Arm Song Workout with Recycle Studio (Biceps + Shoulders Burnout)

This one-song workout uses a high rep - low weight format for a big arm burnout.Happy Friday friends! If you subscribe to my YouTube channel, you were probably already notified of this new arm song workout video, but I wanted to post it here as well.

The first spin class I ever took in Boston was at Recycle Studio years ago and I immediately fell in love. I was totally off-beat, had no clue what a tapback was, and could barely make it halfway through the arm song without dropping my weights, but couldn’t wait for my next class. Fast-forward to today and I’m actually going to co-teach a class there this weekend (the arm portion anyway)! Details on that later on in the post, but for all my non-Bostonian readers, I wanted to give you a little preview of what you could expect from an “arm song” in class.

Lead instructor Emily Southworth (@emboslice on Insta) put together an arm burnout targeting biceps and shoulders, and you guys are gonna love it. Her classes always kick my ass—get to one if you’re in Boston!

This was my first time trying to make a video so that the workout was to the beat of a song I added in afterwards so bear with my C+ editing skills. 😉

Arm Song Workout

This one-song workout uses a high rep - low weight format for a big arm burnout.

If you’ve taken an indoor cycling class that incorporates an “arm song” or done barre, you’re well aware that those tiny hand weights can pack a big burn when used in a high-rep format. For this workout, you’ll need a pair of 2-4lb hand weights. Follow along to the video below and get ready for a biceps and shoulder burn! If you’re looking for a longer workout, go through the video twice.

In a real class at Recycle, the arm song would be a little longer than in this video and you’d have better music. I still haven’t found the holy grail of copyright-free music that I’m allowed to use on YouTube so I did the best I could. All the more reason to sign up for a class at the studio. 😉 Speaking of which …

Come workout with me this Sunday!

On Sunday, I’ll be teaching a class with Emily at Recycle’s Boston Common studio! Well, she’ll be teaching the class and I’ll just chime in during the arm song. Trust me, no one would be happy if they paid to have me attempt to teach spin (lol). PUMA is sponsoring the ride and offering free gear for riders (!!) and TIEM will be in studio for a trunk show all morning. Plus there’ll be raffles and rosé aprés! Not a bad way to spend your Sunday morning!

Book your bike HERE.

As of last night, the class was almost full but don’t be afraid to add yourself to the waitlist! It’s a Sunday—I guarantee at least a couple people will cancel.

Hope to see you there!

High-Rep, Low-Weight Workouts from the Archives

These workouts have a similar structure (although not music-based). The last two also mix in heavier strength exercises.

Shoulder Workout: Endurance Burnout + Strength Exercises

Shoulder Workout - low weight/high rep endurance rounds mixed with heavier strength circuitsToday’s workout is a follow-up to the biceps and triceps one I posted a few weeks ago. Same structure, different focus. Shoulders are the target, but in a few of the moves, you’ll feel your chest and biceps getting a lil’ love as well.

Endurance + Strength Shoulder Workout

Equipment I Used:

  • Light hand weights (2-5lbs) — I’m using 2 lbs which was PLENTY high for the first endurance round. I probably could have done 3-4 lbs for the second round.
  • Medium-heavy dumbbells (8-20lbs) — I’m using a pair of 10-lb dumbbells.

Shoulder Workout - low weight/high rep endurance rounds mixed with heavier strength circuits

ENDURANCE

LIGHT WEIGHTS | 20 seconds each x3 without rest

  • Reach and Pull | Arms start extended out to your sides, palms facing up, soft bend to the elbows (arms make a “W” shape). From here, you’re going to pull the elbows behind your back, squeezing your shoulder blades together and then extend them back out to the starting position.
  • Flip the Cup | Same starting position as the first move. From here, keeping a soft bend to the elbows, flip your hands so that the palms face down and then up again. You’re tracing a “C” shape with your hands.
  • Lateral Pulses | Arms straight out by your sides at shoulder height, palms face down. Pulse the arms up and down.

