Build Super Strength

Written by Nichelle Laus, Certified Personal Trainer Coach
Photography by Dave Laus  |  Model  Rachel Palvetzian

When you’re strapped for time, circuits are a lifesaver. This effective training method of performing multiple exercises on multiple body parts consecutively without rest, is a great way to rev the metabolism and get a lot done in a little time. And this routine is no exception.
If improving your upper body strength is your goal, you’ve come to the right place. This circuit focuses on one muscle group at a time, giving the others time to rest between sets so they can work harder — and that equates to greater strength gains.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN: If you want to get stronger, you’re going to have to go heavy. Make sure you’re using enough weight so that you almost hit failure with every set. However, if you’re failing before the last couple of reps, scale the weight back a bit.

HOW TO: Perform each exercise for the prescribed number of reps, then move on to the next exercise without rest until the circuit is complete. Rest 30 seconds. Repeat the circuit 2 more times for a total of 3 rounds.

TRAINER TIP: Changing up the amount of reps each week will increase your strength, prevent training boredom, and help to bust those plateaus

6 WEEK UPPER-BODY STRENGTH CIRCUIT WORKOUT
EXERCISE
WEEK 1
REPS
WEEK 2
REPS
WEEK 3
REPS
WEEK 4
REPS
WEEK 5
REPS
WEEK 6
REPS
One Arm Bent-Over Row
8
10
10
12
12
15
One-Arm Triceps Extension
8
10
10
12
12
15
Dumbbell Bench Press
8
10
10
12
12
15
Concentration Curl
8
10
10
12
12
15
Dumbbell Seated Shoulder Press
8
10
10
12
12
15

One-Arm Bent-Over Row

Set up: Stand beside a flat bench with a dumbbell in one hand and place the opposite knee and palm on the bench. Lower the dumbbell towards the floor until your arm is extended.
Action: Bend your arm and pull the dumbbell up toward your ribcage, squeezing your back at the top of the movement. Hold, then lower back to the start.

One-Arm Triceps Extension

Set up: Sit up tall on a bench holding a dumbbell in one hand. Position the dumbbell behind your head with your elbow bent, stretching the triceps slightly.
Action: Contract your triceps and extend your arm, raising the dumbbell straight upward. Hold and squeeze, then slowly lower with control.

Dumbbell Bench Press

Set up: Holding a dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip, lie face-up on the bench, keeping your shoulder blades back and down. Extend your arms and hold the weights above your chest, shoulder-width apart.
Action: Bend at the elbows to slowly lower the weights down toward your chest, pause, then press them back up.

Concentration Curl

Set Up: Sit on the edge of a bench holding a dumbbell in one hand. Extend the weight down towards the floor between your feet, resting your elbow on the inside of your thigh. Place the other hand on your knee for balance.
Action: Squeeze your bicep to slowly raise the weight up towards your chest. Hold at the top of the movement, then lower back down. Complete all reps, then switch sides.

Dumbbell Seated Shoulder Press

Set up: Sit tall on a flat bench holding a dumbbell in each hand. Position the dumbbells slightly above your shoulders with palms facing out.
Action: Engage your core and extend your arms to press the dumbbells up overhead. Pause at the top, then slowly lower back to the starting position.

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