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45-Minute Arms and Abs Workout | Drop Set Format 

Build muscle, get your heart rate up, and burn calories using my new favorite workout format: DROP SETS! This 45-Minute ARMS AND ABS workout is an efficient way to build muscle in your upper body and tone your abs. The workout targets the biceps, triceps, chest, back, shoulder and core muscles using a set of dumbbells.

This is a sponsored post in partnership with the Minnesota Pork Board

My two most popular workout requests:

  1. Arm Workouts
  2. Ab Workouts 

So we’re combining these two powerhouse muscle groups in one challenging, effective drop set workout. Bonus, it’s a longer, 45-minute home workout for those of you who’ve been requesting longer workouts.

The focus of this arms and abs workout is building strength in the upper body (so grab some heavy weights).

The method to building strong arms — the drop set!

Drop sets are great for building muscle without access to super heavy weights like you would find in the gym. Making this your new go-to arm workout at home.

This might be my new favorite upper body workout on the blog (and I was definitely sore the next day)! AND, thanks to my brand sponsor, the Minnesota Pork Board, I’m sharing how you can refuel with protein-rich, lean pork recipes below.

Dumbbell Woodchop | Arms and Abs Workout

What is a Drop Set?

  • Drop Set
  • Strip Set
  • Descending Set
  • Running the Rack
  • Tight Drop Set
  • Wide Drop Set
  • Stripping Plates
  • Straight Sets

These are all strength training methods of reaching muscle fatigue, and therefore muscle growth (increasing muscle size).

You will always hear me encouraging you to “reach for those heavy weights!” A drop set workout is the perfect workout to try a heavier amount of weight than you normally would reach for.

Are Drop Sets Effective for Building Muscle?

YES. Drop sets build muscle strength AND endurance.

Drop sets allow us to work the muscle fibers responsible both for strength and endurance, because we’re lifting heavy AND for extended periods of time.

The basic idea is that you perform an exercise to the point you reach failure on the first set, and then decrease intensity or reps on the following sets.

There are two ways to perform a drop set:

  1. by reducing the weight with each set
  2. or reducing the number of reps in each set 

This arms and abs workout drops reps with each set.

How Many Calories Does this Arms and Abs Workout Burn?

This is a strength training focused upper body workout. But with limited rests, this workout is sure to raise your heart rate too.

I personally burned ~500 calories during this 45 minute workout. Note: calorie burn will vary from person to person.

Single Arm Lateral Raise | Arms Workout

45-Minute Arms and Abs Workout | Drop Set Format

The drop set format is great for building upper body strength and toned arms at home; a high intensity upper body workout.

This workout is made up of five circuits targeting the upper body — burning out the back, chest, biceps, shoulders AND triceps. The goal is to use the same set of weights for the entire workout. 

Workout Equipment: 

Medium-to-heavy set of dumbbells. Or a couple sets of dumbbells to toggle between. 

I suggest anywhere from 8-35 lbs.

I personally used 12 lbs, 15 lbs, and 25 lb dumbbells in this workout video.

We drop reps with each set, but the goal is to use heavy weights throughout the entire workout. You should reach a point where you want to drop the weights in the last 2-3 repetitions of each set.

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.

Workout Instructions:

Let me be your personal trainer for the day; follow along with the video at the top of this post.

Alternatively, work through the arm exercises below at your own pace.

Each circuit consists of 3 arm exercises, completed in a rep drop format (14 reps on the first set, 12 reps on the second set, and 10 reps on the third set). Then we close out each circuit with an ab burn out.


