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Dumbbell Upper Body Workout for Women


Hey girl! 

If you're in a rut with your upper body training, I have a fab workout for you!

In general, I am a big fan of mastering the basics and focusing on progressive overload to build muscle aka bodybuilding style training - that means sticking to your standard movements and really working to lift heavier weights progressively over time.

However, sometimes I just need to spice up the exercises and try something new! 

This workout includes several compound moves and different variations of your usual, staple upper body moves. 

Remember, THE most important strategy for an effective fitness regimen is finding what you LIKE doing and doing more of that consistently. If you enjoy it, you will adhere to your routine and see the best results. 

The Equipment

All you need for this workout is a single pair of dumbbells. If you have more equipment variety, I do recommend using a heavier pair of weights for the rowing movements, as the back muscles are larger than the other upper body muscles being worked, and, therefore, can handle a heavier load.

The best way to pick your weights is to apply the 2 rep rule to your lifts. The 2 rep rule states that the weight selected should allow you to complete the whole set with good form and still feel like you have 2 reps left in the tank if you hypothetically HAD to complete 2 more.

If you feel like you could pump out 10 more reps at the end of the set, you should select heavier weights. If you are failing on the last rep of every set or barely making it through all of the reps, you should select a lighter weight. 

IF you only have one pair of dumbbells available, simply adjust the reps of this workout such that you feel like you have about 2 reps left upon completion of your set. 

The Workout

  1. Standard Curl to Wide Arm Curl 4x10
  2. Bicep Iso Hold & Curl 4x12
  3. Skull Crushers (3:1 Tempo) 4x12
  4. Row to Tricep Kickback 4x10
  5. Alternating Arm Dumbbell Row 4x12
  6. L Raise (Hold Each Rep 2 Seconds) 4x10
  7. Shoulder Press to Y Press 4x10

Exercise Instructions

1. Standard Curl to Wide Arm Curl 

1. Grab the dumbbells with a neutral grip (palms facing in). Arms are fully extended.

2. Now slowly curl up, at the same time twisting your wrists so that palms face forward, until your arms form 90 degree angles.

3. Slowly lower the weights back down.

4. Slowly curl back up and out to your sides until you achieve maximum contraction, squeeze for a second, and resist the weights as you slowly let arms return to the starting position.

6. Repeat.

2. Bicep Iso Hold & Curl

1. Grab a dumbbell in each hand and curl the left arm so it sits at a 90 degree angle to your body.

2. Hold that position in your left arm and start by curling the weight in your right hand toward your shoulder.

3. Pause, and then slowly lower the left arm to the start position. The right arm should now hold the 90 degree angle to your body.

4. Repeat the movement, alternating arms each time. 

3. Skull Crushers (3:1 Tempo)

1. Lie on an exercise mat, holding the dumbbells in front of your forehead with elbows bent, feet flat on the floor.

2. Press the dumbbells up until your arms are straight. This part of the movement should be fast (1 second.)

3. Lower the dumbbells returning to starting position. This part of the movement should be slow (3 seconds.)

4. Repeat.

4. Row to Tricep Kickback

1. When performing this exercise, maintain a safe back by arching or keeping a neutral spine throughout the exercise.

2. Grab the dumbbells and pull them to your stomach, retracting your shoulder blade and flexing the elbow.

3. Push the weights back behind you until your upper and lower arms form a straight line. Keep the upper arms stationary as you do so. 

 4. Slowly bring the weights forward and down, reversing the movement to return to the starting position. 

5. Repeat.

5. Alternating Arm Dumbbell Row

1. When performing this exercise, maintain a safe back by arching or keeping a neutral spine throughout the exercise.

2. Grab the dumbbells and pull one of them to your stomach, retracting your shoulder blade and flexing the elbow.

3. Slowly lower the dumbbell and repeat with the opposite side.

6. L Raise (Hold Each Rep 2 Seconds)

1. Start by gripping the dumbbells with a neutral grip (palms facing inward.)

2. Keeping the arms straight, lift the dumbbells up with one arm out directly in front of you and the other out to your side until they're at shoulder level and form an 'L' shape.

3. Pause and hold the rep for 2 seconds and then slowly return to the starting position.

4. Continue alternating between front and side until the prescribed number of reps have been completed for both the front and lateral raise.

7. Shoulder Press to Y Press

1. Stand upright holding dumbbells at shoulder height, fists outwards.

2. Press the dumbbells overhead, extending your arms fully. Make sure to keep your back flat and remain upright throughout.

3. Slowly lower the dumbbells back down until your upper arms form a straight line. 

4. Now press the weights up overhead and away from each other until your arms are fully extended. Your arms and body should now form a 'Y' shape.

5. Slowly lower the weights back down until your upper arms again form a straight line.

6. Repeat each movement for the prescribed number of reps.

Want an exact game plan to reach your fitness goals and daily accountability?

I've been helping women just like you build muscle, lose fat, and improve their metabolism with an easy to follow flexible diet and FUN workout routine. 

If you're ready to say HECK YES to changing your health, your body, and your life, APPLY HERE for 1 on 1 coaching. I will be there to coach you every step of the way so we can get you better, lasting results. 

Not convinced? Check out some of these amazing success stories from women JUST LIKE YOU. If you're sitting there telling yourself you're too old, too far off, too busy, or too tired, STOP RIGHT NOW.

You can do this no matter where you're at in life. Don't hold yourself back from the quality of life you CAN and WILL have if you take the leap. 

No more waiting for the perfect time. There will never be a perfect moment. The time to make a change is always RIGHT NOW! Let me show you what you can do. 

To Your Good Health & Success,

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