Workout Routine for Chest and Arms

SPLIT SESSIONS – CHEST AND ARMS

This workout targets specific areas of the body, ie. the chest and arms, but it also includes core exercises to improve your abdominals and back muscles, which are essential for good posture and strength.

Hand weights are used for many of these exercises and if you don’t have any, you can make them at home by using two water-filled bottles or, to make them heavier, fill an empty bottle with sugar to the required weight.

Warm-up: 5 minutes stretching/mobility; 10-20 minutes cardiovascular activity.

Press-Ups

Start on all fours, have your hands wider than your shoulders, fingers pointing forwards. Engage your abdominals and lower the chest to the floor, bending the elbows, as you breathe in. Breathe out, engage the abdominals as you push the hands into the floor to lift the body back up. A full press-up is one with the legs stretched out behind you and toes tucked underneath.

SETS: 2

REST PERIOD BETWEEN SETS: 30-60 seconds

REPS:

LEVEL 1: 10-12

LEVEL 2: 12-15

LEVEL 3: 15-20

DEVELOPMENT: Full press-up.

MUSCLES WORKED: abdominals, chest, triceps

SETS: 2

REST PERIOD BETWEEN SETS: 30-60 seconds

REPS:

LEVEL 1: 10-12

LEVEL 2: 12-15

LEVEL 3: 15-20

DEVELOPMENT:

• Increase the weight.

• Stand on one leg.

MUSCLES WORKED: biceps

Biceps Curl

Stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart, with a weight in each hand and your arms by your sides. Your hands should face forward. Keeping the elbows in to the sides bend them and lift the weights. Do not swing the trunk as you lift. Lower the arms back to the sides. Keep the elbows soft.

Chest Press

Lie on your back on the floor with the knees bent and feet flat on the floor and parallel with the hips. Hold a weight in each hand. Have the elbows on the floor at chest level, with the palms facing forwards, knuckles pointing towards the ceiling. Keeping the elbows in line with the wrists, push both hands up and extend the arms over the centre of the chest, lower them back down, and lightly touch the elbows to the floor before the next repetition.

SETS: 2

REST PERIOD BETWEEN SETS: 15-30 seconds

REPS:

LEVEL 1: 10-12

LEVEL 2: 12-15

LEVEL 3: 15-20

DEVELOPMENT: Increase the weight.

MUSCLES WORKED: chest, biceps

SETS: 3

REST PERIOD BETWEEN SETS: 30-60 seconds

REPS:

LEVEL 1: 10-12

LEVEL 2: 12-15

LEVEL 3: 15-20

DEVELOPMENT:

• Take the legs further away or straighten.

• Cross one leg over the other.

• Change position halfway through.

MUSCLES WORKED: triceps

Triceps Dips

Place a chair against a wall and sit on it with your knees bent and feet hip-distance apart. Have your hands on the edge of the chair with the fingers pointing forward.

Straighten the arms to lift the bottom up away from the chair. Bend the elbows directly behind you to lower the body, then push through the arms to lift back up. Do not push up using the gluteals — you should feel this in the back of the arms.

Abdominal Contractions on All Fours

Get on all fours so you are in a table-top position (back flat, hands underneath the shoulders and knees underneath the hips). Breathe in wide into the ribcage. Breathe out and draw the navel to the spine without moving the back. Breathe in and hold this position. Breathe out and release the contraction without moving the back.

SETS:1

REPS:

LEVEL 1: 10

LEVEL 2: 10

LEVEL 3: 10

DEVELOPMENT:

• Lie on your front with bent elbows underneath the shoulders (sphinx position).

Your pelvis may begin to leave the floor.

MUSCLES WORKED: abdominals

SETS: 2

REST PERIOD BETWEEN SETS: 30-60 seconds

REPS:

LEVEL 1:15-20

LEVEL 2: 20-30

LEVEL 3: 30-50

DEVELOPMENT:

• Increase the weight.

• Perform from a shoulder bridge position (feet on the floor, lift the hips so you come up onto your shoulder blades).

