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June 9, 2014 | Fitnovatives Blog

Summer Boot Camp: Arms Workout

Summer is just right around the corner and that means it’s time to start strengthening and toning up for the season. In this three-part workout series, exercises for the arms, core and legs will have you looking your best and feeling confident in your swimwear, party dress and summertime attire.

This Bikini Boot Camp series begins with a workout that is sure to tone up your upper body. Sculpted arms and shoulders balance out the lower body, helping to create the illusion of a slimmer waist and hips. This workout includes basic upper-body exercises with an added burst of body-weight movements to help you get tank-top ready.

All you need for this workout is a set of dumbbells, approximately 20 to 30 yards of space and a timer. After a brief warm up, perform and repeat sets 1-3 and then complete the workout with the Upper-body Finisher, a multiple-exercise movement pattern that works the last bit of upper-body strength you have left.

Set 1: Chest/Triceps

Push-up - 30 seconds


Begin in high plank position, arms shoulder-width apart. Lower the body down until the elbows are at 90 degrees, then push back up to the starting position. 

Triceps Dips - 30 seconds

Triceps Dips

Sit on the edge of a raised surface, such as a step, bench or curb. Place the hands on the edge, with the fingers pointing forward and the heels about 3 feet in front of you. Lift the body off the bench and bend the elbows to 90 degrees. Once you reach the bottom of the movement, press down into the bench to straighten your elbows, returning to the starting position. NOTE: Do not perform this exercise if you have shoulder issues.

Bear Crawl - 1 minute

Bear Crawl

Begin in a quadruped position, hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Leading with your head, lift the knees off the ground and beginning crawling forward.

Set 2: Back/Biceps

Bent-over DB Row - 30 seconds

Bent-over DB Row

With dumbbells in your hands and a slight bend in the knees, hinge forward from the hips, keeping a neutral spine. Pull the dumbbells up toward the hips, lifting your elbows toward the sky, and then release back to the start.

DB Biceps Curl - 30 seconds

DB Biceps Curl

With palms facing forward, bend at the elbow and lift dumbbells up toward shoulders and then release the arms back down to your sides.

Crab Walk - 1 minute

Crab Walk

Begin seated on the ground, feet flat and arms behind you with fingers pointing toward your feet. Leading with your head, lift the hips off the ground and begin traveling backward, keeping your hips high and weight equally distributed between your feet and arms.

Set 3: Shoulders

DB Shoulder Press - 30 seconds

DB Shoulder Press

Begin with dumbbells at shoulder height, palms facing inward. Press both arms overhead and return back to the starting position.

DB Reverse Fly - 30 seconds

DB Reverse Fly

With dumbbells in your hands and a slight bend of the knees, hinge forward from the hips, keeping a neutral spine. Pull the dumbbells up toward the hips, lifting your elbows toward the sky, and then release back to the start.

Jumping Jacks - 1 minute

Jumping Jacks

Jump the legs wide and raise your arms out to the side and overhead. Jump the legs back in bringing arms back to your side. The emphasis should be on full range of motion through the arms, meeting the hands above your head at the top, and arms completely by your sides upon the return.

Repeat sets 1-3, resting 30 seconds in between each set.

Set 4: Upper-body Finisher

Begin with dumbbells in your hands, arms by your side. Perform the following sequence for 15 reps.

Upper body workout

Push up

Reverse Fly

Shoulder Press

1. Squat, place dumbbells on the ground, jump or step back the legs into high plank position.
2. Perform one push up.
3. Jump or step up to a squat.
4. Perform one row followed by one reverse fly.
5. Stand up, and bend the elbows to bring the dumbbells to shoulder height.
6. Perform one shoulder press and then release the arms back to the starting position.

By Stephanie Thielen
Stephanie Thielen

Stephanie Thielen, BS, has a fitness career that spans over 24 years with experience in group fitness training and management in the community, corporate and collegiate setting. As an ACE Group Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer, two-time IDEA Presenter, NETA trainer, AEA Trainer, and BOSU National Master Trainer, Stephanie provides land and aquatic workshops that teach logical methods for class construction, providing the “tools of the trade” to assist fitness professionals develop their teaching skills. Find Stephanie on Facebook at Stephanie Thielen Fitness, LLC.

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