Whether you’re just starting out, or starting again, this workout plan will help you improve your strength and tone up in just 4 short weeks!
Warmer weather will soon be upon us and that means it’s time to work those ARMS, because well you know tank tops and what not. Good thing our next Challenge will have us tight and toned in no time!
Muscle Up March is a super fun Challenge for all levels of fitness (all moves can be modified) and for those who already lift weights this will be a nice conditioning regimen. We will be working all upper body, and I threw in some squats because I know you love them, so our focus will be triceps, biceps, shoulders, and back. Do this at home, the gym, take some weights and do it at work! Each day is quick and easy, but effective ;-).
Let’s talk about the details of the Challenge, Reps and Sets. I have designed this for ALL levels so if you can do additional then by all means please do but my focus is to always encourage those just starting out.
Reps: Each exercise listed you will be completing 10-12 reps in each set. No matter how many repetitions you do, always use a heavy enough weight so that the last rep is a struggle, but not such a struggle that you compromise good form. AKA lift heavy!!
Sets: If you’re a beginner, or if you’re starting again after a layoff, begin with ONE set of 10 to 12 repetitions, and make sure your last rep feels challenging. You should feel like you have control of the weight but if you did one more rep you may not be able to make it all the way.
If you lift on the regular feel free to do 2 to 3 sets of each exercise listed with 10-12 reps in each set, if you need to bump to 15 reps to get that challenge then do so.
Long story short: You’re aiming for 1 set of each exercise listed with 10-12 reps in each set minimum.
So who’s ready to see the Challenge?!!!
Here are your move break downs:
Tricep Kick Back: Stand tall, holding dumbbell with your right hand, then step forward about two feet with your left leg and bend forward at the waist. Place your left hand on your left thigh for support. Bend your elbow to bring the weight up to the side of your body at chest level, palm facing your body then extend your forearm back behind your body until your arm is straight. Do not lock elbow. Reverse direction, and return dumbbell to front of body. Switch and hold dumbbell with left hand and do 10-12 reps on that side.
Shoulder Fly: Start standing with your feet hip width, knees slightly bent and weight in each hand. Bend elbows about 90 degrees, and raise both arms out to the sides (your arms should resemble a goal post ). Hold abs in tight. Maintaining the 90-degree angle with your elbows, bring your arms together in front of your chest, without letting your elbows drop below shoulder level. Open arms back out to sides and then repeat for 10-12 reps.
Weighted Arm Raise: Stand holding dumbbells at your sides, one palm facing in, one palm facing the front of your thigh, feet hip-width apart. Keeping your arms straight and shoulders down, simultaneously raise one weight in front of you and the other out to your side, both to shoulder height. Return to start. That’s one rep. Repeat with opposite arms and continue alternating.
Dumbbell Extension: hold a dumbbell in your hand, extend your arms straight above your head, then bend your elbows so the dumbbell is close to your ear (your elbows pointed to the ceiling). Extend your arms, raising the dumbbell up toward the ceiling. Repeat lowering and raising, for 10-12 reps.
Dumbbell Tricep Extension: Lie face-up on a flat bench, or the floor, with your feet flat on the floor. Grasp a dumbbell in each hand and hold them directly above you with your palms facing inward (neutral grip) and your arms extended. Keeping your upper arms stationary and perpendicular to the bench/floor, bend your elbows to bring the dumbbells toward the top/sides of your head. As your inner elbow joints approach 90-degree angles, pause and then smoothly reverse direction by pressing back to full arm extension. Squeeze your triceps at the top of the movement. 10-12 reps.
Dumbbell Bench Press: On a flat bench, or the floor, grip dumbbells in each hand, palms facing each other. Press up the dumbbells one arm at a time so that you can hold them in front of you at shoulder width and rotate your wrists forward so that the palms of your hands are facing away from you. (You can use your thighs to help you get the dumbbells up.) Bring down the weights slowly to your side as you breathe in. As you breathe out, push the dumbbells up using your pectoral muscles. Repeat for 10-12 reps.
Alternate Dumbbell Curl: Hold a dumbbell in both hands. Curl weight to left shoulder, then lower. Curl weight to right shoulder, then lower. Alternate arms for each curl. Do equal reps on each side. To add intensity, stand on one foot during curls alternating feet each time.
Bent Over Rows: With a dumbbell in each hand (palms facing your torso), bend your knees slightly and bring your torso forward by bending at the waist; as you bend make sure to keep your back straight until it is almost parallel to the floor. Tip: Make sure that you keep the head up. The weights should hang directly in front of you as your arms hang perpendicular to the floor and your torso. This is your starting position. While keeping the torso stationary, lift the dumbbells to your side (as you breathe out), keeping the elbows close to the body (do not exert any force with the forearm other than holding the weights). On the top contracted position, squeeze the back muscles and hold for a second. Slowly lower the weight again to the starting position as you inhale. Repeat for 10-12 repetitions.
Overhead Shoulder Press: Hold a dumbbell in each hand at the shoulders with an overhand grip. Thumbs should be on the inside and knuckles facing up. Raise the weights above the head in a controlled motion, ensuring that you do not slam the arms upward and stress the elbow joint. Exhale as you push upward. Return dumbbells to the shoulders and repeat for 10-12 reps.
If you choose to Squat with weights: Start with feet hip-width apart, holding dumbbells on your shoulders with a neutral grip and elbows up. Next, hinge back, keeping the back straight like you’re sitting on an imaginary bench. Lower the body until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor (or deeper, without losing a tight back). Complete the move by driving through the hips as you come back up to standing position. You may squat without weights if you are feeling sore!!