Upper Body Strength Training by Holly

Today you’re in for a treat, Team Bo+Tee! We caught up with one of our Student Ambassadors, Holly Wilson, who shared with us her favourite upper body strength training workout. The workout consists of weight exercises, dumbbell arm workouts, shoulder press and more! 


If you’re doing this upper body strength training at home and you don’t have a pair of dumbbells, don’t worry! You can use alternative items you have around the house, for example, two bottles of water. So, throw on your favourite gym set and it’s over to you, Holly…



The majority of girls that I talk to, myself included, all started their fitness journey totally focused on growing their lower body and completely neglecting upper body strength training!


What if I told you that setting time aside for upper body strength training was the key to the illusion of a smaller waist? And that if you don’t train it, you might injure yourself while setting up for heavy lifts on leg day? And that being strong in your arms is just as rewarding as your legs?! It makes you want to train upper, right? 


Starting out you can feel like a real wally, not knowing what exercises to do, and starting on lower weights. So this workout is to stop you feeling like that! You can do it with minimal equipment - just a pair of dumbbells (or similar), a plate and a ledge of some sort (i.e. a bench). 


This means it’s the perfect workout to do in a quiet corner of the gym, out of view, and can start on a weight that you’re comfortable with and build it up as you go along! So let’s get into it…



We’ll begin with a triset (3 exercises with no rest).


The first upper body strength training exercise in the triset is a shoulder press. This, of course, targets your shoulders.


This can be done standing or seated, if standing have your feet shoulder width apart. Go from a 90 degrees angle to above your head, ensuring your wrists are kept straight.


Start with 8 reps of this.



The second upper body strength training exercise in the triset is lateral raises. This also targets your shoulders.


Make sure you’re not bouncing - we don’t want to be using momentum but instead engaging all the muscles.


Complete 8 reps of this.



The last upper body strength training exercise in the triset is a front raise. This targets your anterior shoulder muscles.


Again, no bouncing in the movement, keep it all controlled and slow!


Complete 8 reps of this.


Return to the start and repeat the triset 4 times.



Moving on to a single arm bent over row.


For this, have one knee on the bench and the other on the floor. Lift the weight in an imaginary vertical line, focussing on contracting your lats (back) muscle in order to lift the weight.


Complete 10 reps per arm x 3 sets.



Next up, we’ve got tricep dips, an essential for upper body strength training.


For your starting position, it’s important to note: the more bent your knees are, the less difficult the exercise is. If you’re a beginner, I’d recommend having your knees slightly bent and adjust to suit.  


Start with your feet flat in a table top position, and as you find this easier, extend your legs more and go onto your heels (as in the demo).


Complete 8 reps and repeat 3 times.



Last but not least, for upper body strength training exercises, we’ve got a bicep curl and hold. Grab a dumbbell in each hand, stand with your knees bent and concentrate on your upper arm.


Hold your arms straight, then allow a slight bend at the elbow and alternate the arm you’re curling as you go, bringing the dumbbell in towards your chest.


Complete 10 reps (5 per arm), repeat for 4 sets and you’re done!


I hope this helps inspire some of you to begin your upper body strength training and fall in love with it like I have!



As always, remember to tag us @boandtee and show us how you style your workout looks - you might even feature in our ‘Tagged in Bo+Tee’ story! Make sure you stay in the loop with our latest collections and be the first to know about new releases by downloading our app today, or by signing up to our exclusive newsletter.