I created this workout because I wanted a quick and thorough strength routine for burning out the upper body muscles. Fifteen minutes of strength training is way, way better than skipping your workout completely and these fifteen minutes pack a punch. Fifteen minutes of exercise can do amazing things for your mental and physical wellbeing; try it and you'll feel the difference for yourself.
I’ve used long intervals of 50 seconds in hopes of really burning out the muscles being targeted in each interval. Despite this being a short lifting workout, you will be hitting each of the upper body muscles twice (using different exercises for each time - similar to our signature “workouts for people who get bored easily", which involves not repeating a single exercise). Because the intervals are long, you may occasionally feel like you want to stop and take a break or shake out your muscles; feel free to take a breather whenever you need to, just try and keep the breaks as short as possible.
I intentionally set the intervals long and the rest/transition periods short; this rushes the routine right along and turns this muscle building strength workout into a sweaty cardio workout as well. Note: Do NOT get frustrated if you are running a few seconds behind in any give exercise; the rest intervals have intentionally been set short in order to keep the routine fast paced and it’s expected that you will behind occasionally. Don’t panic, just focus on moving as quickly and efficiently as you can in between sets.
In terms of the repetitions, move at your own pace. There’s no reason that you have to match my exact pace; find your own rhythm and just make sure that you are working and pushing yourself as hard as you can. Once you have your form dialed in, lift as heavily as you can control in order to get the most benefit out of this routine.
The combinations in this routine challenge coordination, balance, and control over your own body. Many moves call upon the core, and there are many options to sneak in lower body work if you would like to turn this into a total body routine (i.e. the bridge position for the floor based upper body exercises).
This workout makes for an excellent go-to when you’re short on time but want to hit all of the upper body muscles. You can also use this routine as an add-on to a HIIT or cardio workout, if you want to specifically engage the muscles of the arms, shoulders, upper back and chest. There is no warm up or cool down in this video - for best results, you’ll want to make sure that you included both.
- 50 Seconds on, 10 seconds rest
- Warm up and cool down not included
- Equipment: Dumbbells, optional bench
(I have included floor modifications for people who don’t have a bench; feel free to use one where applicable.)
Printable Upper Body Workout
Curl to Arnold Press
Close Row + Fly
Chest Presses (standing)
Around the World (change directions halfway)
Ventral Raise + Tricep Extensions
Shoulder to Shoulder Press
Captain Morgan's Chop (change directions halfway)
Push Up + Row
Chest Fly + Tabletop
Back Bow Pulls
Chest Press + Bridge