MUSCLES WORKED: chest

Chest Flies

Lie on your back with a weight in each hand and your arms stretched above the chest, elbows soft and palms facing. Lower the weights sideways to shoulder level and return back to the starting position — do NOT arch the back as you lower and lift, keep the abdominals engaged.

SETS: 2

REST PERIOD BETWEEN SETS: 30-60 seconds

REPS:

LEVEL 1: 8-10 each phase

LEVEL 2: 10-12 each phase

LEVEL 3: 12-15 each phase

DEVELOPMENT:

• Increase weight.

• Perform standing on one leg.

MUSCLES WORKED: biceps

Biceps Combo

Stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart. Hold a weight in each hand, arms down by your sides and palms facing forward.

Phase 1: bend the elbows so they are at right angles. Keep the elbows in to the sides. Do not swing the trunk as you lift. Lower the arms. Keep the elbows soft.

Phase 2: Lift the weights so the elbows are at a right angle, pause, then from here lift to the top and back down to halfway.

Phase 3: Lift all the way up to the shoulder and all the way down.

Seated Pec Dec

Sit on a chair with the back supported. Have a weight in each hand at shoulder height, and the elbows at right angles. Squeeze the arms together keeping the wrists and elbows in line and then open to return to the starting position.

SETS: 2

REPS:

LEVEL 1: 10-12

LEVEL 2:12-15

LEVEL 3: 15-20

DEVELOPMENT:

• Increase weight.

• Perform standing.

MUSCLES WORKED: chest

Triceps Extension

Stand with the feet slightly wider than the hips. Hold weights in both hands, above the head, with the arms straight. Lower the weights down between the shoulder blades. Keep the elbows tucked in and facing forward. Without moving the elbows, pull the weights back up to the starting position. You may perform this exercise one arm at a time. Support the elbow with the opposite arm to the one holding the weight.

SETS: 2

REPS:

LEVEL 1: 10-12

LEVEL 2: 12-15

LEVEL 3: 15-20

DEVELOPMENT: Increase weight.

MUSCLES WORKED: triceps

Oblique Twist and Reach

Lie flat on your back with your legs and feet slightly wider than your hips. Place one hand behind the head to support it. Do not pull on the head. Breathe out and draw the abdominals in, navel to spine, and lift the upper body.

Aim to draw the ribcage down towards the hips so that the abdominal wall contracts flat and compact — don’t let the abdominals dome and keep a small gap between the chin and the chest. Reach the free arm over to the opposite knee, aiming to take the shoulder away from the floor as you twist across the body. Breathe in to lower. Repeat on the other side.

SETS: -1 (one on each side)

STRETCH TO RELEASE: sit back on your heels with the head on the floor and the arms in front of you — feel the back lengthen.

REPS:

LEVEL 1: 10-12

LEVEL 2: 12-15

LEVEL 3: 15-20

DEVELOPMENT:

• Start with both legs lifted and aim to twist the shoulder to the knee — do not cheat by bringing the knees towards the shoulder.

• Start with both legs lifted and aim to twist shoulder to knee, extending the opposite leg at the same time.

MUSCLES WORKED: abdominals-obliques

Plank

Lie on your rummy propped up on your elbows, which should be directly underneath your shoulders. Draw the shoulders back and down towards the waist.

• Level 1: draw navel to spine and peel the pelvis away from the floor. Hold and maintain regular breathing.

• Level 2: draw navel to spine and lift further so that the bottom is level with the spine but the weight is still distributed between knees and elbows. Hold and maintain regular breathing.

• Level 3: draw navel to spine, lift the pelvis and knees off the floor, keep the spine level and lengthened. Hold and maintain regular breathing.

SETS: 3

STRETCH TO RELEASE: sit back on your heels with the head on the floor and the arms in front of you — feel the back lengthen.

REPS:

LEVEL 1: 20-30 seconds

LEVEL 2: 30-45 seconds

LEVEL 3: 45 seconds-1 minute

DEVELOPMENT:

• Do a half plank and lift one leg.

• Do a full plank and lift one leg.

MUSCLES WORKED: abdominals

Finish by stretching.

