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The Only 2-In-1 Upper-body Dumbbell Workout You’ll Ever Need

Working your upper body is just as important as working your abs and lower body. You use your arm and shoulders probably more than you use any other body parts, so it’s important that you keep them healthy and strong. 

This means injury-free shoulders, a stable back, and a functional core. While there are tons of shoulder exercises you can do, there are particular ones that I think will give you more bang for your buck.

These two functional movements will not only work your shoulders, arms, and back, but they will also work your core.

1. Dumbbell Renegade Row and Pushup

Dumbbell Renegade Row and Pushup

The dumbbell renegade row with pushups is one of the best compound movements to train the upper body. Not only does this move works your chest and upper back simultaneously, but it also trains your core. 

Exercises like crunches, sit-ups, and Russian twists are popular. But they require the spine to bend and rotate, placing a lot of pressure and stress on the spine. 

This renegade row with pushups forces your abdominals to work just as hard without the pressure on the spine. 

Instead, they work the core as it was designed to, which is to stabilize the trunk as your upper-body moves. 

So not only your upper body gets stronger and more tone, but also your abdominal muscles get a workout. 

It’s an excellent functional move that combines isometric arm exercise with a compound movement. It builds core stability, and chest and back strength while working the arms and shoulders.

It’s a 2-in-1 move that takes care of all your upper body needs and more. 

How to Do a Dumbbell Renegade Row With Pushup

  1. Place a pair of dumbbells on the floor about shoulder-width apart. Start in a pushup position. Place your hands on each of the dumbbells and hold with a neutral grip with palms facing each other. 
  2. Adjust your feet so they are about hip to shoulder-width apart. Widen your feet stance gives more support. Narrowing gives less support and makes the exercise more challenging. 
  3. Contract your abs by drawing your belly button towards the spine. Then, lower your chest in between the dumbbells to do a pushup. Keep your core tight and body straight and rigid. 
  4. Using your core, push your body back to the top position. Then at the top row the right dumbbell into your right side ribs and back to the floor. Repeat with the left dumbbell rowing it into your left side ribs.
  5. Continue until you do 10-12 reps per side. That’s one set. Aim for 2-3 sets. 

2. Bicep Curl to Overhead Press

This 2-in-1 move brings super efficiency to your upper body workouts. 

In one exercise, it works both your biceps and shoulders while also activating the entire core. 

This move combines the two classic and effective arm exercises, curls, and presses you know too well.

It’s one efficient move that gives the most bang for your buck and truly adds to your overall upper body. 

As you curl, be sure to be intentional with your abs and core engagement. As you press up, don’t let the arms be the drivers. Rather, pay attention to your lats and shoulders working along with the triceps. 

How to Do a Bicep Curl to Overhead Press

  • Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold one in each hand. Stand tall with your feet about hip-width apart. Rotate your hands so your palms are facing out. Let the dumbbells rest by your sides. 
  • Engage your core as tight as you can and keep a slight bend in your knees to maintain balance. Start bending your elbows, bringing the dumbbells up to your shoulders. Don’t let your elbows slide backward or come up with the weights. Make sure your elbows stayed glued to your sides. 
  • Turn your hands outwards, so your palms are facing out. 
  • Brace your abs and press the weight straight up until your arms are almost fully straight. Avoid locking the elbows at the top and curving your back. 
  • With control, lower your dumbbells to the shoulder level. You should be back at the “top” of your bicep curl position. Rotate your writs in before performing another curl. This counts as one rep. 
  • Complete 10-12 reps and 2-3 sets. 

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