Get a good sweat going with this killer upper body routine.
If you’re a regular reader of health and fitness publications, you’ve probably noticed that there are tons and tons of lower body workouts out there. But your upper is equally, if not more important. After all, the vast majority of tasks that you perform throughout each day depend on it—typing on your keyboard at work; lifting objects; driving—all of these important functions rely on upper body strength, agility, and coordination.
Your heart is also in your upper body, as well as most of your major arteries and smaller blood vessels. And what about that grey matter up in the old noggin? Your brain is an important organ too, isn’t it?
With this workout, you’ll be able to really get the blood pumping throughout your entire upper body. The more that you increase your upper body’s blood flow and circulation, the better you’ll be able to “clean out the pipes.” That is to say, reduce the amount of harmful cholesterol and plaque that can build-up within your body’s blood vessels. An increased blood flow to your brain is an additional benefit, and can result in clearer thought processes, better focus, and more productivity at work.
Starting with the pushup, work your way down through all of the exercises. Do each one for 60 seconds, and take 30 seconds in-between each one to rest. Then repeat the entire circuit once again. In all, the entire routine takes 12 1/2 minutes (including rests).
Begin by getting down on all fours with your hands placed slightly wider than shoulder width apart on the floor. Your ankles should aligned with your shoulders.
Keeping your abs tight, lower your body until your chest almost touches the floor, pause for a beat, and then push your body back up to its starting position. Always be sure to keep your elbows tucked in instead of letting them flare out to your sides.
Grab a couple of 15 or 20 lb. dumbbells and get down on all fours just as you would if you were going to perform pushups. The dumbbells should be parallel with your body so that your palms are facing each other.
“Pop” one dumbbell upwards so that it almost touches the side of your chest. Hold it there for 1-2 seconds and then gradually lower it back down to the floor. Repeat with the opposite arm.
One-Arm Dumbbell Row
Bend down over a workout bench so that your body is parallel with its length. Brace one hand on it and keep that arm slightly bent at the elbow. Also place that same side’s knee upon the bench, and keep your head up and looking forward.
Grasp a dumbbell in the other hand and let it hang down at your side. In one smooth motion, lift the dumbbell upwards so that it almost touches the side of your chest. Gradually lower it back down to the starting position. Repeat this exercise with the opposite arm once you go through the routine for the second time.
Start this exercise by getting down into a plank position, resting on your elbows (directly beneath your shoulders) and toes. Make sure that your feet are shoulder-width apart and that your body forms a perfectly straight line.
Suck your abs in and raise your hips as high as you can. Pause for a couple of beats, and the lower your body back down to the plank position.
Start in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your core muscle tight, squat down and place your hands on the floor in front of your feet.
Kick your feet out so that your ankles form a straight line with your shoulders into a high plank position. Perform a pushup, and then rise upwards to your feet again. Instead of just standing, jump up into the air with your hands above your head. Repeat.
Keep it Going
Five exercises may not seem like a lot, but with only 30 seconds of rest in-between sets, you’ll quickly realize just how challenging this routine is.
Tip: Keep a stopwatch handy to keep track of how much time elapses for each exercise and rest period.