Celebrate Your Right to Bare Arms: Easy Upper Body Workout

Upper Body Workout
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Ladies, it’s time to stop ignoring your arms while you’re at the gym. We see you over there on the elliptical, holding onto the side of the machine and ignoring the handlebars. If you’re worried about bulking up by even thinking of doing a push-up, don’t be. Women have about 1/10 of the testosterone of men, meaning that even if you tried, you wouldn’t be able to hold a candle to Arnold Schwarzenegger. But if you introduce some strength training to your gym routine, you’ll be able to blow dry your entire head without getting tired and bring all the groceries inside with just one trip. Follow this upper body workout program, and you’ll be selling tickets to your own gun show in no time.

Upper Body Workout Exercises You Can Try Today

Do you need a little inspiration for your next arm workout? Group Power is the perfect place to learn new strength training moves and proper form. Each of the exercises below can be performed with a barbell, dumbbells, or small weight plates.

Bicep Curl

Main muscle worked: Biceps

An oldie but goodie. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and grip your barbell with your palms facing the ceiling. Take a deep breath, and as you breathe out, curl the barbell towards your shoulders. Make sure that only your forearms are moving and that your elbows aren’t glued to your side – that’s cheating! Hold the bar at shoulder-level for a second or two, then slowly bring the barbell back to starting position. That’s one repetition.

bicep curl

Standing Upright Row

Main muscle worked: Traps (upper back and shoulders)

Hold your barbell with an overhand grip, the bar resting lightly on your thighs. Raise the bar towards your chin, keeping the bar close to your torso at all times. Pro tip: Keep your elbows slightly higher than your forearms. Once you’re at the top of the movement, pause for a beat then lower back down for a count of two.

upright row

Drag Curl

Main muscle worked: Biceps

No, this isn’t a cool new hairstyle. It’s a move that will make your biceps sore the next day. Hold your barbell with an underhand grip, arms close to your sides. Instead of curling your bar up, you’ll be dragging it up your chest, hence the name. Simply pull your elbows back, squeezing your upper back until your bar is chest level. Slowly lower back down to start, making sure that your barbell keeps in contact with your torso the whole time.

drag curl

Incline Push-up

Main muscle worked: Chest

You can’t have a proper upper body workout without any push-ups. This tried and true move gets kicked up a notch by adding props. But don’t worry – these can be easier than doing them on the floor. Group Power students create their own benches using step platforms. The easier you want the move to be, the higher you should build your step. If you’re out on the gym floor, feel free to experiment with a weight bench or plyo box. Once you have your incline all set, place your arms onto the step, and assume a push-up position. Keeping your body in a straight line, lower yourself into a push-up, and slowly rise up to start. We challenge you to do a few on your toes, but you can also modify these push-ups to be done on your knees.

incline push up

Shoulder Press

Main muscle worked: Shoulders

Believe it or not, shoulder strength plays a huge role in your daily activities, from household chores to picking up your toddler. One of our favorite exercises for your shoulders are shoulder presses. This move can either be done seated or standing, but we prefer to stand. Grip your barbell about shoulder-width apart, and lift it over your head. This is your starting position. Exhale as you carefully lower the bar to your chin for two counts, and then raise it back to starting position. We recommend starting with a weight similar to what your used for your bicep curls. Add more weight if you need a little extra challenge.

shoulder press

Lateral Raise

Main muscle worked: Shoulders

If your shoulders aren’t already on fire, they will be after a few reps of these! Give the barbell a rest, and pick up some light dumbbells or weight plates. Trust us – you’ll want to select a weight between 3 to 10 pounds to maintain proper form. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, one weight in each hand at your side. If you’re using dumbbells, you’ll want to hold them with an overhand grip. Keep your arms straight as you slowly raise the weights to the side until they are about shoulder height. Pause at the top for a moment, and then lower down to starting position. This is one rep.

lateral raise

Create your own workout

Don’t have time to squeeze a Group Power class into your schedule this week? No worries! Here’s a customized upper body workout you can do in your own free time.

  • Beginners: 5 minutes cardio. 10 reps each. Repeat 2x.
  • Intermediate: 15 minutes cardio. 12 reps each. Repeat 3x.
  • Advanced: 30 minutes cardio. 15 reps each. Repeat 3x.


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