Upper Body Challenge

Intensify your training by engaging your core

Upper Body Challenge - Intensify your training by engaging your core
Today, my training buddy and I decided to put together an upper body workout that also served as a killer abdominal workout. We didn’t incorporate one abdominal crunch; rather, the majority of the exercises we performed required balance and serious core stability. We got through this workout in about 40 minutes, our muscles were sufficiently beat and we were sweating like crazy. Success!

Upper Body Challenge - Intensify your training by engaging your coreYou can do this workout from top to bottom, or you can select a few of the exercises to incorporate into your upper body programs.

Hard CORE Upper Body Workout

Upper Body Challenge - Intensify your training by engaging your core– No rest between exercises within a set. Minimize rest between sets.

SET 1 – Complete 3 Rounds:

Upper Body Challenge - Intensify your training by engaging your coreBalancing Bicep Curl – 12 reps, each arm
Tricep Extension With Plate – 12 reps
Upright Row With Plate – 12 reps

Upper Body Challenge - Intensify your training by engaging your coreSET 2 – Complete 3 Rounds:

Leaning One-Arm Side Lateral Raise – 12 reps, each arm
Bench Plank Rear Lateral Raise – 12 reps, each arm
Push-ups – 15 reps

SET 3 – Complete 3 Rounds:

One-Arm, One-Leg Row – 12 reps, each arm
Forearms to Hands BOSU Plank – 10 reps, each arm
Rope Pull – 60 seconds (If you don’t have this, sub Smith Machine Pull-up for 60 seconds)


Balancing Bicep Curl. Lift you right knee up, squeeze your abs tight and curl up a kettlebell or dumbbell with the left arm. Make sure to keep your body upright. Perform all reps on one side and switch.

Tricep Extension With Plate. Holding a 25-pound plate over your head, lower plate behind your head, keeping your elbows facing forward. Press the plate back to the starting position.

Upright Row With Plate. Holding the top of a 25-pound plate, lift your elbows high, keeping your traps and neck relaxed. Lower back to starting position. You should feel this exercise in your deltoids, not your neck and shoulders.

Leaning One-Arm Side Lateral Raise. This is one-arm lateral raise with your body leaning on a diagonal to increase the range of motion, engage the core and better target the deltoid. Hold onto a bench or any stable piece of equipment with your left hand and lean toward your right. Perform the lateral raises with your right hand and then switch sides.

Bench Plank Rear Lateral Raise. Place your hands at the end of a bench with your feet extended behind you so that you are in a plank position. Balance your weight on one of your hands and pick up a dumbbell with the free hand. Perform a rear lateral raise. Make sure to keep good plank form: core tight, butt down, back flat, body aligned from head to toe.

One-Arm, One-Leg Row. Holding a kettlebell or dumbbell in your right hand and standing with all your weight in the left leg, lower your body down as if you were doing a single-leg stiff-leg deadlift. Your body should be in a straight line from your head to your toe, parallel to the floor. Hold that position and perform one-arm rows. Complete all reps on one side and move on to the other.

Forearms to Hands BOSU Plank. Assume the plank position with your forearms positioned on the center of the BOSU. Make sure your core is tight, butt is down and back is flat. Pick up your right hand and place it on the BOSU and press up to a push-up position. Lower back down. Perform 10 reps pressing up to the push-up with the right arm first and then perform another 10 reps pressing up with the left arm first.

Rope Pull Machine. Set the machine to a moderate to high level. Tighten your core and reach high up on the rope and pull down. Alternate arms. Continue the rope pull for 60 seconds. You should feel your entire upper body working, but really focus on engaging your back and abs. If you don’t have a rope pull machine, perform pull-ups on the Smith Machine (see demonstration picture).

Push Toward Your Best
Whether we think we can or we think we can’t, we’re right. Our success is largely dependent on our own thoughts and beliefs, and yet we don’t always harness the power of our thoughts. Let’s change that. Every day, proclaim your goal, envision yourself achieving it and remind yourself of every reason it’s possible. Doing so will keep your mind positive and motivated and will drown out the thoughts threatening your confidence. Think strong. Be strong. AND— Push on!

Keep pushing— your best is waiting.

Jaime Baird

Jaime Baird is an IFBB Bikini Pro. Her life’s mission is to help others, especially women, achieve their best in health and life.

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