Springtime. Fresh. Clean. Beautiful. Bikini season. Oh my, is it that time already? Yes, my beautiful friends, it IS and I am excited! Growing up I used to love the fresh blooms that would begin to peek through the ground and the blossoms that would open on the trees in our front yard. And now, living in south Florida, I am especially excited because I know beach season is upon us. So let’s get ready now and begin with an upper body workout to prepare for the sun, sands and bikinis.
This workout can be done anywhere and with minimal equipment just be sure to always begin by warming up for 5-10 minutes. Your warmup can be a combination of marching in place with high knees and jumping jacks or getting on a treadmill for a light jog. You should begin to feel warm and maybe even begin to feel a light sweat.
Kettlebell squat, clean + press – Although I am not a fully converted kettlebell lover (yet), I do love them for the versatility and combination moves that can be incorporated into my workouts. I used a 15lb kettlebell for this one but if you are new to working out or to kettlebells, begin with a lower weight. Perform 12-15 repetitions, per arm, rest for 30 seconds and begin again. Repeat for a total of 3 complete sets. Here’s how to do it: Begin with feet wider than hip-width apart. Holding your kettlebell in your right (or left) hand, squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground (as you would be for a plie squat), press back up through your heels as you also press the kettlebell up over your head for a single-arm should press. Pause for a beat and then repeat. Here is a great illustration of this move.
Cross-body bicep curls – For this exercise perform 12-15 repetitions per arm. Since you are ultimately giving the non-working arm a rest while working the opposite arm, you can continue with this exercise until you have completed 3 full sets per arm. Video from bodybuilding.com.
Shoulder press – This a basic shoulder exercise that is effective for hitting your whole shoulder area. Perform this move while seated on a bench or standing in a neutral position, meaning, your feet should be comfortably positioned flat on the floor and approximately hip width apart. Holding on to dumbells, (I used 10lbs in each hand), move your arms up and out towards the side of your body with elbows at a 90 degree angle, palms facing forward, press up until your hands are completely over your head. Your elbows will straighten out, but NOT lock while keeping your focus and tension in your shoulders, hold for a beat. Gradually lower back to a 90 degree angle at the elbows. Repeat this for a total of 12-15 repetitions. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat for 3 complete sets.
Overhead Tricep press – Begin by standing in a neutral position or with your feet staggered as in photo below (from American Council on Exercise library). Hold dumbbell in one hand (I used 15lbs) and extend your arms up over your head and bend elbows to a 90 degree angle. Your upper arm should be close to your ears and elbows up towards the sky at all times. Press upwards, extending and straightening your elbows, without locking them out, keeping your focus on the triceps. Lower back down, elbows at a 90 degree angle. Repeat this for 12-15 repetitions, rest for 30 seconds and complete 3 sets.
Bicep preacher curl – Here, I used 12lbs but again, use your own discretion and consider how long you have been working out. You should perform 12-15 repetitions, feeling a good burn towards the last few. Rest for 30 seconds and then repeat for a total of 3 sets.
Tricep kickback – You can use a dumbbell or even a flex band for this exercise (I used 10lbs). Be sure the keep your head up and back flat. Having a mirror nearby is a great idea to see how good your posture is. Perform 12-15 repetitions per arm, or you may do both arms at the same time. Rest for 30 seconds in between sets and complete 3 sets per each arm. (Photo from American Council on Exercise, exercise library).
The Cool Down:
While breathing more slowly, be sure to stretch out the triceps, biceps, shoulders, upper back and chest. This will not only bring your heart rate back to back to normal but it will lessen the chance for lactic acid buildup and muscle cramping. Another important part of the cool down is drinking plenty of water and then eating a recovery snack to ensure a quicker recovery. One of my favorite ways to refuel is through a nutrient dense shake.
This workout may be done alone or paired with an abdominal workout, cardio or both. Just be sure to use caution when choosing the proper amount of weights being used. Until next time, enjoy your workout!