Get Lean Upper Body + Cardio Workout

Amazing toning and cardio workout for your upper body! Get sweaty, lean and FIT with these exercises for the Summer Sweat Series!

get lean upper body and cardio workout graphic

*Warm up with a 20 minute walk or jog and/or active dynamic stretching {high knees, butt kicks, jumping jacks, air squats with arms reaching overhead}.

Decline Army Crawl

  1. Using a bench or chair, put your feet on the bench/chair and walk your hands out into a high plank position. Shoulders stacked over your wrists, weight evenly distributed amongst all 10 fingers, pulling your kneecaps up towards your belly and pushing your heels towards the wall behind you.
  2. Hold this position maintaining a straight line with your body, flat back, tight core, and neck in-line with spine, gaze slightly in front of you.
  3. Then drop down to one forearm, followed by dropping down to the other forearm so you are in a low plank position with your shoulders stacked over your elbows.
  4. Push yourself back up to the starting position one arm at a time while trying to maintain stable hips, square to the ground.
  5. Repeat this alternating forearm drop for the number of reps listed.

*If this is too challenging you can always perform a standard army crawl with your feet on the ground.

Arnold Shoulder Press

  1. Start standing tall in an athletic position; feet shoulder-width distance apart, slight bend in your knees, and core engaged. Hold two dumbbells, one in each hand, in front of you at about upper chest level with your palms facing your body and your elbows bent. Tip: Your arms should be next to your torso. The starting position should look like the contracted portion of a dumbbell curl.
  2. Raise the dumbbells as you rotate the palms of your hands until they are facing forward.
  3. Continue lifting the dumbbells until your arms are extended above you in straight arm position; locking out your elbows. Exhaling as you perform this portion of the movement.
  4. Pause at the top for a second, the lower the dumbbells to the original, starting position by rotating the palms of your hands towards you. Tip: The left arm will be rotated in a counterclockwise manner while the right one will be rotated clockwise. Breathe in as you perform this portion of the movement.
  5. Repeat for the number of reps listed.


In & Out Bicep Curls

  1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart, slight bend in the knees, abs tight, arms down by your sides, and shoulders down and back.
  2. With a dumbbell in each hand and palms facing forwards, exhale as you bend your elbows bringing the dumbbells up to your shoulders.
  3. Then, inhale and return to the starting position. That is the ‘In’ bicep curl.
  4. On the next repetition, rotate your arms at the shoulder so palms rotate further away from your body (a small movement). In this position, exhale and bend at the elbows bringing the dumbbells up to your shoulder and inhale to return to start position. That is the ‘Out’ bicep curl.
  5. Alternate between these two movements. The rest of your body should be stable throughout the entire movement.
  6. Each curl is one rep; repeat for the number of reps listed.


Single Arm Front + Back Overhead Tricep Press

  1. To begin, stand up with a dumbbell held in one hand. Your feet should be shoulder width apart from each other with a slight bend in your knees.
  2. Fully extend the arm with the dumbbell overhead, palm facing out, away from the body.  
  3. Lower the dumbbell down in front of your face to touch your chest, bending only at the elbow. Then press it back up, returning to the starting position. That is one rep.
  4. Subsequently, on the second rep, lower dumbbell back behind your head, again bending only at the elbow. Then press back to extend arm straight above your head to the starting position.
  5. Alternate front and back overhead tricep presses for the number of reps listed.


Bent Over Wide Back Fly

  1. Start in an athletic stance, feet shoulder-width distance apart with a slight bend in the knees. Holding the dumbbells in front of you with a slight bend in the elbows as if your arms were wrapped around a beach ball.
  2. Then, hinge forward at the waist, keeping a neutral spine.
  3. Perform a back fly in this position. Opening your arms out to the sides, parallel to your back, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Hold at the top of this movement for a second and then return to the starting position.
  4. That is one rep. Perform for the number of reps listed.


Bonus Burnout – Killer Combo

AMRAP: Do as many exercises as you can for 1 minute!

  1. Start in an athletic stance, feet shoulder-width distance apart with a slight bend in the knees. Holding dumbbells in each hand at your sides, palms facing out away from the body with thumbs up towards the ceiling.
  2. Perform an inverted lateral shoulder raise, raising the dumbbells up to shoulder height, with thumbs up towards the ceiling.
  3. Then turn your palms up toward the ceiling and perform a bicep curl, bending at the elbows and curling the dumbbells towards your head while your arms stay at shoulder-height.
  4. After the curl hold your arms goal-posted at shoulder height and turn your palms out, away from your body. From here perform an overhead shoulder press, extending your arms straight overhead and locking out your elbows. Make sure to maintain a neutral spine and tight core as you press overhead.
  5. One your arms are locked out at the top, turn your palms in, facing one another. From here, bend at the elbows for an overhead tricep press; dropping the weights behind your head and then pressing back up overhead, again locking out your arms at the top.
  6. Steps 1-5 are one rep. Repeat for the number of reps listed.

Disclaimer: Always consult your doctor before starting a new fitness regime. While Lee from Fit Foodie Finds and Monique from Ambitious Kitchen worked with a professional trainer to design the Summer Sweat Series exercise program, you are participating at your own risk. Please listen to your body and modify as needed.

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