- Home Workouts
Previously seen on Nourish Move Love — we updated this upper body workout for women to include a full length, follow along, home workout video!
Splitting up muscle groups by body region, or split training, is important when strength training.
The goal is to exhaust and breakdown muscle tissue to build strength and lean muscle mass.
For example, weight training arms on Monday and legs on Tuesday. This allows you to build muscle and then let the muscles rest and recover before training them again.
That’s why all of my workout plans and calendars alternate lower body, upper body and full body workout routines.
I like to mix it up, but a sample weekly workout routine looks like this:
For example, take this 30-minute upper body HIIT workout and add-on these 5 best upper body exercises to really finish off the arms; making it a 40-45-minute upper body workout.
The goal is to build upper body strength and toned arms using a set of dumbbells to complete these five upper body exercises.
Each upper body exercise is designed to target a specific muscle group — back, biceps, chest, shoulders and triceps.
Medium-to-heavy set of dumbbells.
The goal is to complete this rep-drop workout using the same set of dumbbells the entire time. That said, you can always start with a heavier set of dumbbells and drop down to a lighter set of dumbbells as your upper body fatigues.
I’m using a set of 10 lb dumbbells in this workout video. But if I were doing this upper body workout at home I would push for 12-15 lb dumbbells.
Let me be your certified personal trainer for the day. Follow along with the guided, full-length video at the top of this post.
Or you can work off the five upper body exercises below at your own pace.
This upper body workout is done in a rep-drop, or repetition drop, format. Meaning you’ll decrease the number of reps you perform for each upper body exercise as you move through the workout.
For example, for the first set you’ll perform 12 reps per exercise. Then on the second set, you’ll perform 10 reps per exercise, then 8 reps, and so on until you reach 4 reps per upper body exercise.
You’ll complete 5 sets of the upper body workout total; dropping reps with each set.
Performed in a rep-drop format: 12-10-8-6-4
See the workout video above for a demonstration of each upper body exercise.
What muscles are used in bicep curls: The front of the upper arm and lower arm, the bicep muscles. To build toned arms. You also use these bicep muscles anytime you pick something up.
Bicep Curl Modifications: If you feel yourself using momentum rather than your arm muscles to lift and lower the weights (using your body to swing the weights), use lighter weights or alternate arms rather than curling both arms at once.
What muscles does the Arnold press work: All three heads of the deltoids, also known as your shoulder muscles. To build defined shoulders and improve posture.
Arnold Press Modifications: If you feel yourself arching your back to press the weights overhead, use lighter weights or alternate arms rather than doing both arms at once.
What muscles do skull crushers work: the triceps, formerly known as the triceps brachii muscle, or back of your arm. Skull crushers tighten and tone the back of the arm, a common ‘trouble area’ for women as they age.
Skull Crusher Modifications: If you only have heavy dumbbells, you can drop from two dumbbells down to one dumbbell to perform this exercise.
Which muscle do push ups work: Primarily the chest muscles or pectoral muscles. But push ups also engage the shoulders, triceps and core. Push ups are hands-down one of the most effective ways to strengthen your entire upper body using just your body weight.
Push Up Modifications: I have a whole post on 7 Ways to Modify the Push Up. The most common way to modify a push up is by dropping to one or both knees.
What do reverse grip bent over rows work: This compound exercise builds strength in both the lower back and upper back. Targeting specifically the lats, rhomboids, and lower back.
Reverse Grip Bent Over Row Modifications: Perform this bilateral exercise as a unilateral exercise, by focusing the row on one side of the body. Use one dumbbell to perform a single arm row. You can see an example of a single arm row in this post in the 8 best back exercises for women.
A rep-drop workout, or repetition drop workout, means that you’ll decrease the number of reps per exercise each set.
The goal of this rep-drop format is to maintain (or sometimes increase) the weight you are using as you decrease the reps performed.
Therefore you are decreasing the ‘work time’ as your muscles fatigue throughout the workout.
This format strives to work each upper body muscle to the point of failure. Meaning you should be STRUGGLING to complete the last few reps of each exercise with good form.