A Simple (But Powerful) Upper Body Circuit To Build Incredible Strength

It's that time of year again. "Doomsday" is approaching. The solution: An intense upper body circuit.

You see, I was at my dad's house the other day and he kindly reminded me that we have a grueling martial arts grading coming up soon. Visions of past gradings began flooding my head...

  • 5 hours of backbreaking physical exertion.
  • Running up endless sand dunes carrying a backpack full of rocks.
  • Bleeding knuckles from countless knuckle pressups.
  • Tender, quivering thighs, from all manner of exotic postures and stances - Not to mention the sparring!

Panic set it! We hurried into our man-cave, grabbed our dumbbells, and came up with a plan. We needed a simple workout. Focussed. Powerful.

Laser targetted for building upper body strength!

Below is the upper body circuit we did that day. And let me tell you, it burned like a Vindaloo on day 2! Enjoy :)


The upper body circuit for building a strong upper body

This workout is done in circuit training style. Do either 3 or 4 rounds of this circuit. On your final round, lift the heaviest weights you can SAFELY manage! Go until you can't lift any more!


Dumbbell Bicep Curls

No prizes for which muscle this works. The biceps are a crucial muscle not only for strong arms but also fantastic looking arms.

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand
  2. Curl one dumbbell up (palm facing up)
  3. Lower it back down and curl the other arm up.
  4. Keep alternating between each arm for a total of 10 reps per arm.

NOTE: You can extend this exercise to work your shoulders more by lifting the dumbbells vertically upwards at the end of your curl.

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Dumbbell Swiss Ball Press

Using a swiss ball activates your entire musculature to keep you balanced. This is one of many way of making the standard chest press more difficult - and interesting! :)

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand
  2. Lie back on a swiss ball
  3. Raise your hips up to level.
  4. Press the dumbbells up.
  5. Lower them back down to your chest.
  6. Repeat x 10

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Dumbbell Lateral Raises

This exercise primarily works your medial deltoid (middle shoulder) muscles.

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Stand up straight with your arms by your side.
  3. Lift both arms up to the side as high as you can (Without swinging)
  4. Lower your arms back down.
  5. Repeat for a total of 10 reps.

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Bent Over Dumbbell Flys

This builds strength in your upper back. This is important for people who spend long hours at the computer. It helps stop the "rounded shoulders syndrome".

This exercise uses leverage to it's full advantage so you won't need to use heavy weights at all.

  1. Dial up the desired weight.
  2. Bend forward at the hip, hang your arms down, and keep your back straight.
  3. Raise the dumbbells out to the side as high as you can. At the top, squeeze between your shoulder blades.
  4. Lower back down slowly and repeat for 10 reps.

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For this upper body circuit my dad and I used the bowflex selecttech dumbbells.

These dumbbells are well suited to training with more than one person because you can switch between weights so quickly. I'm a bit stronger than my dad so I need to use heavier weights than him. (Although he's pretty strong for a 50 year old)

Discover how these dumbbells can make workouts with friends flow nicely...



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