Makeba Edwards by Makeba Edwards

Lack of time is consistently one of the major barriers to clients committing to or maintaining a fitness program. For this reason, creating efficient workouts while still helping clients achieve results is hugely important. When you consider the typical upper-body training routine, however, a split routine (isolating body parts) is often the standard approach. But because this protocol may require being in the gym six days a week, it’s probably not realistic for most of your clients.  A better approach is to create an upper-body program that targets opposing muscle groups and, thus, help to maximize workout time.

The following upper-body workout focuses on training opposing muscle groups with pushing and pulling movements. Sets and repetitions should be allocated based on each client’s individual training goals.

Stability Ball Dumbbell Chest Flys

With dumbbells in hand, begin by sitting on the stability ball. Walk the feet forward, lowering the spine onto the ball. Head, shoulders and upper back should be on the ball. Keep the glutes engaged and the abdominals braced throughout the exercise. Bring the dumbbells over the chest with the hands facing each other. Open the arms and lower the dumbbells in a wide arc while keeping the elbows soft. Return to the starting position and repeat.



Medicine Ball Push-ups

Place both hands on top of the medicine ball and assume a plank position, with shoulders stacked over the wrists and the chest over the ball. Bend the elbows and lower the chest toward the ball and then push back up to the starting position. Avoid hiking up the hips or sagging the back and hips during the exercise.



Renegade Rows

With one dumbbell in each hand, begin in a full plank position. Alternate pulling one dumbbell at a time toward the chest, being careful not to let the hips or lower back sag. Also, be sure to avoid rotating the torso and instead keep the body parallel to the floor.



Dumbbell Push Press

Stand with the feet hip-width apart while holding a dumbbell in each hand just above the shoulders; turn the palms to face forward. Slightly bend the knees, press the feet into the floor and push the dumbbells overhead while simultaneously straightening the knees and back. Return to the starting position and repeat.



Negative Pull-ups

Stand on a bench or box below a pull-up bar. Pull up toward the bar and slowly lower back down.



Arnold Press

With a dumbbell in each hand, bend the elbows and bring the weights up level with the shoulders and the palms facing toward the body (as if it were the top of a biceps curl). Rotate the arms outward and press the dumbbells overhead, ending with the palms facing away from the body. Repeat the movement in reverse to return to the starting position, ending with the palms facing the body at shoulder level.



Deliver the individualized programs people need to adopt long-term, healthy behaviors with ACE’s Personal Trainer Certification.