The upper back and triceps are often overlooked muscles in women when it comes to everyday life, and even working out sometimes. I will admit, this is the muscle group that is, BY FAR, my weakest. I have ALWAYS struggled with these muscles! I don’t know what the deal is. Haha!
My AWESOME trainer, Rachel Sevier from Shape Fitness, created this workout specific to those muscles to give you some strength, tone, and definition in those arms and back! This workout is ideal with lightweight dumbbells but can still be done with just bodyweight by going through the movements and creating your own tension. Let’s get started!
Begin by holding your dumbbells at shoulder height with your elbows directly in front of your shoulders and palms facing each other. Press your dumbbells straight up, while turning your palms to face forward. Your biceps should end up right next to your ears. Return to start and repeat for 8-12 reps.
Stand up tall and keep your abs in tight. Slightly tuck your tail bone under you to prevent your lower back from arching. Holding one 10lb or so dumbbell in your hands (or a 5lb in each hand), extend your arms with the dumbbell straight above your head. You biceps should be squeezing your ears. Keep your elbows and biceps tight to your head and slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head. Now press straight back up, squeezing your triceps! Repeat for a total of 10-12 reps.
Hold your dumbbells in front of your hips with palms facing forward. Keeping your core tight and a slight bend in your elbow, circle your arms out and up until the dumbbells tap each other over your head. Slowly reverse the circle until your dumbbells are back in front of your hips and repeat for a total of 10-15 reps. Dumbbells should be 3-5lbs.
Begin by holding one dumbbell behind your back with one end in each hand. Keep a slight bend in your knees and hinge forward at the hips just slightly. With your elbows locked out, press the dumbbell behind you as far as you can. You should feel your triceps working here! The range of motion isn’t that big so don’t worry if you can’t press very far behind you as long as you feel the burn in your triceps! Repeat for 8-12 reps.
Place your feet about shoulder width apart and hinge forward at the hips until you are almost facing the floor (or as far as your belly will let you!). Hold your dumbbells straight down with a slight bend in your elbows and your palms facing forward. From here, fly your dumbbells out, squeezing your shoulder blades together, and as if you are trying to touch the wall behind you with your elbows. Return to start and repeat for 8-12 reps.
Lay down on your side with legs stacked and knees bent. Take the hand of your bottom arm and place it on the top shoulder. Take the hand of your top arm and place it on the floor next to that elbow (fingers parallel to your body). Now, squeeze the tricep as you press through the hand on the floor to lift your upper body up until your working arm is straight. Slowly lower back down and repeat for 8-12 reps on each side.
Being in a high plank position on your feet or knees (choose your knees if you are farther along in your pregnancy at this point). You should have a straight line from head to knees (or feet). Engage your core to protect your lower back and keep your hips from drooping too low. Now, lower to your forearms one at a time. Hold the low plank for a split second and then push back to high plank, one arm at a time. Repeat for 8-12 reps, alternating which arm is lowering first and which arm is lifting first.
Increase the intensity of this workout by adding 30-60 seconds of jumping jacks between each exercise. If you are pregnant, modify the jumping jacks by stepping one foot out a time instead of jumping (arms still lift each time a foot steps out).