Super Sunday Workout: Upper Body Circuit Training

Super Sunday Upper Body Workout | A Firework in Progress

I don’t know the definition of “lazy Sunday” because personally, I like to kick ass on Sundays. I love a good long workout on my weekend days. This upper body circuit training workout is a great follow up to my super Saturday workout and if you pair the two, you’ve pretty much guaranteed that you’ve owned the weekend. Feel free to adapt the time of cardio, reps, and weights to make it work for you.

High Intensity Interval Training
Start with 20 minutes of intervals: 1 minute jogging or walking, 1 minute running. Intervals are a great way to burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time. I like to use a heart rate monitor and get my heart rate up to 85% of my max heart rate (220 minus your age, then multiply that by .85 and try not to let your heart rate get higher than that). Alternate the high intensity minutes with recovery minutes, either jogging or walking depending on your fitness level.

Upper Body Circuit
For all of the exercises that require weights, choose a weight that you can comfortably do 20 reps with excellent form (or if you’re a beginner, start with 10). Never sacrifice quality for quantity. This workout calls for four sets, so the weight will be lighter than what you can do at lower reps. Lighter weight and higher reps allows you to get your heart rate up and burn a lot of calories. The weight should still be challenging, and the last few reps should be difficult. Trust your body and don’t overdo it. If you’re just starting out, try ten reps of each instead of 20 and build up. Eventually you will want to raise the weights as you get stronger. Raising the weights gradually builds muscle strength, whereas raising the reps gradually builds muscle endurance.

20 Push-ups
Traditional push-ups are a great way of building upper body strength. Since you’ll be doing four sets, you can alternate hand position between tradition, wide, narrow, and putting your hands together in a diamond shape to work different muscles.

20 Chest Presses
Lay on a bench and use either dumbbells or a barbell, lifting straight up from your chest until your arms are straight overhead.

20 Shoulder Presses
Take a dumbbell in each hand. Grasp dumbs with palms facing forward and bring hands to your shoulders. Raise overhead. Lower and repeat.

20 Rear Lat Raises
Grasp a dumbbell in each hand. Bend knees slightly and bend forward slightly less than 90-degrees. Raise dumbbells out to your sides until arms are parallel with the ground. Lower and repeat.

20 Side Lat Raises
Stand with feet slightly apart, dumbbell in each hand at your sides. Lift arms out and up 90 degrees until they are straight out forming a T position with your body. Lower slowly and repeat.

20 Bicep Curls
With dumbbells in either hand, curl up until your hands come to your shoulders while focusing on squeezing your biceps. Lower and repeat.

20 Tricep Kickbacks
Bend forward at a 45-degree angle and stagger your feet so one is in front and one is behind to stabilize you. With a dumbbell in each hand and arms at a 90-degree angle, straighten arms out behind you, focusing on the muscles in your triceps and your upper back. Return to 90-degrees and repeat.

Repeat circuit.

Cardio Set
Do 10 minutes of jogging, walking, or running. You can add some incline if on a treadmill or extra resistance on an elliptical or step machine to make it more challenging.

Double Circuit
Repeat the circuit two more times. Don’t overdo it, if you need to do lighter weights or less reps that’s fine too. Try to make sure you’re challenging yourself without doing too much.

Cardio Cool Down
I like to do an extra 30-60 minutes of cardio after the circuits, whether jogging, walking, elliptical, step machine, bicycling, rowing, or a combination. This should be lower intensity than what you’ve been doing so your body has time to recover but that you’re maximizing your body’s fat burning power.

I’ve adapted this workout from a variety of workouts I’ve found on different websites such as bodybuilding.com, exrx.net, and from testing out different moves at the gym. It’s fun to experiment and piece together your own workouts. Always remember, form is king and quality over quantity. Go get ’em!!

Please note that I am not a personal trainer or expert, just a girl who knows what works for me. Consult with your doctor or trainer before starting any fitness program.

Courtney Wienslaw

My blog chronicles my 90-pound weight loss transformation and encourages people to live a healthy, happy, fit, and balanced lifestyle.

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