STRENGTH

HEAVIER WEIGHTS | 30 seconds work / 10 seconds rest x9 (three times through the exercises)

NOTE ON WEIGHT: If you’re using the same weights for all your heavy exercises, you may find these first two moves to be too much. In general, we can go heavier with arm exercises in which we keep our arms close to our center of gravity; and need to go a smidge lighter when we extend out away from our core, such as with standing lateral and front raises. You can either grab a slightly lighter set of weights or, if you only have one pair of dumbbells, just alternate arms in the lateral and front raises like I do in the video. Makes a world of difference!

  • Lateral Raise (option to alternate) | Before you do anything, roll your shoulder cage up, back and down, opening up your chest. Then engage your abs, pulling your bellybutton in towards your spine. Maintain this upright, tall, open posture throughout the exercise: don’t let your shoulders shrug up or roll forward, and don’t let your low back arch excessively. From this starting position, lift your right arm up to shoulder height, palm down, at a wide angle out to your side. With control, lower it down to your side and repeat with the left arm. If you’re choosing the more difficult option, you’d do both arms at the same time.
  • Front Raise (option to alternate) | Same idea as the lateral raise, but you’ll lift the weight up in front of your body instead of out to the side.
  • Bent Raise to Rotation | Start with your arms down by your sides, elbows bent at 90 degrees (as if you were starting to do a hammer curl). Maintaining that arm shape, lift your elbows up and out to the sides. At the top of this raise, your hands and elbows should be at armpit/shoulder height. From here, rotate your arms open and up until they reach goal post position. Reverse the movement back to start. So throughout this entire movement, your arm is in the same L shape. You’re just lifting and then rotating from the shoulders.

ENDURANCE

LIGHT WEIGHTS | 20 seconds each x3 without rest

  • Bent Pulse | Elbows bent at 90 degrees, palms facing in, forearms parallel in front of your face. Pulse them up and down keeping the elbows in line with your shoulders.
  • Elbow Tap | From the first move, push the weights together (you can interlace your fingers if that helps) and while actively pushing, tap your elbows together.
  • Front Press | Trying to keep the weights together (or close to it) and elbows squeezing in together (narrower than your shoulders if possible) reach the arms up and down in front of your face.

STRENGTH

HEAVIER WEIGHTS | 30 seconds work / 10 seconds rest x9 (three times through the exercises)

  • Shoulder Press | 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. Don’t let them dip down lower than that. As you do these, be careful not to shrug your shoulders up towards your ears.
  • Arnold Press | This is a shoulder press where you fluidly circle your head with your forearms at the bottom. It’s easiest to start in the middle of the movement: elbows bent to 90 degrees out to your sides in goal post position. Shoulders should be down and back, not shrugged up towards your ears. From here, press the weights overhead and together. Lower them back down to 90-degree bends and as you do, close your forearms in front of your face, rotating the palms to face you. When weights tap together in front of your face and your forearms form the number 11, reverse the movement, opening up your arms to goal post as you rotate your palm outward and press the arms straight overhead.
  • Shoulder Shaper | Start with arms in goal post position: elbows bent at 90 degrees at shoulder height. From here, maintaining those 90-degree bends, bring your forearms together in front of your face. Return back out to goal post position. Elbows should stay at shoulder height the entire time.

Shoulder Workout - low weight/high rep endurance rounds mixed with heavier strength circuits

WEARING | Athleta leggings (these gray leggings from Beyond Yoga are cute, too) // Athleta tank (old but they’ve got a lot of similar high-neck tanks and alo yoga has a high nick tank as well–love it, have it in green!)

Enjoy this workout! It’s great to pair with a run or other cardio. If you’re a beginner, you might want to break it up. Do the first set of endurance and strength exercises and then save the second set for another day. Make sure to warm up the upper body before jumping into it and take some time to stretch afterwards. Let me know if you have any questions about it in the comments!

