Upper Body Stacked Circuit Workout

Upper Body Stacked Circuit Workout - this one takes just 13 minutes and you'll add on an exercise each roundRound two! If you missed yesterday’s post, I already shared part one of the three circuits in the Power class I teach at Burn (lower body). Now it’s on to upper body! This particular workout is dynamic–upper body is the focus, but there are some full body exercises in there as well (burpees!). The first exercise, windmills, is actually primarily an oblique exercise, but I wanted the class to pay attention to the shoulder joint as they did it and notice how they rotated and controlled it to keep the weight pointing straight up towards the ceiling as they lifted and lowered.

Upper Body Stacked Circuit Workout

Equipment I Used:

This circuit will take you just 13 minutes to complete. You stay on each exercise for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds after each round, and add on an exercise each round. Confused? Here’s what the start of the workout looks like:

Exercise 1
Exercise 1 + Exercise 2
Exercise 1 + Exercise 2 + Exercise 3

So the first round is only 30 seconds long (one exercise) and the sixth and final round is 3 minutes long (all six exercises). You’ll do exercise 1 (windmills) six times and exercise 6 (shoulder press ups) only once at the very end. Even though the length of time you’re working gets longer and longer, you only get 30 seconds of rest each time. I set my interval timer for 26 rounds of 30 seconds of work and 0 seconds of rest so that it beeps at me every 30 seconds, but you could also just watch the clock. Upper Body Stacked Circuit Workout - this one takes just 13 minutes and you'll add on an exercise each round

  1. Windmills (alternate side each round) | Start in a standing position, feet wider than hip-width apart, kettlebell pressed above head in right hand. Your right foot should be pointing forward, your left foot pointing out to the side (perpendicular to the right). Slowly bend down, keeping legs and the arm holding the kettlebell straight. Touch the ground by your left foot with your left hand, keeping the kettlebell perpendicular to the ground the whole time. Slowly rise back up to starting position. A good way to maintain proper alignment during this is to look up at the kettlebell the whole time.
  2. Overhead Tricep Extension | Hold the kettlebell around the fat weight part with both hands overhead. Tuck your tailbone, engage your abs, and keep a soft bend to your knees so you have a supportive base. From here, bend your elbows, dipping the weight behind your head. When you’ve reached your lowest point, slowly bring it back up overhead. As you do this, keep the elbows glued in to the side of your head–don’t let the elbows bow out in a diamond shape.
  3. High Pull (alternate side each round) | Stand tall, feet about hip-width apart, with the kettlebell on the ground in front of you to one side. Squat down, weight in your heels, grabbing the kettlebell with one hand. This is your starting position. From here, power up to a standing position using your legs. As you do, pull the kettlebell straight up by your armpit, leading with the elbow. Bring the kettlebell back down to the ground softly, tapping it to the floor and going right into your next rep.
  4. Push Up Burpees | Start standing, feet about shoulder-width apart. Squat down, bringing your hands to the ground by your feet and jump both feet back into a plank position. Do a push up. Quickly jump your feet back up by your hands and shift the weight into your feet, bring torso upright into a low squat position. From here, jump up, arms overhead. Land softly on your feet, sinking right back down into a squat and starting from the top.
  5. Shoulder Press to Rotation | Start with arms in goal post position: elbows bent at 90 degrees at shoulder height. From here, press your hands up overhead, bringing weights together above your head. Lower back down, but only so far as brings your elbows back to shoulder height. From here, rotate your palm downward, keeping your elbows bent at 90 degrees (think of closing the lid of a box). When hands reach shoulder height in front of you, rotate from the shoulders to bring them back up to starting position.
  6. Shoulder Press Ups | Imagine your forearms and elbows have magnets on them. Holding a weight in each hand, palms facing your face, hold your forearms in front of you, elbows bent at 90 degrees. Fight to hold the elbows as close to each other as you can throughout the whole movement. From here, you’re going to press your hands straight up, lifting the elbows, keeping forearms close together. Be careful not to shrug your shoulders up towards your ears as you do this. After pressing up as high as you can, slowly return back to starting.

Upper Body Stacked Circuit Workout - this one takes just 13 minutes and you'll add on an exercise each round

WEARING | tank: Spiritual Gangster (old but similar here) // leggings: c/o Eddie Bauer (old but similar here) // sneakers: Nike

Try out the workout and if you’re in the Boston area, get your bum in for a class! I teach every Friday morning. 🙂 signature


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  1. I will have to try adding the high pulls. I also like the kettlebell as a weight for triceps. Thanks for the workout!

  2. Thanks for sharing these! I tried the lower body one this morning after a short run and it was much tougher than I expected at the beginning! Thanks for always having a good challenge 🙂

  3. I just found your blog and I’m absolutely lovin it. This is what I looked for for a whole time. I literally needed this type of blog. :))) I’m starting with fitness and those stuffs and you have really helping articles.

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