Back Exercises (x3 sets, 14/12/10 rep drop format):
1. Alternating Back Fly OR Double Arm Back Fly (depending on weights available)
2. Single Arm Row, Right
3. Single Arm Row, Left

Abs Exercises (x2 sets, timed intervals):
30 seconds: Mermaid Obliques, Right
30 seconds: Mermaid Obliques, Left
30 seconds: Low Plank Hip Taps


Chest Exercises (x3 sets, 14/12/10 rep drop format):
1. Single Arm Chest Press with Optional Single Leg Glute Bridge, Right
2. Single Arm Chest Press with Optional Single Leg Glute Bridge, Left
3. Standing Cross Body Chest Flys

Abs Exercises (x2 sets, timed intervals):
30 seconds: Hand Release Push Ups
30 seconds: 3 Cross Body Knee Drives + 1 Burpee


Shoulder Exercises (x3 sets, 14/12/10 rep drop format):
1. Arnold Press (alternating or double arm, pending weights)
2. Alternating Lat Raise or Double Lat Raise (pending weights)

Abs Exercises (x2 sets, timed intervals):
30 seconds: Crossbody Chop + Single Arm Shoulder Press – Right/Left
30 seconds: Sit Up + Alternating Shoulder Press + Pass


Bicep Exercises (x3 sets, 14/12/10 rep drop format):
1. Single Arm Hammer Curls, Right
2. Single Arm Hammer Curls, Left
3. Alternating Standard Bicep Curls

Ab Exercise (x1 set, timed intervals):
30 seconds: Seated Twist with DB


Triceps Exercises (x3 sets, 14/12/10 rep drop format):
1. Alternating or Double Arm Tricep Kick Backs
2. Lying Skull Crushers

Abs Exercises (x2 sets, timed intervals):
30 seconds: Reverse Plank Walk Out + 2 Toe Taps
30 seconds: Hallow Rock Hold

Single Arm Chest Press with Glute Bridge | Arms and Abs Workout

Refuel with Lean, High-Protein Pork Recipes

This arms workout is a HEAVY, strength training workout. So you want to refuel your body with high quality sources of protein to support muscle growth.

Enter these delicious, family-friendly recipes from the Minnesota Pork Board!

For all my lean protein-lovers out there, did you know a pork tenderloin is as lean as a chicken breast?

In fact, eight cuts of pork meet the USDA guidelines for “lean”, including:

  • Pork Tenderloin
  • Sirloin Pork Chop
  • Sirloin Pork Roast
  • New York Pork Chop
  • Porterhouse Chop
  • Ribeye Pork Chop
  • Pork Loin Roast

NUTRITION TIP: One of the easiest ways to choose lean cuts of pork is to look for “loin” or “chop” in the name.

Nutritional Benefits of Pork

Pork is an excellent source of protein and provides several important vitamins and minerals. A 3-ounce serving of pork is an “excellent” source of:

  • Protein: supports muscle growth
  • Selenium: supports thyroid health
  • Vitamin B-6: supports mood and brain health
  • Zinc: supports tissue repair and maintenance of a healthy immune system
  • Beta-alanine: form of amino acid found in pork and a crucial element in muscle development

Pork Recipes We Love

I love adding pork to our dinner rotation a few nights a week.

It’s flavorful, lean and affordable (and my whole family happily eats it for dinner, which is a huge win in my book). Our favorite recipes include:

Find more pork recipes at mnpork.com/porkplease/

Minnesota Pork Board

The Minnesota Pork Board (MPB) is funded by the 3,000 pig farming families in Minnesota and offers unique value to farmers and consumers through research, education, and promotion of pork.

This is a sponsored post in partnership with the Minnesota Pork Board. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Nourish Move Love, making the content you see on this blog possible.

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45-Minute Arms and Abs Workout

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  1. What an amazing arm workout! And abs too! I did this workout yesterday and lifted heavy, and my arms are sore today. I love working my upper body, so I really enjoyed this workout. Your videos are the best!

    • Rachelle! I’m so glad you liked this arms and abs workout, it’s a tough one! Glad you’re feeling sore, means you went heavy! Keep up the great work and keep coming back for more! -Lindsey

  2. Wow! I switched up this week’s workout order and did this on yesterday. I’m so feeling it today which proves what a great workout it was. Thanks for all the great workouts!!