Okay, first off, what's up with this cold(er) weather in the Northeast?! It's well into April - we should be outside in jackets, not winter coats! But I promise that warmer weather is right around the corner (right?). Tank tops and strapless dresses might not be in your regular wardrobe rotation yet, but that's no excuse not to work that upper body to debut once the temps turn up!
Today's workout involves a pair of dumbbells and 4 different supersets all focusing on either the back or biceps, with some sneaky shoulder work in there too. As described below, pick a heavy weight. No 5-pounders here. Go big. Ladies, if you want sleek-yet-muscular arms for the summer, you have to pick up the heavy weights. Remember, "heavy" is relative, so choose based on your own fitness ability. Ready to get started?!
Tank Top Arms Superset Workout
What You'll Need: a pair of heavy dumbbells for each exercise. I suggest using a weight that allows you to do 15 reps of each exercise with moderate difficulty. You don't want to completely fatigue out on the first set because you'll go through this workout 3 times total, but you do want to feel a good burn after last few reps in the first set.
What You'll Do: go through all exercises 3 times total for the full workout, moving from one exercise to the next with breaks only between supersets if you need them.
15 Regular Push Ups - get into a push up position with a weight under each hand. Keep your abs engaged and lower your chest to the floor performing 1 push up. Keep your spine aligned and those hands planted under your shoulders. Do 15 reps.
15 Lawnmowers (each side) - hold a single dumbbell in your left hand. Keep your body in a lunge-like position with your left leg straight back behind you and right knee bent. Rest the right elbow on your right knee, and hold the weight straight down so it's touching the floor. From here, bring that weight up across your chest, turning your torso slightly to the left as the weight comes up, as if you're starting a lawnmower. Bring the weight back down to the ground. That's 1 rep. Continue for 15 reps on one side, then switch.
15 Slow-Up Fast-Down Curls - just like they sound, you're doing full bicep curls here, but bring the arms up slowly and down fast. To help keep a cadence, count out a beat of 4 on the way up, and 2 on the way down. Be careful when you go down to not just drop your arms as fast as you can. That movement should still be controlled, and leave a bit of a bend in the elbows at the bottom. Complete 15 curls.
15 Wide Hammer Curls - stand with a dumbbell end to end in each hand, palms facing away from you, elbows at your sides by your ribs. From here, curl your arms up laterally, so you're bringing the weights out to the side and up towards your shoulders, keeping your palms facing away from you. Do 15 curls.
15 Alternating Push Up Rows - in a plank position with a weight in each hand (or near it), do 1 push up. At the top of the push up, alternate rows on each arm while your body is in a plank (pull the weight straight up to your armpit). Go back into another push up, and then another set of rows. Each push up/2 row combo = 1 rep. Do 15 reps.
15 Bent Over Rows - grab your dumbbells in a standing position, hinging forward slightly at the waist, keeping your back flat (no curvature either way), knees slightly bent, and arms hanging down straight with palms facing you. From here, quickly lift the dumbbells so your upper arm is parallel to your body, and your shoulder blades come together. Do 15 reps quickly.
15 Fast-Up Slow-Down Curls - these are the reverse of the curls in Superset 2. Bring them up fast (2-count), and down slow (4-count). Really concentrate on lowering the weight slowly and keep it controlled. Do 15 curls.
15 Concentration Curls (each arm) - kneel down in a lunge on your right leg, right elbow resting on your knee, left arm holding a dumbbell with that elbow resting on your right hand. From here, do 15 biceps curls, concentrating on using only your biceps muscles to move the weight (meaning, no swinging of the arm or jerking your upper body to gain momentum). Do 15 reps on the left, then switch to the right.
Remember to repeat these supersets 2 more times through for the complete workout! Stay focused on getting those arms ready to bare this summer!
Outfit Details: Sonar capris & tank - Athleta
Readers: chat with me! What are some of your favorite upper body exercises using dumbbells? Do you ever do supersets in your fitness routine? If so, how do you like them? If not, do you think you'll incorporate them to improve strength?