Upper Body Weight Routine

This upper body routine is performed with hand weights (dumbbells) and can be done at home or in a gym. The routine includes exercises for the following muscle groups:

  • Chest
  • Back
  • Shoulders
  • Biceps
  • Triceps

The full routine takes 35 minutes.

 

Before you Begin

Warm up

 

Detailed Instructions

Perform the number of repetitions indicated and then repeat for the number of sets, with 30 second rest between sets.

 

1. Chest Press (10 reps, 2 sets)

Chest Press

Type of exercise: Chest

Benefits: Targets large muscles of the upper chest

Suggested Weights: Light to medium dumbbells

Instructions:

1. Lie on your back on the floor, bench, or stability ball and hold weights over chest, elbows bent at 90-degree angles, palms facing out.

2. Press arms straight up without locking the elbows and bring them close together.

3. Then lower back to starting position

4. Do 2 sets of 10 repetitions.

 

2. Chest Fly (10 reps, 2 sets)

Chest Fly

 

Type of exercise: Chest

Benefits: Works major muscles of the chest with focus on the outer part of the chest

Suggested Weights: Light to medium dumbbells

Instructions:

1.    Lie on the floor, bench or stability ball. Hold weights over the chest with the palms facing each other.

2.    Keeping the elbows slightly bent, lower the arms out to the sides and down until they're level with the chest.

3.    Keep the elbows in a fixed position and avoid lowering the weights too low.

4.    Squeeze chest to bring the arms back up as though you're hugging a tree.

5.    Repeat for 2 sets of 10 reps.

 

3. Dumbbell Rows (10 reps, 2 sets)

Dumbbell Rows

 

Type of exercise: Back

Benefits: Works lower back

Suggested Weights: Light to medium dumbbells

Instructions:

1. Bend over at the waist until the torso is parallel to floor or at 45 degree angle, abs in and knees slightly bent.

2. Hold weights straight down without locking the elbows.

3. Bend the elbows and pull the weights up until the elbows are level with the torso in a rowing motion. Try to keep the shoulders relaxed and away from the ears.

4. Lower and repeat for 2 sets of 10 reps.

 

4. Reverse Fly (10 reps, 2 sets)

Reverse Fly

 

Type of exercise: Back

Benefits: Targets the 'posture' muscles of the upper back

Suggested Weights: Light to medium dumbbells

Instructions:

1.    Bend over at the waist until the torso is parallel to floor or at 45 degree angle, with arms hanging down and weights under the knees, abs in and knees slightly bent.

2.    Try not to collapse on the legs but, instead, keep the back straight and the abs engaged.

3.    Lift the arms out to the sides, up to shoulder level, squeezing shoulder blades together.

4.    Keep the elbows slightly bent and only lift to shoulders.

5.    Lower and repeat for 2 sets of 10 repetitions.

 

5. Overhead Press (10 reps, 1 set)

Overhead press

 

Type of exercise: Shoulders

Benefits: Hits every part of the shoulder with an emphasis on the front and middle part of the deltoid.

Suggested Weights: Medium to heavy dumbbells

Instructions:

1.    Begin standing with elbows bent and weights next to the ears.

2.    Press the weights up over the head.

3.    Lower the weights, bringing the hands next to the ears and repeat for 1 set of 10 reps.

 

6. Lateral Raise (10 reps, 1 set)

Lateral Raise

 

Type of exercise: Shoulders

Benefits: Back part of the deltoid

Suggested Weights: Light to medium dumbbells

Instructions:

1.    Stand and hold weights with arms straight down at the sides, palms face the thighs.

2.    Keeping a slight bend in the elbow, lift the arms out to the sides, stopping at shoulder level.

3.    Exhale and lower back to start

4.    Repeat for 1 set of 10 reps.

 

7. Front Raise (10 reps, 1 set)

Front Raise

 

Type of exercise: Shoulders

Benefits: Front part of the deltoid

Suggested Weights: Light to medium dumbbells

Instructions:

1.    Stand and hold weights with arms straight down at the sides, palms face the thighs.

2.    Slowly lift straight arms up and out in front of you to shoulder level, keeping elbows slightly bent.

3.    Exhale and lower back down.

4.    Repeat for 1 set of 10 repetitions.

 

8. Upright Row (10 reps, 1 set)

Upright row 1Upright row 2

 

Type of exercise: Shoulders

Benefits: Upright rows work the middle deltoid as well as the upper back and bicep muscles.

