I’ve gotten a couple requests for upper body workouts, and after creating my new workout page, I can see why—in the year and a half or so that I’ve been blogging, I’ve never posted one. Oops. The majority of the workouts I post are full-body, so I still incorporate arms/shoulders/chest in some way, but rarely have I focused solely on this area.
Well, I love the challenge of coming up with a workout that fits a particular set of goals, so an upper body workout it is. You can, by the way, always reach out to me with a workout request. Leave a comment, write on the P&I Facebook wall, tweet at me, email me—I love coming up with workouts I know you guys actually want!
And speaking of things you guys want, if you haven’t yet stocked your workout wardrobe with the basics, allow me to direct your attention to what I’m wearing today. Neon, zebra-striped, cut-out, 3-D workout gear is fun and all, but you also need to have some basic, match-everything, go-to pieces. I’ve mentioned Cory Vines before here, but I’ll say it again: their tops are so comfortable, and perfect for working out as well as everyday wear. And the black Champion leggings I have on are the full-length version of the capris I was wearing last week—so essential seeing as they match literally everything!
Upper Body Kettlebell Workout
Equipment I Used:
- 25-lb kettlebell
- 20-lb kettlebell
- 15-lb kettlebell
- 10-lb kettlebell
We’ve got lots of shoulder, upper back, and arm moves for this one. But don’t be fooled—you’ll still be working your core the entire time! Complete 3 rounds of the following exercises. If you’re a beginner, reduce the amount of reps you do for each move.
- 15 Clean & Press (each side): With feet a little wider than shoulder width apart, bend knees and bring kettlebell from a straight-arm hanging position to closely held by the center of your chest with arm bent. From there, straighten legs as you extend your arm skyward. Reverse the moves to bring yourself back to starting position. Try to keep the kettlebell towards the center of your body throughout this move. When done correctly, this isn’t just an upper-body workout, but great for your core. I used a 15-lb bell.
- 15 Hovering Plank Rows (each side): Get into a plank position, holding onto a kettlebell with one hand (I used a 10-lb bell). Row the kettlebell off the ground, pulling your elbow straight back towards the ceiling. Lower it back down, but don’t let it touch the ground before rowing back again. Try to complete all 15 before letting kettlebell come to a rest on the floor. While you do these rows, try to resist the urge to twist towards the stabilizing side. Keep hips square and chest facing the floor.
- 15 Triceps Presses: Hold a kettlebell (I used a 10-lb bell) in both hands behind your head (elbows bent, arms held in close to either side of your head). Keeping your upper arm in place, straighten out your forearm, bringing the kettlebell up over your head. Lower back down. Keep those elbows in tight and facing forward the whole time—resist the urge to let them flop out away from your head.
- 15 High Pulls (each side): Start with feet hip-width apart with kettlebell on the floor in front of you. I use a 20-lb bell for these. Bend with your knees keeping back straight, grab and kettlebell, and power up, standing as you pull your elbow up, bringing the kettlebell up towards the side of your face. In a controlled movement, lower back to starting position.
- 20 Kettlebell Swing Punches: This is just like a regular swing except for at the top, bend your elbows wide, bringing the kettlebell in towards your face, and punch it back out. I use a 25-lb kettlebell for these.
- 10 Lift ‘n Pull Apart: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, holding a kettlebell in both hands, arms extended. Slowly lift the kettlebell up towards your chin, bringing your elbows out wide as you do so. The kettlebell should stay close to your body throughout the whole movement. As you reach the top of the lift, really pull those arms out wide as if you’re trying to tear the kettlebell in half. Slowly lower, reversing the motion. I used a 20-lb kettlebell.
- 30-second Two-Arm Extension Hold: Holding a kettlebell in both hands at chest height, extend arms straight out in front of you, keeping only a slight bend in the elbows. Hold position for 30 seconds. I used a 10-lb bell.
While we can’t spot reduce (chose where we lose fat), we can focus on strengthening certain muscle groups. Working my entire body throughout the week is always the goal, but I admittedly tend to focus on abs when it comes to strength training. What’s your favorite area to work out?