Fit Tip: Upper Body Home Workout

Posted On Apr 6, 2020 By Lisa Traugott

A person performing a bench press.

COVID-19 have you quarantined? Now’s your chance to reconnect with that Bowflex home gym equipment. As a trainer with a bodybuilding background, we like to break up workouts into muscle groups so your body gets full recovery time between sessions.

This is an upper body workout you can do at home. If you don’t have a cable system, you can substitute dumbbells. To make this more challenging, I’ve included cardio between sets so you have an active recovery (meaning you will work on burning calories and improving your endurance while your muscles rest.)

If you have a cardio machine (treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical machine, etc.) you can use that. If not, jog in place for the specified amount of time.

Exercise Sets Reps
Cardio (warm-up) 1 2 minutes
Seated lateral rows 2-4 12-15
Cardio 1 5 minutes
Standing biceps curl 2-4 12-15
Cardio 1 7 minutes
Bench press 2-4 8-10
Cardio 1 8 minutes
Trunk rotation 3 8-10
Cardio 1 7 minutes
Triceps press down 2-4 12-15
Cardio (cool down) 1 5 minutes

Here are directions for the exercises:

Seated lateral rows

  • Sit facing the cable machine with feet shoulders-width apart and pointing straight ahead.
  • Hold cable handles with arms extended in front of you.
  • Lean back at a 45-degree angle and pull the handles toward you.
  • Your elbows should move past your waist, keeping your shoulder blades pinched together.
  • Hold.
  • Slowly return arms to original position by extending the elbows and arms forward.

Standing biceps curl

A woman performing a cable biceps curl
  • Grab the cables and let them hang down your sides, with palms face forward.
  • Bend your elbows and curl the cables up towards your shoulders.
  • Pause at the top, then slowly bring your arms back down to the start position.
  • Tip—If you are swinging then you are not getting the full benefit because you are using momentum to help you lift.

Bench press

  • Hold cables with an overhand grip, hands wider than shoulder-width apart. Hold it directly above your nipple line with your arms straight.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together and your feet on the floor. Keep your back flat on the bench as you do this exercise.
  • Lower the cables down, almost touching your chest, pause, then press the cables straight up to start position.

Trunk rotation

  • Adjust the pulley handle to chest height. Step out and away from the weight. Feet are shoulder-width. Stand with a tight core and flat back.
  • Twist from the hips. Move arms across the body, achieving a full extension.
  • Return to starting position.
  • Once complete, do the same amount of sets/reps on the other side.

Triceps press down

  • Stand in front of a cable machine with the attachment at the top.
  • Your elbows are bent with your palms facing each other.
  • As you pull the rope down, split it open on either side of your hips with your palms toward the floor.
  • Pause at the bottom, then slowly bring your arms back up to the start position.

Hang in there! We will all get through the coronavirus together…at a safe social distance.


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Two people performing planks