Women’s Beginner Upper Body Strength Workout




Exercise Type: Strength/Resistance
Level: Beginner
Goal: Muscle development & endurance

TIPS:

Set & rep schemes

8-10 reps – this specific rep range (if done with a properly challenging weight) stimulates muscle growth. You must lift a weight or choose a resistance level that is heavy or challenging enough that you cannot physically perform more than 8-10 reps.

12-15 reps – this specific rep range (if done with a properly challenging weight) creates muscle endurance. You must lift a weight or choose a resistance level that is heavy or challenging enough that you cannot physically perform more than 12-15 reps.

Reps to failure – perform exercise until your form fails or until one more rep is impossible.

Rest periods between sets

During rest between sets, shake out the muscles worked to flush lactic acid build-up, this will help you perform progressive steps with fresh arms. 60 seconds is recommended for each exercise below. This is enough time to recover so you can push hard each set, but short enough to keep the muscles warm. For the above reasons, I don’t recommend shortening rest periods. Growth comes from maximal effort. If your muscles don’t recover every set, your performance will dwindle along with potential gains.



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Warm-up

3-minute jog around gym or on a treadmill with a challenging incline or decline

1-2 minutes of dynamic stretches: forward and back arm circles, followed by  dislocates with band or lightweight bar

Total time: approx. 5 minutes

Dips on parallel bars

3 sets: 4-6 reps for absolute beginners

or 3 sets to failure more experienced trainees

Many people do dips in a manner that isn’t “functional,” meaning their movement pattern is unnatural for the human body. When doing dips, always use parallel bars or two surfaces that enable your body to dip down directly between your arms; as opposed to chair or bench dips when the body is not lowered directly between the arms, but is forced forward before dipping — ouch!

 

Dumbbell shoulder press

3 sets: 8-10 reps for muscle growth

or 3 sets of 12-15 reps for muscle endurance

Dumbbell rows

3 sets: 8-10 reps for muscle growth

or 3 sets of 12-15 reps for muscle endurance

Tricep overhead extensions

I recommend using cables for this exercise as opposed to dumbbells. This will give the body more diversity of resistance. The previous exercises utilize dumbbells, focusing on large muscle groups in a compound movement. The first exercise, dips, is a body weight movement that trains small and large muscle groups simultaneously. Doing tricep extensions with cables will again train large and small muscle groups together, while under constant resistance, thanks to the bands.

3 sets: 8-10 reps for muscle growth

or 3 sets of 12-15 reps for muscle endurance

 

Stretch

Stretch muscles worked.

Total time: approx. 5-10 minutes




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