I posted my lower body routine earlier this week. Today I’ve decided to post my upper body routine today. I follow the same Body For life strategy as described in my post on Wednesday with high reps/low weight, increasing reps and decreasing weight with one minute rests between reps and two minutes between muscle groups. I do 5 groups of muscles on upper body for a total workout time of around 50 minutes. I generally use more free weights for upper body than I do for lower body. Here is what I did today:
Muscle Group 1: Shoulders
Dumbbell Lateral Raise/Dumbbell Front Raise
The weight is the amount of the dumbbell in each hand. After each set of lateral raises, I immediately do the same amount of reps with a front raise. Instead of raising the dumbbells from my side straight out, I keep them straight and raise them forward and up until they are parallel with the ground and my arms are perpendicular to my chest (basically the way a zombie walks) – then back down to my side.
As soon as I finished the last set of 12 dumbbell lateral & front raises, I went immediately to the machine shoulder press:
I then went immediately and did some back raises. I was doing just regular back raises until today, when I added a 10 pound weight that I held in my chest while doing them. I could feel a difference when I added the weight.
Now, these two were mainly for the lower back. You can mix it up sometimes and do upper back on another day with something like the iso-lateral pull down.
Muscle Group 4: Chest
Machine Chest Fly
Today I did the machine fly for my main chest exercise. Often I do free weights on a regular bench press instead. Both bench presses were taken today, so I did the fly machine. I like to mix it up every once in a while anyway, so that I’m not just doing the exact same thing every time I go to the gym.
Muscle Group 5: Triceps
Overhead dumbbell extensions
Sometimes I do the machine triceps pulldown, but today I did overhead dumbbell extensions instead. For this one, you grab one dumbbell and lift it over your head. Hold the dumbbell with both hands, and while keeping the part of your arm from your shoulders to your elbows straight up (next to the sides of your head/ears), lower the dumbbell until your arms are at a 90 degree angle behind you pointing straight back. Then lift up until the dumbbell is directly over your head. That constitutes one rep. Focus on slow, steady motions so you can feel the muscles doing their work as opposed to quick pushes.
Then I immediately did 12 bench dips. Once again, slow dips focusing on feeling the triceps do their work as opposed to pounding them out real quick.
That’s it for the upper body. It sounds like a lot, but once you get into a rythym it becomes easier to know what to do. I recommend using something to track your reps each time. There are many simple printouts you can get online to do this. I use my phone, which has an app that allows me to do this. Once you get a feel for where you should be as far as the weights on each muscle group, it makes it easier and faster at the gym. You don’t have to try things out and know exactly what you need to do. After finishing a muscle group, if it was not too difficult, I’ll make a note that I will see next time to increase the weight.
I’ll be honest, today’s workout was the most difficult since I started Body For Life. I didn’t have much energy at all. I think it was a combination of little sleep and not enough food. I only got about 6 hours of sleep last night (and have been running low on sleep this week in general). Also, I had a dentist appointment this morning, so I didn’t eat my usual breakfast. By the time I got home from my dentist appointment, I had some vanilla Chobani greek yogurt, worked for a few hours, then went to the gym on my lunch break.
I really should have eaten at least 2 meals by then, but all I had eaten was the yogurt. After I finished the back muscles, I was going to move on to the bench press. They have two at the gym I work out at, but both were being used. I sat down on a bench and leaned my head against the wall, trying to decide what to do. I must have drifted off to sleep, because I woke up with a jolt as my head started falling forward. Luckily it was just for a second…or was it? It seemed like it was just a nod off and instant awakening.
I decided to go over and do the fly machine instead for the chest. I finished my workout, but it was very difficult. When I left the gym, I noticed it was way later than I thought it was. My workouts for upper body are always about 50 minutes, plus or minus a minute or two. They’re pretty consistent time-wise. I did the math and by my calculations I must had taken a 25 minute nap with my head against the wall. I wonder what people at the gym thought when they saw this random guy sitting down with his head against the wall sleeping. Oops! Well, at least I finished the workout. Moral to the story – push through your workouts when you have a tough one, even if you have to take a nap at the gym. Did I just really say that?? **head scratch**