Upper Body – comprising the torso and arms.

Arnold Press

Difficulty: Intermediate

Muscle Group: Shoulders, Triceps

Begin with the dumbbells out in front, with your palms facing towards you and your elbows facing away from you and off of your ribs. As you press the weights up, pull your elbows outwards at the same time so the dumbbells make a “U” shape from the bottom to the top, also while rotating your palms away from you. Reverse the movement while rotating your palms back to face towards you.

With any shoulder press variation, if you’re a beginner, it is wise to start while sitting down or sitting down with back support to help you avoid hyperextending your lower back. Once your core becomes stronger, you can perform the same move standing.


Barbell Bent Over Row

Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced

Muscle Groups: Back, Posterior Chain (hamstrings, glutes, erectors), Posterior Deltoids

Keep feet hip-width apart. While grasping the barbell with an overhand grip, slightly bend the knees, keep the spine neutral, and hinge forward at the hips until your torso is near parallel (or as close to parallel you can be while keeping a neutral spine throughout the entire exercise). Point your elbows slightly downward towards your hips and pull the barbell to your chest. Avoid using momentum while lifting the weight and avoid any rounding of the lower back.


Barbell Bench Press Tutorial Part 1 (set up)

Difficulty: Beginner to Advanced

Muscle Groups: Chest, Triceps, Anterior Deltoids

Maintain 5 points of contact (both feet, butt, upper back, and head) throughout and make sure you have a spotter or safety bars (we have both in this tutorial).


Barbell Bench Press Tutorial Part 2 (spotting)

Difficulty: Beginner to Advanced

Muscle Groups: Chest, Triceps, Anterior Deltoids

Maintain 5 points of contact throughout and use a spotter or safety bars if you don’t have a spotter.


Barbell Bench Press Tutorial Part 3 (keeping feet planted)

Difficulty: Beginner to Advanced

Muscle Groups: Chest, Triceps, Anterior Deltoids

Maintain 5 points of contact throughout and use a spotter or safety bars if you don’t have a spotter.


Barbell Inverted Row

Difficulty: Beginner to Advanced

Muscle Groups: Back, Posterior Deltoids, Biceps, Core

Start with your feet near your body and assume a hip-bridge position while hanging from a barbell with an overhand grip. Keeping your core braced and maintaining a straight line from your shoulders to your knees (or shoulders to feet when the feet are extended), pull yourself up to the bar (keep the bar near the bottom third of your sternum when you get to the top, don’t pull up and allow the bar to be near your face). Then lower yourself slowly back to the bottom without letting your hips dip towards the ground.


Barbell Shoulder Press

Difficulty: Intermediate

Muscle Group: Shoulders, Triceps

Sit on a bench and grab a barbell with an overhand grip just outside shoulder-width. Brace your core, start with the barbell near the top of your sternum, press it straight up, pause, and return to starting position. Avoid hyperextending your lower back throughout the movement.


Dumbbell Bicep Curl

Difficulty: Beginner

Muscle Group: Biceps

Hold the dumbbells at your hips and brace your core. As you curl the weight up, turn your palms so they face the ceiling at the top, pause, and return to starting position. Don’t allow your shoulders to help. Keep your elbows tucked into your sides.


Dumbbell Hammer Curl

Difficulty: Beginner

Muscle Group: Biceps, Brachioradialis

Hold the dumbbells at your hips and brace your core. As you curl the weight up, keep your palms facing your midline all the way to the top, pause, and return to starting position. Don’t allow your shoulders to help. Keep your elbows tucked into your sides.


Dumbbell Push-Up With Row

Difficulty: Intermediate

Muscle Group: Full Body

Assume a push-up position with a dumbbell in each hand. Perform a push-up and row a dumbbell up to your shoulder once you reach the top. Continue alternating arms at the top of the push-up.


Dumbbell Reverse Curl

Difficulty: Beginner

Muscle Group: Biceps, Brachioradialis

Hold the dumbbells at your hips and brace your core. As you curl the weight up, from the beginning, turn your palms so they face the floor throughout the entire movement, pause, and return to starting position. Don’t allow your shoulders to help. Keep your elbows tucked into your sides.


Dumbbell Reverse Fly

Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate

Muscle Group: Back, Posterior Deltoids

Start with very light weights in each hand hanging at your side and feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees and push your hips back as you hinge forward at the hips until your torso is near parallel to the ground. Maintaining a neutral spine throughout, start with your arms hanging directly below your shoulders, slightly bend your elbows, pull your arms outwards until your hands are about level with your shoulders, and slowly return to starting position. Avoid pulling your torso upwards and using momentum to move the weights.


Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Difficulty: Beginner

Muscle Group: Shoulders, Triceps

Begin with the dumbbells out in front, with your palms facing each other and your elbows off of your ribs. Press the weights straight up, pause, and return to starting position, all while keeping your palms facing each other and your elbows pointed forwards.

This variation usually feels better for those with prior shoulder injuries or impingement.

With any shoulder press variation, if you’re a beginner, it is wise to start while sitting down or sitting down with back support to help you avoid hyperextending your lower back. Once your core becomes stronger, you can perform the same move standing.


