Workout of the week: 30-min upper body strength workout
ALL LEVELS / upper body strength workout / 30 minutes
Equipment: Dumbbells, pull-up bar & kettlebell
Having well-defined, sculpted arms, chest, and shoulders is an appealing trait, and it surely is one of the most desired by regular gym-goers. However, building and keeping a robust upper body has multiple other advantages.
Starting with one equally wanted by people who enroll in a gym: upper body training improves your posture. This growth in strength will also enhance your fitness performance while boosting your metabolism. All this combined makes it safe to say strength workouts help make your everyday life easier.
So, here’s a 30-min upper body strength workout to help you collect all these benefits. It’s divided into 3 groups, each targeting different parts of your upper body. All groups combined, you have 8 exercises to do for 40 seconds each and divided in the following way: 1st group has 3 exercises and targets your chest; the 2nd group has 2 exercises (although one is unilateral) and focuses on your back, and the 3rd group has 3 exercises again and works your shoulders. You must complete all 4 rounds of each group before moving to the next. Rest 30 seconds between rounds and 1-minute between groups.
Dumbbell chest press
Kettlebell bent over row (unilateral)
Dumbbell alternate shoulder press
Dumbbell upright row
Kettlebell overhead press
Let’s get stronger!
8 exercises total
40 seconds each exercise
4 rounds each group
30 seconds rest between round
1-minute rest between groups
Equipment: Dumbbells, pull-up bar & kettlebell
WORKING OUT FROM HOME? NO PROBLEM.
If you don’t have the equipment originally needed for this workout, you can substitute it with these everyday items or use these alternative exercises.
Dumbbells = water bottles filled with water and / or sand
Kettlebell = bag with some weights, such as books, cans of food
Pull-up bar = use a towel to perform a back extension row
WORKOUT EXERCISE LIST
1 – PUSH-UP
Start in a plank position with arms straight, shoulders above wrists, and body in a straight line.
Engage the core and glutes.
Keeping the shoulders over the wrists, lower the whole body towards the floor, dropping comfortably as low as you can.
Push the body upwards and return to the start position. Repeat.
2 – DUMBBELL CHEST PRESS
Grab two suitably heavy dumbbells, curl them to your chest, and lie back on the bench
Engage your core, set the shoulders, and turn the dumbbells so that the fingers are facing forwards. Position the dumbbells so that the elbows are bent to 90 degrees and in line with the shoulders. The dumbbells should sit close to the armpits (a maximum stretch for the chest). This is the starting position for the dumbbell chest press.
Keeping the core engaged and low back in neutral, press the dumbbells straight up and in towards each other, squeezing the chest muscles as you press. Pause at the top before returning to the start position.
3 – DIPS
Sit on the edge of the gym bench. Grasp the edge of it, pointing your fingers to your feet. Make sure your legs are extended, with your heels touching the floors.
With your palms, press to lift your body and slide forward, clearing the edge of the bench.
Now lower yourself until your elbows are bent.
Slowly push yourself back up to the starting position.
1 – KETTLEBELL BENT OVER ROW
40 seconds each arm
Lean forward at a 45-degree angle.
Keep the weight on your heels and bend your knees.
Keep your back flat from shoulder to hips.
With the kettlebell on your right arm, row the kettlebell up towards your hip.
Squeeze your shoulder blades together.
Control the movement and bring the kettlebell down.
Perform the exercise for 40 seconds and then switch arms.
2 – PULL-UP
Hang from a fixed bar with a comfortable overhand grip.
Set the shoulders by pulling back and down slightly; engage the core with a slight posterior pelvic tilt. This set up will give you the classic ‘dish/hollow’ shape. This is your default position form herein.
Maintain this shape as you perform a pull-up.
Slowly return to your default position and repeat.
1 – DUMBBELL ALTERNATE SHOULDER PRESS
Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding two dumbbells.
Clean the dumbbells to the front rack position. Set the shoulders and engage the core.
While maintaining an upright posture, press one dumbbell overhead.
Keep the other one tightly in the front rack position.
Return and perform the same movement with the other arm.
2 – DUMBBELL UPRIGHT ROW
Grab two dumbbells and let them hang in front of you, at your arms-length, palms facing your body and shoulder-width apart.
Inhale, engage your core while keeping your back straight. Your chest should be proud, and you should be looking forward.
Lift the dumbbells straight up toward the chin. Elbows should lead the movement, and your arms shouldn’t go higher than parallel to your shoulders.
Pause at the top before getting back to the starting position.
3 – KETTLEBELL OVERHEAD PRESS
40 seconds (20 on each arm)
Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
Hold a kettlebell close to your chest with your elbow and rest it on the back of your arm.
Engage your core and push your arm overhead, opening your elbow to the side as you fully press the kettlebell up.
Slowly return back to the starting position and repeat.
There you have it, our upper body strength workout. Below you’ll find more challenging training sessions: