12-Minute Bodyweight Tabata Workout Series: Upper Body (Chest, Arms, Core)

12-Minute Tabata Workout: 3 tabata supersets focusing on upper body - no equipment needed!

Today’s is upper-body focused, but you’ll get a good dose of core and cardio work as well.

12-Minute Bodyweight Tabata Workout Series: Upper Body (Chest, Arms, Core)


This workout is made up of three tabata supersets. For each tabata superset, set an interval timer for 8 rounds of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest. During the work intervals, you’ll alternate between the two exercises. In other words: 20 seconds Exercise 1 / 10 seconds rest / 20 seconds Exercise 2 / 10 seconds rest and so on. Rest as needed between tabata supersets, but try to limit it to 60 seconds if possible. 12-Minute Tabata Workout: 3 tabata supersets focusing on upper body - no equipment needed!

Tabata Superset 1

Chest-to-Floor Burpees | Squat down, bringing your hands to the floor. As you do, hop your feet back out in a plank position, simultaneously lowering your chest to the floor with control (like a push up all the way down). Press yourself back up to straight arms, jumping your feet forward back to squat and then jumping straight up overhead.

Low Push Up Hold | For this, I want your hands close into the sides of your body (tricep push up). To get into the hold with proper alignment, start in a plank position with your hands stacked underneath your shoulders. From here, roll forward slightly onto your toes so that your hands are now a little further back, aligned with your ribs (this will allow you to bend elbows to 90 degrees). Keeping your elbows close to your body, lower down to a low push up position and hold there with your body hovering off the ground, abs held in tight.

Modify by holding the push up from your knees. Just make sure your hips are still lowered so that your butt isn’t sticking up into the air. Think of lowering from your knees rather than your hips to achieve this.

I’m going to call myself out a little on these as it’s a good demo of what not to do with form. Notice the difference in shoulder height between the first five seconds of the hold and the last five seconds: low-push-up-hold

As my arms fatigue, I’m compensating by sinking into my shoulders. Don’t do this. If you notice your shoulders start to dip down (usually accompanied by your bum sticking up into the air), just modify the hold with proper form from your knees. 🙂

Tabata Superset 2

Triceps Dips | Use a chair, coffee table or bench for these. Start with your hands gripping the edge of a chair (bench, etc.) and your legs outstretched with your heels on the ground. Keeping your bum and back close to the edge of the chair, bend your elbows to 90 degrees as you lower your body towards the ground. Make sure your elbows don’t bow out in a diamond shape as you lower. From the bottom, press through your hands to straighten your arms back to the starting position. Imagine there’s a heavy weight sitting in your lap as you do these—don’t trust up through the hips and legs to rise up; use your arms! You’ll do three like this and on the fourth, lower down and hold at the bottom for about three seconds before starting back at the top. Beginners: To make these easier, bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the ground.

Alternating Crab Kicks with Triceps Pulse | Start in a crab position: feet on ground, knees bent, hands on ground underneath your shoulders, body facing upwards. Lift one foot into the air, straightening that leg. This is your starting position. From here, you’re going to alternate kicking one leg into the air and then the next, switching feet in midair so that there’s never more than one foot on the ground at a time. Your whole body will be working during these but focus on the softening of the elbows (like a triceps dip pulse) as you prep for the jump kick. Push through the hands, thrusting the pelvis upward as you straighten the arms and switch feet midair before landing.

Tabata Superset 3

Shoulder Tap Push Ups | Start in a plank position. I’m doing these with my hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart because my triceps were fried after tabata set 2! 🙂 Keeping your hips level to the floor, tap your left shoulder with your right hand then the right shoulder with your left hand. Do a push up. To modify, perform from your knees.

Marching Plank | You’re essentially just moving from low plank to high plank, up and down. Starting in a forearm plank position, press up into a high plank, one hand at a time. Reverse the movement when you’re in a high plank, lowering onto one forearm at a time. Important form notes:

  • Hands under shoulders, not in front. As you do these, think about keeping your shoulders stacked directly over whatever joint is on the floor (wrist in high plank, elbow in forearm plank). As you fatigue, the tendency is to have your hands far in front of your shoulders so that it’s easier to get back down to your forearms—don’t do this!
  • Hold your hips level. Instead of shifting your body weight and rocking the hips to the forearm side as you move up and down, stabilize through the core and hold the hips level. To do this, the arms need to work harder, elbows bending deeper (like when you do a push up).
  • Alternate your lead hand. Your body will want your dominate side to lead on this (from forearm plank: right hand presses up, left hand comes up, right forearm lowers down, left forearm comes down). Switch it up next time through so that your left side then leads the way.

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WEARING | leggings c/o Tully Lou // tank c/o Fabletics //  bra c/o PRISM Sport (use code ACTPERRY to get 30% off)

Enjoy! Phew this one was tough for me. My upper body is definitely weaker than my low body and core so this was a challenge!

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10-Minute Upper Body Dumbbell Workout

10-minute Upper Body Workout using Dumbbells

Gahh it’s been forever since I’ve posted! Which is weird because I have been CRANKING out content over the last two weeks. Photographing and writing it, anyway. Publishing … not so much. The lighting in today’s video and workout pics is kinda brutal (rookie mistake) but you’re just going to deal with it OKAY??! 😉

Nothing too fancy about this workout, but foundational, basic exercises are important! This no-frills, 10-minute workout will target your upper body. Grab a set of dumbbells and give it a go!

10-Minute Upper Body Dumbbell Workout


Equipment I Used:

You’ll do each exercise for 30 seconds, moving one exercise immediately to the next without rest. Once you’ve done all six exercises, rest for 30 seconds. Repeat a total of 3 times.

You’ll notice the progression of the circuit is biceps to shoulders to triceps (heavy on the biceps and shoulders).