Dumbbell Snatch (slow-mo)

Difficulty: Advanced

Muscle Group: Full body

Start with feet about shoulder-width apart and one dumbbell directly between your toes. Grab the dumbbell with one hand with your palm facing backwards, sit your weight back in your heels, pull your shoulders back and set your lower back so it’s neutral. Pull the dumbbell straight up, extending your hips, knees, and ankles while also shrugging with your shoulder until the weight is moving vertically and you can bend your elbow to drop underneath the weight, catching it with a straight arm and bent knees.


Dumbbell Tricep Kickback

Difficulty: Beginner

Muscle Group: Triceps, Posterior Deltoids

Start with light weights in each hand hanging at your sides. Bend your knees and push your hips back while bringing your torso to near parallel with the ground. Maintaining a neutral spine throughout, bring your elbows up past your ribs, push the weights back and bring them back to starting position without allowing your upper arm to drop. Keep your upper arm as parallel to the ground as possible and your elbow stationary throughout the movement.


Flat Dumbbell Bench Press

Difficulty: Beginner to Advanced

Muscle Group: Chest, Anterior Deltoids, Triceps

With both dumbbells resting on your thighs, use your legs to push the dumbbells upwards before you roll back (to keep your elbows flexed at 90 degrees as you roll back) and push the dumbbells straight up above your shoulders. Maintain 5 points of contact throughout. Slowly bring the dumbbells down to the edge of your shoulders with elbows pointing slightly downwards, pause, and push straight back up.

When you finish the set, either safely drop the dumbbells to your sides, or bring your knees up to the dumbbells and roll forward while allowing the weights to rest on your thighs, reversing the movement you performed to roll them back.


Flat Dumbbell Fly

Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate

Muscle Group: Chest, Anterior Deltoids

With both dumbbells resting on your thighs, use your legs to push the dumbbells upwards before you roll back (to keep your elbows flexed at 90 degrees as you roll back) and push the dumbbells straight up above your shoulders. Maintain 5 points of contact throughout.

Turn your palms so they’re facing inwards, slightly bend your elbows (you will maintain this slight elbow bend throughout the movement), and bring your arms down to the side until they’re level with your chest, pause, and bring them back to starting position.

When you finish the set, either safely drop the dumbbells to your sides, or bring your knees up to the dumbbells and roll forward while allowing the weights to rest on your thighs, reversing the movement you performed to roll them back.


Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

Difficulty: Beginner to Advanced

Muscle Group: Chest, Anterior Deltoids, Triceps

With both dumbbells resting on your thighs, use your legs to push the dumbbells upwards to your shoulders and push the dumbbells straight up. Maintain 5 points of contact throughout. Slowly bring the dumbbells down to the edge of your shoulders with elbows pointing slightly downwards, pause, and push straight back up.

When you finish the set, bring your knees up to the dumbbells and allow the weights to rest on your thighs as you bring them back down, reversing the movement you performed to get them up.


Incline Dumbbell Fly

Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate

Muscle Group: Chest, Anterior Deltoids

With both dumbbells resting on your thighs, use your legs to push the dumbbells up to your shoulders and push the dumbbells straight up. Maintain 5 points of contact throughout. Slowly bring the dumbbells outwards down to the level of your shoulders while maintaining a slight bend in the elbows, pause, and return to starting position.

When you finish the set, bring your knees up to the dumbbells and allow the weights to rest on your thighs, reversing the movement you performed at the beginning.


Landmine Alternating Shoulder Press

Difficulty: Intermediate

Muscle Group: Shoulders, Core

Place a barbell in a landmine or against something that doesn’t move. Lift the weight up until both arms are extended in front of you. Keeping your knees slightly bent, both hands on the barbell and core braced, alternate bringing the barbell down to each shoulder and forcefully pushing it up and over to the opposite shoulder.


Landmine Russian Twist

Difficulty: Intermediate

Muscle Group: Core

Place a barbell in a landmine or against something that doesn’t move. Maintain a braced core and slight bend in the knees and elbows throughout. Start slightly facing one direction with the barbell just above your outside knee and both hands around the barbell. Rotate your core and lift the barbell up and over to the opposite side in a controlled motion, pause, and return to the starting position.


Landmine Single-Arm Bent Over Row

Difficulty: Intermediate to advanced

Muscle Group: Back, Posterior Deltoids

Place a barbell in a landmine or against something that doesn’t move. Stand next to the barbell with feet shoulder-width apart and knees bent. Hinge at your hips and keep your spine in a neutral position throughout. Brace your core and raise the barbell up to chest level.


Landmine Single-Arm Shoulder Press

Difficulty: Beginner

Muscle Group: Shoulders

Start with light weights at your sides. Keeping a slight bend in the elbows, raise the weights to about shoulder level with palms facing downwards and return to starting position.