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Three Holiday Gift Ideas: Gift Card Edition

  • Fashion-lover or the guy/chick who needs some serious wardrobe help | Stitch Fix gift cards, baby! By now you guys know I love Stitch Fix! Get another fan of the service a gift card. It’s a great option if you know they love clothes but aren’t confident you’d be able to pick them out something specific–let the SF stylists take care of that. Also great idea for a guy in your life if you’re like me and find men impossible to shop for!
  • Blogger or work-from-home professional | I’ve talked about Breather room rentals on the blog before–I use them for shooting pictures and videos for Pumps. They’re also great if you need a spot for an off-site meeting, conference call, event. The service isn’t in every city, but they’re offering gift cards for the holiday season and the blogger or work-from-home professional would love some free time! Tip: If you use the code PUMPIRON you can get $45 in credit so to maximize your free rental time, first use that code and then cash in on your gift card.
  • Fitness lover | A gift card to your loved one’s favorite fitness studio is a guaranteed home run of a present (I know I’m always giddy to receive them!). Studio classes get pricey and even just a couple freebies is uh-mazing. Most Boston studios offer gift cards or some way to purchase credit for your friends and family so just visit their website or email the studio. For yoga lovers, CorePower is currently doing a promotion where you can buy $100 gift cards for only $80.

LET’S HANG OUT | YouTube // Instagram // Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest // Snapchat @nicoleperr

Outfit links and first gift link are affiliate.

Upper Body Workout: Endurance Burn-Out + Strength Exercises

Arm Workout (Biceps + Triceps) - This workout challenges both strength and endurance by using light weights with high reps for a burn-out and following that up with heavier dumbbell exercisesThis upper body workout combines high-rep, low-weight exercises with low(er)-rep, high(er) weight exercises for a taste of both endurance and strength (the two aren’t mutually exclusive). While I think the upper body moves you do in barre and spin classes with the 2-lb weights are challenging, I also think you need to be doing some form of strength training with heavier weights as well. And that could look like a lot of things! It might mean super heavy olympic lifting, but it also might mean dumbbells, kettlebells, med balls and even bodyweight exercises (push ups, pull ups, etc.).

If you need to do 100 reps of something to feel fatigued, that’s an exercise in muscular endurance and you’re definitely achieving a burn-out, but it’s not as effective at building strength. Any time Joe and I do a spin class together, for example, he dies during the arm song with the 2-lb weights and high rep numbers and has to drop his arms several times (sorry, calling you out, Joe!! haha) while I bang through it fairly easily. Does that mean I’m stronger than Joe? LOLLOLLOL

No. Not even close.

So for this workout, you’ll use a set of light weights for a series of small, high-rep exercises, and once the burnout is achieved, you’ll switch to heavier weights to target the same muscle group.

Endurance + Strength Arm Workout (Biceps + Triceps)


Equipment I Used:

  • Light hand weights (2-5lbs) — I’m using 2 lbs, which was PLENTY heavy for the triceps section but I probably could have done 3-4 lbs for the biceps. If you have access to multiple hand weights, go a pound or two heavier for the bis than tris.
  • Medium-heavy dumbbells (8-20lbs) — I’m using a pair of 10-lb dumbbells. My upper body isn’t very strong so I’m setting the suggested weight on these pretty wide.

Arm Workout (Biceps + Triceps) - This workout challenges both strength and endurance by using light weights with high reps for a burn-out and following that up with heavier dumbbell exercises

Explanations of the exercises below the pictorial.

