Workout Wednesday: Four exercises to strengthen arms and back

Figuring out exercises when you enter the weight room can be challenging and somewhat intimidating for some of us. If this is you, then check out this workout for an upper body workout made up of four moves. You can use it when you are out of ideas in the weight room, or to impress the body builders in your gym. While these exercises will benefit your total upper body, they focus mostly on the triceps (back of upper arm) and the back muscles.

Triceps are tough to strengthen, but they aid in many basic movements. Not to mention you can be jiggle-free when waving good bye to everyone! To best perform this  workout, all you need is a workout bench (or other elevated, stable surface), one set of medium to heavy dumbbells (8 – 15 pounds), and a no-quit attitude! Perform each move for 3 sets of 15 reps each. Or try a pyramid routine, starting with 20 reps, then 15, then 10 for a different challenge for your muscles.

Single Arm Rows with Tricep Extension (back, core, triceps)row with tricep extension -

Start by placing your right knee and right hand on the bench to create flat back position. Grab one dumbbell with your left hand. Slowly bend the left elbow to bring the dumbbell up to chest height, squeezing the shoulder blade at the top. From here, extend the arm straight out behind you, keeping the elbow lifted as high as possible. Return to the bent elbow position, then lower arm to start. Repeat 15 reps, then switch sides.


skull crusher exercise - getfitlikethat.comSkull Crushers (triceps)

Lay flat on bench on your back with feet flat on ground, or on bench (make sure lower back is flat on the bench). Hold one dumbbell with both hands straight up above head towards the ceiling. Keeping elbows close to ears, slowly lower the dumbbell to the top of your head, then slowly extend arms to return to the start position. The hardest part of the move should be during the return to the top, so squeeze triceps as you lift weight above the head. Repeat the move 15 times.


tricep dips - getfitlikethat.comTricep Dips 

For this move, simply sit up right on the bench, then scoot your butt off the bench. Start with hands on the edge of the bench with your fingertips facing forward. Slowly bend the elbows back and lower your body until your elbows are bent at a 90 degree angle (or as close as you can get to this angle). Extend arms to return to starting position, but do not return to sit on the bench. Note: keep butt and back as close the bench as possible. For an additional challenge, perform move on one leg only, forcing the arms to do more work! Repeat for 15 reps.


decline push up - getfitlikethat.comDecline Push Ups (Back and Chest)

This move is a play on the regular push up and challenges the back muscles more. The only difference for this push up is that your feet are elevated above the floor, placing more weight on your back and chest during the move. You can try this on a low step if needed, then work your way up to a bench or higher elevation. Place both feet on a step or bench and get into push up position. Perform pushups with elbows going wide (for more chest work) or elbows going straight behind you (for more tricep work). Return to start and repeat for 15 reps.


Please comment below and let me know how this circuit worked out for you! What other moves would you think to add to this circuit? What modifications did you make during your workout?

Until next time,

Keep it moving!


GetFitLikeThat Copyright September 2015


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