Upper Body Workout for The Everygirl

Remember those ’80’s workout videos, complete with leg warmers and repetitive bicep curls and a hot pink leotard? Thankfully, lifting weights has been updated since then, because strength training is vital to good health. Not only is it a great way to tone your muscles, but working out with weights will strengthen your bones, too.

Ladies, it’s time to pick up the dumbells and use those muscles. Start by keeping a few light free weights around your house and adding in several exercises a few times a week. Doing so will boost your energy level and mood, protect your bone health, and define your muscles. Guaranteed.

There was an old myth that lifting weights will bulk you up, but we promise that is not the case. Light weights with lots of repetition can tone, define, and strengthen your body.

Muscle mass keeps your metabolism at peak performance. What’s more, it makes you look (and feel) young and vibrant. Let’s avoid the unhealthy “skinny-fat” syndrome—a thin person who is weak is certainly not healthy. Build strength into your physique!

The following six compound exercises are quick and easy, perfect for those days when you can’t make it to the gym. Do the whole routine or squeeze in one or two each day. And of course, don’t forget your dumbells!

Start with 3lb or 5lb weights. Work up to 1 set of each exercise for 20 repetitions. You know you need to add more weight when it is too easy.

Two Arm Row w/ Triceps Kickbacks

Tones upper back and back of arms.

Stand with a soft bend in knees
Tight core (belly button to spine)
Hinge forward at hips with a straight back

Reach down with both arms and pull elbows back and in squeezing should blades together. Maintain that position and straighten the elbows pushing the weights behind you. Retrace/reverse these steps with your arms back to start position. Repeat.

Two Arm Biceps Hammer Curl w/ Parallel Overhead Press

Tones front of arms and shoulders.

Stand with a soft bend in knees
Tight core (belly button to spine)

Arms start straight down at your sides, palms face in. Bend elbows, keeping tucked in at your sides until hands arrive at shoulders. With palms still facing in, press weights overhead. Retrace/reverse these steps with your arms back to start position. Repeat.

Two Arm Biceps Blast

Tones front of arms.

Stand with a soft bend in knees
Tight core (belly button to spine)

Hold weights in front of you, palms facing up and arms bent at 90 degree angle, elbows tucked in at rib cage, hold for 20-30 seconds. Keep elbows in place and open arms to the side as wide as possible without disconnecting elbows, hold for 20-30 seconds. Maintain this wide position and continue with a full range of motion wide bicep curl, opening and closing the elbow joint.


Tones chest, back of arms, and core.

Face down on floor

Assume the plank position, hands comfortable width but wider than should width apart. Tighten legs and core and then bend elbows toward 90 degree angle maintaining a straight body as far down an back up as possible. Repeat.
*Another option here is to lower your self all the way down in good form, and then set up again at the top to repeat.

Same set up as above, but without shifting weight simply drop knees to floor forward of the knee caps, and continue to follow steps for advanced. Repeat.

Set up on all fours, knees under hips, hands comfortable width but wider than should width apart (wider may be better in this variation). Core remains tight and back straight. Bend elbows toward 90 degrees, aiming your nose to the floor, return to top. Repeat.


Tones back muscles.

Face down on floor

Lay flat on the floor face down, arms extended overhead. Lift opposite arm and leg, creating lift and length. Release and switch sides, keep it moving. Hold “Superman” by lifting both arms and both legs for as long as you can. Your head can lift slightly for this part.

Side-lying Deltoid Raise

Tones shoulders and core.

Lie on your left side, rest your head on your left arm. Extend your right arm straight out on the floor, palm down holding weight. With slight bend in elbow, lift arm slowly, no further back than shoulder height. Return down slowly. Use your core to stabilize, so that your body doesn’t roll back and forth, only the arm is moving. Repeat. (Make sure to do other side.)