting position and repeat.
Stand with your feet hip width apart with a dumbbell in each hand. With your upper arms in a 90 degree angle to your torso and your hands directly above your elbows, lift your hands straight up so that your arms are straight above your head. Slowly lower your hands back down to the starting position.
With a dumbbell in each hand, flex at the ankles, knees, and hips so that your torso is leaning forward slightly. Bring your arms close to your body with your elbows back slightly. Start with your forearm in a 90 degree angle to your upper arm and slowly extend your forearm until your entire arm is straight and your triceps muscles are contracted. Slowly reverse the movement so that your arm is once again at a 90 degree angle.
What’s your favorite upper body exercise? Share it in the comments below.
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As always, be sure to speak to your doctor before beginning to workout. Honor your body and modify this workout as needed for you.