Lat Pulldown

Difficulty: Beginner

Muscle Group: Back

Sit down and adjust your machine so your legs are firmly set underneath the pads. Brace your core and pull your shoulders back. Pull the bar down by squeezing your shoulder blades together and pointing your elbows towards the ground just until the bar reaches chin area or just below, pause, and slowly return to starting position. Avoid using momentum and swinging your torso backwards to get the weight down, and avoid pushing the bar downwards past your chest as if you’re doing a tricep pushdown.


Overhead Dumbbell Tricep Extension

Difficulty: Beginner

Muscle Group: Triceps

Stand or sit holding a dumbbell cupped between both hands straight above your head. Keeping your elbows next to your ears throughout the movement, lower the dumbbell until your elbows reach at least 90 degrees, pause, and push back up above your head.


Push-Up Variations

Difficulty: Intermediate

Muscle Group: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps, Core

Keep your entire core braced throughout the push up, including your quads and glutes to help prevent your lower back from dropping.

Variation 1: Diamond – place hands with thumb and index finger touching.

Variation 2: Regular – hands underneath shoulders, elbows pointing downwards.

Variation 3: Wide – hands outside shoulder-width, elbows pointing downwards.

Variation 4: Plyometric or “Clap” – explode up until your hands leave the ground and softly bring your body back to the bottom position, or clap as your hands leave the ground.

Variation 5: Single Leg – perform a push up with one leg raised and feet hip-width apart.

Variation 6: Single-Leg Wide – perform a push up with one foot raised, the wider you place your feet (at least shoulder-width), the more difficult it becomes.


Resistance Band Abducted Bicep Curl

Difficulty: Intermediate

Muscle Group: Bicep

Stand sideways next to an anchor of some sort with a resistance band in one hand. Keeping knees slightly bent, core braced, and upper arm stationary and parallel to the ground, curl the handle straight towards your ear, pause, and return to starting position without letting your upper arm lower towards the ground.


Resistance Band Bent Over Row

Difficulty: Beginner

Muscle Group: Back

Place a resistance band on the ground and step on the band near the handles. The closer you step to the handles, the more resistance you will get. Keep your knees slightly bent and hinge at the hips until your torso is near parallel with the ground while allowing a neutral spine. Row the band up to your sides, pause, and return to the bottom.


Resistance Band Push-Up

Difficulty: Intermediate

Muscle Group: Core, Chest, Shoulders, Triceps

Lay on your stomach with a band around your back. Pull the band as tight as you want it and set it underneath your palms in your desired hand position. Brace your core and bring your hips off the ground, starting on the knees and then going up to your toes. Perform a regular push-up without allowing your lower back to cave in. Do not perform this on your toes until you can successfully do so on your knees.


Resistance Band Seated Row

Difficulty: Beginner

Muscle Group: Back

Sit down and wrap a resistance band around your feet. Keeping your knees slightly bent and your spine neutral, row the band back, pause, and return to starting position.


Seated Row

Difficulty: Beginner

Muscle Group: Back

Sit down with knees slightly bent. Lean forward, set your back into a neutral position, grab the handle, and pull backwards until you’re in an upright seated position. Pull your shoulders back as you pull the handle towards your chest, squeeze your shoulder blades together, pause, and return to starting position. Avoid allowing your torso to move backwards with momentum and avoid rounding your back forward as you bring the weight back to starting position.


Single-Arm Dumbbell Row (beginner and intermediate)

Difficulty: Beginner (1st) to Intermediate (2nd)

Muscle Group: Back, Core

For the first variation, start with the same side knee and hand on a bench with the opposite side foot on the ground with knee slightly bent. Set your back into the neutral position, pull your shoulders back, and grab a dumbbell with your free hand. Hang the dumbbell off the side of the bench, brace your core, pull the dumbbell up to the side of your chest/front of your shoulder, pause, and bring it slowly back down. Try to avoid tilting or rocking your torso to allow more focus on the back muscles being worked.

For the second variation, face a bench and place both feet just outside shoulder-width, bend your knees, hinge at the hips and place one hand outstretched on the bench in front of you, forming a table with your torso and always keeping a neutral spine. Brace your core, grab the dumbbell and pull it straight up the the side of your chest, pause, and slowly lower it to starting position. Avoid twisting your torso or jerking the weight to allow more focus on the back and core muscles being worked.


Single-Arm Dumbbell Reverse Fly

Difficulty: Intermediate

Muscle Group: Back, Posterior Deltoids, Core

Start with feet shoulder-width apart, knees and elbow slightly bent, hinge at the hips and hold one light dumbbell in front of you. Keeping your core braced, raise the dumbbell out to your side at least chest-high and bring it back down without allowing your torso to rotate.


T-Bar Row (with rope)

Difficulty: Intermediate

Muscle Group: Back, Posterior Chain

Place a barbell in a landmine or up against something that won’t move (bench, wall, etc.). Stand with feet shoulder-width apart on both sides of the bar and grab the rope or other handle. Lean your weight back onto your heels and flatten your back, pull your shoulders back and row the weight up to your chest, pause, and slowly return to the starting position without letting your torso change position.

This exercise should maintain a lot of tension on the hamstrings and lower back, and can be used as a precursor to the barbell bent over row.