I love a good upper body and abs workout!
Building upper body strength makes me feel so confident, accomplished, and ready to take on anything.
In this routine – and in any strength-training routine – using modifications or lower impact versions is a smart way to safely build your strength.
Learn the moves, learn the form, and work within your limits as you get stronger.
Do not tell yourself you’re failing or “not doing enough” because you’re doing a variation/mod. Showing up and doing YOUR workout is the right way to do the workout.
Listen to your body and support yourself as you progress. It’s not a competition, it’s a practice. Remember, we’re here for the long haul and to build a strong fitness foundation for years to come!
One-off workouts are great, but having a plan to follow is even better! Take a 30-day Challenge in Rock Your Life and have workouts like this formatted into a plan to follow!
Upper Body and Core Domination
Equipment: Weighted Object (water bottles, household objects, dumbbells), Optional Elevated Surface
Format: Perform each move for the prescribed time and repetitions and repeat for 3 rounds.
Move 1: Burpees (0:30)
- Begin standing with your feet slightly wider than hip distance apart.
- Bend your knees and plant your hands on the floor or mat in front of you (hands stacked directly below shoulders). Jump or step your feet back into a tall plank position, holding your belly button in and up to keep your core engaged.
- Keeping your core engaged, bring your body all the way down to the ground until your chest and thighs touch the ground.
- Powerfully press yourself back up to a tall plank position and then jump or step your feet back up towards your hands.
- Load your weight in your heels and powerfully drive up to a jump.
- MOD: Do this on an elevated surface and step your feet in and out for a lower impact movement.
Move 2: Chest Press to Reverse Crunch (8-12)
- Start lying on the ground with legs bent and heels planted firmly, with your lower back making contact with the mat.
- Hold your weights straight over your chest with your arms extended while bracing your core, and engaging your glutes.
- Bend your elbows and lower the weights until your arms reach 90 degrees and then press the weights back up to return to your starting position and repeat for the allotted reps.
- Maintaining the contact of your lower back with the mat, lift your legs up toward the ceiling for a reverse crunch. Option to do this with your knees bent (helps as you’re building core strength) or legs straight.
- Slowly lower back down, plant your feet and repeat.
Finisher: Cross Punch Crescent Kick (0:30)
- Come into a fighter stance with your left foot slightly in front of your right, and get light on your feet.
- Punch forward with your left arm, then punch forward with your right arm, pivoting the back right foot slightly to give you plenty of core support as you punch. Rest your hands in soft fists up by your face as you prepare for the kicks.
- Kick with your back leg in front and across your body, imagining that you’re drawing a crescent with your foot (as high as you’re comfortable with).
- Switch your front and back foot so your left foot is back and crescent kick with your left.
- MOD: Keep your knee bent and draw the crescent with your knee. This is a great way to see how tight your hips are, and if one is tighter than the other.
Move 1: Reverse Fly to Bent Row Kickback (8-12)
- Stand with your core engaged, chest up, shoulders rolled back, and weights in hand.
- Hinge forward at the waist to be at 45 degrees, and engage between your shoulders, so they’re not rounding forward, allowing your dumbbells to hang beneath your chest and keeping your gaze neutral.
- Lift both arms out to the side, maintaining a slight bend in the elbows and squeezing your shoulder blades together.
- Return to center and perform a row by pulling the weights up to your sides while keeping your elbows close to the body and squeezing your back muscles.
- While in this row position perform a tricep kickback by kicking your arms straight back and contracting your triceps.
- Return to center and repeat.
Move 2: Half Curl to External Rotation (8-12)
- Begin standing, holding your weighted objects in hand, turn your palms out to face in front of you and pull your shoulder blades back and down with your core engaged.
- Keeping the upper arms stationary, perform a half bicep curl with both arms by curling the weights up toward your shoulders and stopping at 90 degrees (ending palms facing the ceiling).
- Keeping your arms in this 90 degree position and elbows close to your body, externally rotate your arms by pulling the weights out laterally.
- Reverse the movement to return to the center in your 90 degree position and then reverse to your starting position and repeat.
Finisher: Jack Press (0:30)
- Start standing with feet together and your arms upright at a 90 degree angle position, pulling your shoulders back and down.
- Jump your feet out wide as you press your arms straight up while maintaining an active back.
- Jump your feet back together as you bring your arms back down to your starting position and repeat. Really focus on keeping your shoulder blades pulling back through the whole movement.
- MOD: Take out the jump and simply step your feet out one at a time while pressing your arms overhead.
Move 1: 2 Push Ups to 4 Mountains Climbers (0:30)
- Begin in a tall plank, with your hands stacked below your shoulders and your core engaged.
- Lower yourself toward the mat bending your elbows, keeping your shoulders away from your ears. Keep your gaze about 6 inches in front of you rather than looking up or down, to maintain a neutral spine.
- Keeping your core engaged, powerfully press back up and away from the floor to return to your starting position and repeat for 2 repetitions.
- Return to your tall plank and perform 4 mountain climbers by running your knees in toward your chest and back out, one at a time.
- Repeat 2 pushups and 4 mountain climbers, back to back to the allotted time.
- MOD: Perform this with your hands on the side of your couch or other elevated surface, or transition between kneeling push ups and plank pose mountain climbers.
- Check out my Push-up Progression Tutorial for tips on perfecting form and building strength!
Move 2: Cross Punch to Side Kick (1:00)
- Come into a fighter stance, facing toward the right side of your mat. Punch to the right with your right arm, then punch across your body toward the right with your left arm, pivoting the back right foot slightly to give you plenty of core support as you punch. Rest your hands in soft fists up by your face as you prepare for the kick.
- Powerfully kick your right leg straight out to the right side by first lifting the knee up and then driving through the heel, as if you were kicking a door shut.
- Repeat all on one side and then switch sides.
- Optional: Hold light weighted objects in each hand.
Finisher: Up and Down Squat Punches (0:45)
- Begin standing with your feet about hip distance, toes turned out to mirror your knee alignment, and core engaged.
- Send your hips back for a squat as if you were sitting down to a chair, keeping your chest up tall and weight back in your heels, and knees tracking with your toes. Powerfully drive up squeezing the glutes as you come back to the start position.
- As you lower in and out of your squat, punch your arms across your body one at a time, letting the power come from your core.
- MOD: Squat down to a chair or elevated surface.
- Optional: Hold light weighted objects in each hand.
You are so STRONG! Be sure to check in with me and let me know how you liked the workout and tell me why you like to train!
I’d love to see YOU inside Rock Your Life…
…so I can support you in ROCKING your body AND your life! Get stronger and healthier with a community of rockstars to support you, home workout challenges for a fit body, and fresh new workout classes each week to keep you motivated!