If you’ve ever felt like you could lunge for days, but only a few bicep curls leave you feeling burnt out, there’s a simple explanation: The muscles in your upper body are smaller than those in your lower body, which means they fatigue at a faster rate. The upside? Smart, specific movements with weights that aren’t too heavy—but that are still challenging—are all it takes to fire up those arms. If you’re looking to gain some upper-body strength but don’t know where to begin with piecing together a routine, we’ve got you. Amber Rees and Lindsey Clayton, senior instructors at Barry’s and co-founders of Brave Body Project, are here to bring you a 15-minute arms and abs workout at home.
“Today’s Trainer of the Month Club workout is an upper body and core workout using medium weights,” says Clayton. If grabbing medium weights seems a little intimidating—fear not. Rees and Clayton will give you a comprehensive run-down of every movement, plus plenty of modification options for each exercise. Whether you’re doing those bicep curls with two weights, alternating one arm at a time, or just using one weight in both hands, you are going to be building strength with every single rep.
Get ready to nail your first upper-body combo, but sure to check out the video above for the complete workout. And remember: When it comes to training your arms, a little bit goes a long way.
15-minute arms and abs workout at home
1. Walk-out plank to shoulder tap: The #1 rule of strength training is to always get a good warm-up. This move will wake up your hamstrings, core, and shoulders in just 50 seconds. Start by standing, then walk out to your plank with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your hips level with the rest of your body. Next—without rocking your hips back and forth—tap one hand at a time to the opposite shoulder. Walk it back up to your standing position and take the whole series from the top.
2. Alternating birddog: Time to test that core stability. Down on all fours, extend your opposite arm and leg out, then draw them in for a crunch, touching your elbow to knee. Extend back out and switch sides. Remember to take your time with this one, and don’t forget to breathe.
3. Tricep push-up: Now we’re getting the arm party started. Either on your knees or on your toes, start in a plank and bring your chest to the floor. To target those triceps, be sure to keep your arms glued tightly into your sides, as opposed to a traditional push-up where they splay out to 90 degrees. Once you’re back at the top of the move, stretch out the backs of your arms with a downward dog.
4. Bicep curl: Time to grab those weights. Standing up straight with your core tight and a slight bend in your knees, curl your weights up to your shoulder and control them as you come back down. To modify, curl one arm at a time, or grab the ends of a single weight in both hands.
5. Shoulder press: Continuing along the upper body checklist, it’s shoulder time. Rack your weights up by your shoulders, and keep your arms facing in as you press up and slowly lower your weights. For less stress on your shoulders, press with one weight instead of two.
6. Push-up to curl to press: Who doesn’t love a combo? Now that you’re familiar with your push-up, bicep curl, and shoulder press, let’s put it all together with two reps of each. Feel free to make swaps and modifications as you go. Now that you’ve nailed your first combo—check out the full video for your next one.
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