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Upper Body Strength with Bonus Pulses for Stabilizing Muscle Activation

42 Min • Upper Body
  • View on YouTube
    • Training Type Strength Training
    • Equipment Dumbbell, Mat
    • Membership Free


    I am super excited to introduce my newest workout! I have a full-length upper body strength routine, complete with modifications, a warm-up, and a cool-down. I always talk about other workouts to pair with mine, but no need to for this one!

    We are targeting the major muscles in your upper body with this routine. With 14 exercises on our to-do list, we will work for 45 seconds then rest for 15 seconds. We will perform each exercise first through a full range of motion. Then follow it up with the same exercise but this time with a pulse in a smaller range of motion. You will need a set of dumbbells, as well as an exercise mat and chair. 

    Why pulses?

    • The non-scientific reason:
      • It's a fun way to switch up an exercise.
    • Here are more scientific reasons: 
      • Much like an isometric exercise, working through the smaller range of motion places less load through the joint, can help build strength and power, and help with injury prevention. 
      • Moving through a larger range of motion engages the larger global muscles while pulsing through a smaller range of motion activates the stabilizing musculature.

    Notes on technique and form

    • I talk about pulsing in the mid-range a lot in this workout, but you can pulse anywhere in the range - beginning, mid, or end range. Wherever your form is the best while still challenging yourself is where I recommend pulsing. 
    • Don't worry about how fast you perform your pulses. You can move slower if it means maintaining proper form. 
    • Not saying that you have to lift the same as me, mind you, but I use between 5 and 10 pounds (~2.3-4.5 kg) for each exercise. 
    • If you don't have weights, you could use a resistance band. It just might take a little extra planning to determine where you need to place the band or how to hold it. 
    • Try using a lighter weight for the first round of the exercise where you work through the entire range, and then use a heavier weight for the pulses. 

    So, what did you think of the pulses? I really hope you enjoyed this routine. Thanks so much for working out with me - and, as always, let us know what you'd like to see next!

    The Workout


    30 seconds each (5 minutes)

    • Boxer Shuffle
    • 3 Trunk Rotations with a Knee
    • Swan Dives
    • Side Bending with Step Back
    • Chest Expansion
    • Bilateral ER with Wrist Extension
    • Neck Series - R
    • Neck Series - L
    • Lat Stretch with Lift-Off
    • Jumping Jacks


    45 seconds on // 15 seconds off (28 minutes)

    • Bicep Curls
    • Bicep Pulses
    • Tricep Overhead Extensions
    • Tricep Overhead Extensions Pulses
    • Chest Press
    • Chest Press Pulses
    • Overhead Shoulder Press
    • Overhead Shoulder Press Pulses
    • Hammer Curls
    • Hammer Curls Pulses
    • Chair Dips
    • Chair Dip Pulses
    • Single Arm Row - R
    • Row Pulses - R
    • Push-Ups
    • Push-Up Pulses
    • Neutral Grip Overhead Press
    • Neutral Grip Overhead Press Pulses
    • Supination Bicep Curls
    • Supination Bicep Curl Pulses
    • Skull Crushers
    • Skull Crusher Pulses
    • Deltoid Raises
    • Deltoid Raise Pulses
    • Chest Fly
    • Chest Fly Pulses
    • Single Arm Row - L
    • Row Pulses - L

    **Water Break**


    30 seconds each (5 minutes)

    • Swan Dives
    • Overhead Tricep - R
    • Overhead Tricep - L
    • Seated Chest Expansion
    • Trunk Rotation with Pec Stretch - R
    • Trunk Rotation with Pec Stretch - L
    • Eagle Arms - R
    • Eagle Arms - L
    • Lat Stretch
    • Neck Series

    Written and Filmed for Fitness Blender by Amanda VF, PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS
    Board-Certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist