Anyone else LOVE fall?! I know technically, September is still Summer, but to me, September means Fall! And that means sweaters and boots, scarves, pumpkins, changing leaves, and sweatshirts and sweatpants (because let’s be honest, that’s usually what I’m wearing!). Now that it’s the middle of September, it’s time for another workout of the month. For this one, we’re going to be focusing solely on the upper body – biceps, shoulders, triceps, and back. So let’s get to it, September’s workout of the month!
September Workout of the Month – Upper Body
Alright ladies and gents, if you’ve been following along, you’ll have noticed in July we tackled a core workout focused on plank variations, and then in August we killed a lower body workout. So it only makes sense that we move to an upper body workout!
This workout will use dumbbells because I really think they make upper body workouts more effective. There are only so many body weight exercises you can do for your arms and back. If you don’t have dumbbells, check out this post on the only two pieces of equipment you need for a home gym, because it will surely convince you that dumbbells are the number one priority for workouts! But for now, grab some canned goods, or dressing bottles, or anything of similar weight and use those!
My recommendation is something not too light, or too heavy (helpful I know!), but you want it to be tough by the last few reps. Go for anything between 5 and 20lbs. Depending on the exercise, you may need to adjust the number of reps, or the weight. For example – standing overhead press you may be able to use 15lb dumbbells, but for front and side raise, 15lb is likely too heavy. To fix that, either drop down to 10lb weights, or reduce the number of reps!
Just a Minute
Before we hit the workout, let’s talk about the different parts of your upper body. There really are SO many, and if you want to focus more specifically, then you might be better suited to break it up even farther. Sometimes people will focus strictly on their back for an entire workout, and then target their shoulders and triceps for another. Because this is Just Keep it Simple Fitness, we’re going to …. Keep it simple! Duh. So this upper body workout will hit many of the major muscles including your biceps, triceps, deltoids, traps, lats, and pecs. This way you won’t need to worry about more than one upper body workout.
Not All Muscles are Equal
While we all know that working different parts of your body is the most beneficial in order to stay balanced, not every muscle is created equal! When we do lower body workouts, we’re focusing on our quads, and hamstrings, and butt, which are some of the biggest and strongest muscles we have. And therefore, our lower body workouts have a bigger bang for our buck so to speak. We burn more calories when we utilize those muscles. Because our upper body doesn’t give us the same type of workout we could a few different things to improve it.
- Add in a short bit of cardio between sets. Doing 5 burpees between each set will give you a boost in the calorie burning department and make the workout more effective overall.
- Create compound moves. Instead of simply doing a standing overhead press, squat first and then press up.
Both of these are GREAT options! For this workout of the month, we’re going to stick with number 1 and keep it strictly upper body (other than the burpees!).
Many times, my workouts will be performed in a circuit fashion, where you do each exercise once and then move to the next. At the end, you take a slight break and then start back at the top. This workout though will be performed differently. You’ll work through 3 sets of the first exercise before moving on to the next. In between each set, yep you got it, 5 burpees! Then you’ll take a very quick break and move to the next exercise.
Alright, enough talk, more action. Here’s your September workout of the month focusing on your upper body!
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If you want to track how you’re doing with your workouts, I recommend using a Fitbit. I don’t have mine on here for the pictures, but my old school one is great to track my activity levels and I wear it for my real workouts! Here’s my review on all the awesome Fitbit options!
Outfit – Target Leggings and Under Armour Sports Bra. I am OBSESSED with the Under Armour sports bras! I own two of them and wear them over any others! The one I’m wearing is old school so I don’t think they have it anymore, but I also have this black one and it’s amazing!
Standing Overhead Press: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and keep your knees very slightly bent (you don’t want them locked out). Holding the dumbbells in each hand, raise them up to your ears. Then press them up to the sky and slowly lower them back down. Do not allow the weights to drop below your ears between reps.
Reverse Chest Fly: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Hinge at your hips to bend slightly forward. Holding the dumbbells in each hand at your chest, pull them out to your sides while keeping your elbows bent. At the top of the movement, squeeze your shoulder blades together. Slowly lower the weights back to the starting point.
Overhead Triceps: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and keep your knees very slightly bent. Hold one weight with both hands behind your head. Carefully raise it up to extend your arms, then slowly lower it back to the starting point.
Around the World: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and keep your knees very slightly bent. Hold one weight with both hands at the center of your hips. Circle the weight to the right up and around the back of your head and bring it down the left side back to the starting point. Reverse directions and repeat.
Bent Over Row: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Hinge at your hips to bend slightly forward. Holding the dumbbells in each hand at your sides, raise them straight up keeping your elbows tight to your body. At the top of the movement, squeeze your shoulder blades together.
Front and Side Raise: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and keep your knees very slightly bent. Holding the dumbbells in each hand at your sides, raise them straight out in front of you until they are parallel to the ground. Slowly lower them back down, then immediately raise them straight out to each side until they are parallel. Again slowly lower them to the starting point and repeat.
What’s your favorite upper body workout? Any favorite exercises I missed? As always, if you have ANY questions about this workout, don’t hesitate to contact me!!