10-min-upper-body-arm-workout-dumbbells

Biceps Circle Curls | Start standing holding a weight in each hand, palms facing front. Make sure you have a soft bend in your knees and abs are engaged so that you have a supportive base. 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.

*A consideration when choosing your weights: Bicep curls with the elbows braced by our sides are generally easier than those done with the elbows lifted in front of your body. Keep this in mind and maybe choose a set of weights a few pounds heavier than you’d normally use for bicep curls.

Hammer Curl | This is a bicep curl with the palms facing in towards each other the whole time. Start standing holding a weight in each hand, palms facing in. Make sure you have a soft bend in your knees and abs are engaged so that you have a supportive base. From this starting position, curl the weights up towards your shoulders and then release back down to your sides.

Hammer Curl to Press | Add on to the previous movement. Curl the weights up towards your shoulders and then press them overhead (shoulder press). Reverse the movement, lowering weights back to shoulder height and then down to starting position.

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 (elbows should be at armpit height, no lower) 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.

If you’re doing these standing, make sure you have a soft micro-bend in your knees and core is engaged (think of gently tightening a corset). This will help prevent any undue stress on the low back.

Shoulder Press Ups | Imagine your forearms and elbows have magnets on them. Holding a weight in each hand, press the weights together and 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 (they form the number 11). 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.

If this is too heavy, just hold one weight as you do this.

Overhead Tricep 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. As with all standing arm exercises, keep a soft bend to your knees and the core engaged so that you have a supportive base.

If you need to modify, just hold one of the weights.

outfit-spiritual-gangster-sweaty-betty

WEARING | Spiritual Gangster tank c/o Shopbop (sold out but this tank is similar) & Sweaty Betty Urdhva leggings (c/0)

BTW these Sweaty Betty leggings are reversible–I love them! Super soft, too. They have a high waist so are great for pairing with a crop top if you don’t want to show too much midsection. 🙂 sweaty-betty-leggings

I know it’s only Thursday but have a fun weekend! I’m off to Scottsdale for a wedding (’tis the season!).

Let me know in the comments if you try this workout!

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3 Exercises: Push Up Variations

3 Push Up Variations -- try adding these to your next workout!

I’ve got another installment of my exercise spotlight blog series! Hopefully these are useful to both fitness instructors wanting to spice up their class plans and those of you making up your own workouts at home. Today let’s focus on push ups. There are countless variations, but these are the three I’m loving lately.

Blast Off Push Ups

I got this one from a Facebook post by Men’s Health Magazine I saw a few weeks ago. I love it because the crouching position (think down dog with bent knees) opens the target muscle group (chest) in between push up reps. 3 Push Up Variations -- Blast Off Push UpsHOW TO DO IT | Start in a plank position with hands either a little wider than the shoulders (if you want to target the chest with your push up) or stacked under the rib cage in close to your body (if you want to target the triceps with your push up). I’m doing them in these pictures with my hands narrow (I think this way is harder!). From here, bend your knees and shoot your hips back, pressing into your hands so that you’re in a bent-knee down dog position (think of an animal crouching before leaping at prey … weird visual, but whatever, it works!). From here, you’re going to shoot forward back into plank and fluidly right down into your push up. As you press up to straight arms, bend those knees and shoot your booty back into that crouching position.

In the pictures, it looks like I’m stopping in plank before doing the push up, but this should be an explosive forward and down movement–you shoot right into and through plank, down to your push up.

Ankle Tap Push Ups

Arms & abs, baby! 3 Push Up Variations -- Ankle Tap Push Ups

HOW TO DO IT | Start in a plank position with hands either a little wider than the shoulders (if you want to target the chest with your push up) or stacked under the rib cage in close to your body (if you want to target the triceps with your push up). I’m doing them in these pictures with my hands wide. Do a push up. As you press back up to straight arms, shoot your hips up into the air, pressing into your left hand as you reach your right hand across your body to touch the left ankle. Bring the hand back to its starting position as you shift your body forward into plank and smoothly right down into your next push up. Next time you press up, reach the left hand across to the right ankle. Continue alternating side to side.

Marching Plank Push Ups with Crossbody Crunch

I did a variation of this on the megaformer in class the other week and it was a killer! This will target your obliques as well as upper body. 3 Push Up Variations -- Marching Plank Push Ups with Crossbody Crunch

HOW TO DO IT | Start in a plank position, wrists stacked under shoulders. From here crunch your right knee into your left elbow (try to make physical contact if possible!). Step the right foot back to plank and then lower onto your right forearm (keep your left hand planted right where it is, bending into that left elbow so that you can lower). As soon as your right forearm hits the ground, push into the left hand to press back up to straight arms in your starting plank position. Try to keep your hips level as you do this marching plank. To achieve that, you’ve got to bend into the stationary arm (don’t keep your left arm straight as you lower onto the right forearm). Go right into your next cross body crunch. This will target the right oblique and left arm. Take it over to the other side to hit the left obliques and right arm.

Champion SmoothTec Bra

Athleticwear blogI got the chance to partner with Champion in putting together today’s fun workout outfit. I love the long racerback design and this particular SmoothTec bra is great for medium-impact workouts. I’ve bought several Champion bras throughout the years because the price is right, they last, and they have a wide variety of patterns. I need to break myself away from wearing black, black and more black, so I jumped at the chance to get this fun pink print.Athleticwear blog

OUTFIT DETAILS | New Btone tank! // Booty by Brabants leggings // Champion SmoothTec bra // Lululemon legwarmers (old)

In addition to shopping their site, you can check out Champion on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook & Twitter.

More posts from this exercise spotlight series:

What are your favorite push up variations?

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Champion. The opinions and text are all mine.