Suggested Weights: Light to medium dumbbells

Instructions:

1.    Stand and hold weights with arms straight down in front of you, hands close together and palms facing you.

2.    Pull the weights up, by bending elbows, until they're at about chest level or higher.

3.    Your elbows should be slightly above the shoulders and the wrists straight.

4.    Try not to shrug as you pull the weights up.

5.    Lower the weight and repeat for 1 set of 10 repetitions.

 

9. Bicep Curl (10 reps, 2 sets)

Bicep Curl

 

Type of exercise: Biceps

Benefits: Works both heads of the biceps

Suggested Weights: Medium to heavy dumbbells

Instructions:

1.    Stand with feet about hip-width apart, abs pulled in (i.e. engaged) as you hold dumbbells in front of the thighs.

2.    Squeeze the biceps and bend the arms, curling the weights up towards the shoulders.

3.    Keep the elbows stationary and only bring the weight as high as you can without moving the elbows.

4.    Slowly lower the weights, keeping a slight bend in the elbows at the bottom (e.g., don't lock the joints and try to keep tension on the muscle)

5.    Repeat for 2 sets of 10 reps.

 

10. Concentration Curl (10 reps, 1 set per arm)

Concentration curls 1Concentration curl 2

 

Type of exercise: Biceps

Benefits: Focuses energy on biceps working them in different ways

Suggested Weights: Medium to heavy dumbbells

Instructions:

1.    Squat or sit on a stability ball and hold a dumbbell in the right hand.

2.    Keeping the abs engaged, prop the right elbow against the inside of the right thigh.

3.    Contract the bicep and curl the hand towards the shoulder without moving the elbow. You don't have to touch your shoulder.

4.    Lower all the way down (keep a very slight bend in the elbow to keep tension in the biceps)

5.    Repeat for 10 reps.

6.    Move weight to left hand and repeat exercise on opposite side for 10 reps.

 

11. Hammer Curl (10 reps, 2 sets)

Hammer curl

Type of exercise: Biceps

Benefits: Targets biceps and forearms

Suggested Weights: Medium to heavy dumbbells

Instructions:

1.    Stand with feet about hip-width apart, abs engaged as you hold dumbbells in front of the thighs.

2.    Turn the hands so that the palms face each other and squeeze the biceps to curl the weights towards the shoulders.

3.    Keep the elbows stationary and only bring the weight as high as you can without moving the elbows.

4.    Slowly lower the weights, keeping a slight bend in the elbows at the bottom (e.g., don't lock the joints and try to keep tension on the muscle)

5. Repeat for 2 sets of 10 reps.

 

12. Kickback (10 reps, 2 sets)

Kickbacks

Type of exercise: Triceps

Benefits: Works the back of the arms

Suggested Weights: Medium dumbbells

Instructions:

1.    Hold weights in both hands and bend over from your hips until your torso is at a 45-degree angle or parallel to the floor. Bend the knees slightly and keep the abs engaged to protect the lower back.

2.    Begin the movement by bending the arms and pulling the elbows up to torso level.

3.    Holding that position, straighten the arms out behind you, squeezing the triceps muscles. Be sure movement comes from the elbow with no swinging of arms.

4.    Bend the arms back to starting position and repeat for 10 reps.

 

13. Tricep Extension (10 reps, 2 sets)

Tricep Extensions

 

Type of exercise: Triceps

Benefits: Works the back of the arms

Suggested Weights: Light to medium dumbbells

Instructions:

1.    Lie on the floor, bench or stability ball with a weight in each hand. Extend the arms straight up over the chest, palms facing in.

2.    Bend the elbows and lower the hands until they're next to the ears, elbows at about 90-degree angles.

3.    Squeeze the triceps to straighten the arms without locking the joints.

4.    Keep the elbows steady throughout the movement, only moving the forearms.

5.    Repeat for 2 sets of 10 reps.

 

After You Finish

Cool Down