Back Extension

Lie on your tummy, connect navel to spine to engage the abdominals. Extend and lengthen through the spine so that the upper back slightly lifts from the floor, then lower down with control. Don’t over-arch the back.

SETS: 2.

REST PERIOD BETWEEN SETS: 30-60 seconds

REPS:

LEVEL 1:10-12

LEVEL 2: 12-15

LEVEL 3: 15-20

DEVELOPMENT:

• Bend the elbows and place the fingertips on the head.

• Extend the arms in front.

MUSCLES WORKED: back, abdominals

Lateral Lift

Stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Hold a weight in each hand with your arms by your sides. Keeping the arms straight, lift them out to the sides to shoulder height — do NOT lock the elbow-. Lower the arms with control.

SETS: 2

REST PERIOD BETWEEN SETS: 30-60 seconds

REPS:

LEVEL 1:10-12

LEVEL 2: 12-15

LEVEL 3: 15-20

DEVELOPMENT:

• Increase weight.

• Stand on one leg.

MUSCLES WORKED: shoulders

Cable Row

Sit up straight with your legs extended and knees slightly bent. Put a band around the soles of the feet. Tuck the elbows in to the sides and draw them back so you can feel the shoulder blades nipping together. Lengthen the arms back to the starting position.

If you don’t have a band, bend forwards from hips with a weight in each hand and your arms lengthening forward, then pull the arms upwards and towards the sides, nipping the shoulder blades together. Relax the arms.

SETS: 2

REST PERIOD BETWEEN SETS: 30-60 seconds

REPS:

LEVEL 1: 10-12

LEVEL 2: 12-15

LEVEL 3: 15-20

DEVELOPMENT:

• Make the movement slow.

MUSCLES WORKED: latissimus dorsi

Front Raise

Stand with the feet hip-distance apart.

Have a weight in each hand, with the palms facing inwards. Keeping the arms straight but the elbows slightly rounded, lift the arms in front of you to shoulder height and then return to the sides with control.

SETS: 2

REST PERIOD BETWEEN SETS: 30-60 seconds

REPS:

LEVEL 1: 15-20

LEVEL 2: 20-30

LEVEL 3: 30-50

DEVELOPMENT:

• Increase weight.

• Stand on one leg.

MUSCLES WORKED: shoulders

SETS: 1 (one on each side)

STRETCH TO RELEASE: Sit back on your heels with the head on the floor and the arms in front of you — feel the back lengthen.

REPS:

LEVEL 1: 8

LEVEL 2:10

LEVEL 3: 12

DEVELOPMENT:

• Start with the hand and opposite knee lifted 2 centimetres from the floor, extend your arm and leg and return to hover.

• Lie on your front with bent elbows underneath the shoulders. Push up to half plank position. Extend opposite arm and leg. Breathe in to return to starting position. Repeat on other side.

• Start with the hands under the shoulders and lift the knees to balance on toes. Extend opposite arm and leg. Breathe in to return to starting position. Repeat on one side until set is complete. Perform stretches. Repeat on other side.

MUSCLES WORKED: abdominals, gluteals

Swimming

Get on all fours in a table-top position (back flat, hands underneath the shoulders and knees underneath the hips). Draw the navel to the spine to prepare. Breathe in, then breathe out as you lengthen and extend opposite arm and leg, maintaining a flat back and without dipping or lifting the shoulders or hips (keep the weight central and don’t transfer all the weight onto one side of hip). Breathe in to return smoothly to the starting position. Do once on each side.

Abdominal Contractions on All Fours

Get on all fours so you are in a table-top position (back flat, hands underneath the shoulders and knees underneath the hips). Breathe in wide into the ribcage. Breathe out and draw the navel to the spine without moving the back. Breathe in and hold this position. Breathe out and release the contraction without moving the back.

SETS: 2

REST PERIOD BETWEEN SETS: 30-60 seconds

REPS:

LEVEL 1: 10

LEVEL 2: 10

LEVEL 3: 10

DEVELOPMENT:

• Lie on your front with bent elbows underneath the shoulders (sphinx position).

Your pelvis may begin to leave the floor.