Arm Workout (Biceps + Triceps) - This workout challenges both strength and endurance by using light weights with high reps for a burn-out and following that up with heavier dumbbell exercises

Biceps – ENDURANCE

LIGHT WEIGHTS | 20 seconds each x3 without rest

  • Biceps Curl (elbows lifted) | Keeping the elbows lifted at armpit-shoulder height, curl the weights into your shoulders and then extend the arms back out straight. Keep these quick but tight–really squeeze as you curl in and out. With the elbows lifted like this, you’ll feel your shoulders burn a bit as well. Expect the first round of these to feel fairly easy (it’ll build by the end of the three minutes, I promise!).
  • Biceps Extended Pulse | Hold the arms extended at chest height, palms up, soft bend to the elbows. Pulse the arms up an inch or two and down.
  • Biceps Extended Circle Taps | Arms still extended, palms up, soft bend to elbows, squeeze the weights and hit them together forming a small circle with the weights (hit high, hit low). Really slam the things together to ensure you’re squeezing your arms tight.

Biceps – STRENGTH

HEAVY WEIGHTS | 30 seconds work / 10 seconds rest x9 (three times through the exercises)

  • Biceps Curls | Start standing, one dumbbell in each hand, arms down by your sides with the palms facing in. From here, curl the weights up to your shoulders, rotating as you curl so that palms face your body at the top of the curl. If you need to modify, do one at a time.
  • Hammer Curls | Same as above except no rotation: palms face in towards each other the entire range of motion.
  • Circle Curls | Start standing holding a weight in each hand, palms facing front. From this starting position, curl the weights up and over to the right in a circular shape. At the top of the contraction, weights will be up at your chest (12 o’clock if we’re thinking of the motion as hands on a clock. From there, slowly lower the weights down and over the left, ending back in your starting position. Every time your hands reach this point (6 o’clock), you’ll switch directions so that the next circular curl is up and over to the left, down and over to the right. Forearms should stay parallel to each other as you do this; elbows stay locked in tight by your bottom ribs.

Triceps – ENDURANCE

LIGHT WEIGHTS | 20 seconds each x3 without rest

For all three of these exercises, you’re standing with your torso hinged forward (flat back, butt back, knees slightly bent). Arms are extended behind you.

  • Straight Arm Lifts (palms up) | Keeping the arms straight and as high behind you as you can, pulse them up and down.
  • Triceps Taps (palms up) | Keeping the arms lifted behind you (higher than your back), hit them together squeezing your arms in towards each other.
  • Bend-Stretch (palms in) | Rotate your thumbs down, palms facing each other. From here softly bend the elbows and then squeeze the arms straight again (bend and stretch). You really need to squeeze the arms as straight as possible–you’ll feel a big burn from this tiny pulsing movement.

Triceps – STRENGTH

HEAVY WEIGHTS | 30 seconds work / 10 seconds rest x9 (three times through the exercises)

  • Overhead Triceps Extension | Start with a dumbbell in each hand, arms overhead, palms facing in and dumbbells held together (press them into each other). From this starting position, bend the elbows as you lower your hands and weights behind your head. Contract the triceps to then extend the weights back up overhead to starting position. As you do this exercises, hold the upper arms in towards the side of your head; elbows shouldn’t bow out to the sides in a diamond shape. To modify, just use one weight in both hands.
  • Triceps Kickbacks | Hinge your torso forward and row your elbows back–this is your starting position. From here, kick your weights back, straightening the arms behind you. Bend at the elbows to return to starting position. To modify, alternate arms.
  • Single-Weight Lifts | Essentially the same movement from the endurance section but using a heavy weight. Hold a dumbbell behind your back with one end in each hand. Leaning forward with your torso (flat back) start with the weight resting on your bum and lift it a few inches up into the air before tapping it back down. 

Arm Workout (Biceps + Triceps) - This workout challenges both strength and endurance by using light weights with high reps for a burn-out and following that up with heavier dumbbell exercises

OUTFIT DETAILS

I filmed this workout yesterday and my arms are definitely feeling it this morning (holy biceps)! Let me know what you think in the comments if you give it a try. And don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel. I really enjoyed this format and am thinking of doing another like it focusing on shoulders–thoughts? 🙂

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Links to some outfit details are affiliate. A “c/o” indicates the item was gifted to me by the brand (courtesy of).