These 4 upper body moves are functional movements that will increase your upper body strength and leave you with sculpted arms and a beautiful upper back. Each move is a compound move that engages a greater amount of muscles which uses a lot more energy than an isolated movement, thus burning more calories as you train. Now don’t forget to keep your core engaged by flexing your glutes and abdomen! These are “upper-focused” moves, but your core is your center of strength in your body. Keep it tight to increase your force output and avoid any injuries or pain in your lower back. After a couple weeks with these moves, you’ll be able to drop and give me 10 easily!
Rx (a.k.a. prescription): Do each move consecutively then rest for 1 or 2 minutes, not very long. Repeat 3-4 times.
Upper Body Circuit
Elevated Push up
Start tight as a plank of wood. Glutes tight with shoulders over the bar. Pull yourself Down to the bar to about midline (bra-line). Squeeze your glutes abd push away from the bar keeping your core tight. Make sure that your arms are about 45 degrees away from your body, so you look like an arrow. Start at a level where your last two reps are tough while keeping perfect form. As you get stronger, move the bar down and work your way to the ground!
Rx: 3 sets, 12 reps
Position the bar just below your hips and lie under it. Grab hold of the bar and position yourself in a ‘table top’ position with feet planted and flutes engaged. Pull yourself up to the bar an ensure to “kiss” your shoulders blades to open your chest up to the bar. Lower and repeat.
Rx: 3 sets, 8-10 reps
Band-assissted Chin up
Start hanging with the band wrapped around one or two knees depending on the resistance. Squeeze your glutes and lead with your chest to bring yourself up to the bar. Keep your core tight as you pull. Slowly lower with a count of 3 and repeat.
Tips: Have a friend spot you by giving you a tiny push on your upper back so you get complete reps!
Rx: 3 sets, 3-5 reps
1-arm Bent over Row
Position yourself in a sturdy stance on a bench. Line your shoulder over your wrist and hip over your knee. Grab the dumbbell with the open side hand and pull up toward your body, then lower and repeat. Ensure that you are driving your elbow up and back behind you!
Rx: 3 sets, 10 side
Full Body Circuit
Squat to Press
Stand with your feet just wider than your hips. Hold a plate in front of you, with elbows tight to your body. Lower your body into a squat keeping the weight at chin level. In one wii,k motion stand up from the squat position and push the weight overhead with a big squeeze in your butt at the top. Hold for one second at the top and repeat.
Rx: 12-15 reps, 3 sets
Swing to Front Raise
Place a DB or KB i.e. between your feet. Start in a position that you would take after a long tiresome run; bent over with your back flat and your rear sticking out behind you. Swing the DB between your legs and with a quick motion pop your hips forward with a big squeeze in your butt and raise the weight to about shoulder height. Keep that momentum, swing back and repeat.
Rx: 10-12 Reps, 3 sets
Split Squat jumps/ Lunge jumps
Start in a half kneeling position making sure that you have 90° angles in both knees. Push with your front foot and make a quick switch in your legs. Try to kerp your chest up and pump your arms while you move!
Rx: 10 side, 3 sets
Start in push up position with your glutes tight and body straight. With a slow controlled movement bring one knee to your chest while the opposite butt cheek stays engaged. Switch legs ensuring that your butt stays low. When ready, pick up the pace!
Tip: Try not to let your hips bounce up and down or sag. It should feel like you running horizontally!
Rx: 10-15 side, 3 sets