MUSCLES WORKED: abdominals

Upright Row

Stand with the feet slightly wider than the hips. Hold a weight in each hand in front of each thigh with your palms towards you. Breathe out and bend the elbows to lift the weights up to the chest

• do not swing the trunk, and make sure your wrists stay in line with your forearms. Breathe in and lower; don’t lock the elbows.

SETS: 2

REST PERIOD BETWEEN SETS: 30-60 seconds

REPS:

LEVEL 1: 10-12

LEVEL 2: 12-15

LEVEL 3: 15-20

DEVELOPMENT:

• Increase weight.

• Stand on one leg.

MUSCLES WORKED: shoulders

Bent Over Reverse Flies

Have a weight in each hand. Draw the navel to the spine, keep the back straight and lean forward from hips. Arms are lengthened down to the floor and palms facing inwards. Raise the weights out to the side to shoulder height, nip the shoulder blades together, then return the arms to the starting position. You can do this in a seated position if you think you will put too much strain on the back.

SETS: 2

REST PERIOD BETWEEN SETS: 30-60 seconds

REPS:

LEVEL 1: 10-12

LEVEL a: 12-15

LEVEL 3: 15-20

DEVELOPMENT:

• Increase weight.

MUSCLES WORKED: trapezius

SETS: 2

REST PERIOD BETWEEN SETS: 30-60 seconds

REPS:

LEVEL 1: 10-12

LEVEL 2: 12-15

LEVEL 3: 15-20

DEVELOPMENT:

• Increase weight.

MUSCLES WORKED: back

Deadlift

Stand with your feet slightly wider than the hips. Hold a medium to heavy weight (between 3 and 8 kilos) in each hand. Contract your abdominals and, keeping the knees slightly bent and the back straight, slowly hinge forward from the hips. Keep your hands close to your thighs. Straighten up.

SETS: 3

STRETCH TO RELEASE: sit back on your heels with the head on the floor and the arms in front of you — feel the back lengthen.

REPS:

LEVEL 1: 20-30 seconds

LEVEL 2: 30-45 seconds

LEVEL 3: 45 seconds -1 minute

DEVELOPMENT:

• Do a half plank and lift one leg.

• Do a full plank and lift one leg.

MUSCLES WORKED: abdominals

Plank

Lie on your tummy propped up on your elbows, which should be directly underneath your shoulders. Draw the shoulders back and down towards the waist.

• Level 1: draw navel to spine and peel the pelvis away from the floor. Hold and maintain regular breathing.

• Level 2: draw navel to spine and lift further so that the bottom is level with the spine but the weight is still distributed between knees and elbows. Hold and maintain regular breathing.

• Level 3: draw navel to spine, lift the pelvis and knees off the floor, keep the spine level and lengthened. Hold and maintain regular breathing.

Side Bends

Stand with the feet slightly wider than the hips. Hold a medium to heavy weight (between 3 and 8 kilos) in one hand and have the other hand on the hip. Pull in the abdominals as you reach over sideways, then use the muscles in your side to pull yourself back to standing upright – do NOT throw the hips to the side, keep them centred. Repeat on the opposite side.

SETS: 2

REST PERIOD BETWEEN SETS: 30 seconds

REPS:

LEVEL 1: 10-15 (alternating sides)

LEVEL 2: l0-15 (once or twice on each side)

LEVEL 3: 10-15 (twice on each side)

DEVELOPMENT:

• Increase weight.

MUSCLES WORKED: abdominals-obliques

SETS: 2

STRETCH TO RELEASE: sit back on your heels with the head on the floor and the arms in front of you — feel the back lengthen.

REPS:

LEVEL 1: 10-12

LEVEL 2: 12-15

LEVEL 3: 15-20

DEVELOPMENT:

• Roll down further.

• Lift one leg and roll down.

MUSCLES WORKED: abdominals

Reverse Sit Up (Roll Down)

Sit upright on your sitting bones (right at the bottom of your pelvis). You can have your knees bent or legs straight in front of you. Keep the legs together. Pull in your abdominals and tuck the pelvis underneath you as you roll slowly down towards the floor to a position where you feel your abdominals contract effectively without any doming. Keep your back curved as you go down and as you come up.