For this New Year, take your fitness to the next level with my upper body challenge. This program is designed to improve your upper body strength, stamina, and muscle definition within 4 weeks!
The question is always the same, whether you want to increase your energy, reduce your health risks, lose a few pounds, or just challenge yourself – how do you know if it’s really working? You can always go by how you look, feel, and how your body progresses over time. However, performing a few simple fitness tests can assist in setting a benchmark of where your initial fitness level is, and a way to measure it as you progress.
You have the ability to perform simple tests in the comfort of your own home! Let’s start with the three assessments below to determine your upper body strength. Record your results and keep them to reassess the same tests at the end of the 4 weeks.
1. Push-Up Test – Complete as many push-ups (wide stance) in good form as you can for 1 minute.
Tests upper body functional strength.
- Beginner/modified: knees down, straight line from shoulders to knees.
- Intermediate/Advanced: legs extended, straight line from shoulders to heels.
2. Plank Test – Hold a perfect plank for as long as you can, aiming for 1 minute or more.
Tests isometric shoulder and core strength.
- Form: shoulders on top of wrists, legs extended long, core engaged and neutral spine position.
3. Shoulder Taps – Complete as many reps with perfect form as you can in 1 minute.
Tests stamina, strength, endurance.
- Form: Plank position, legs extended, neutral core. Alternate shoulder taps as quickly as possible within 1 minute.
*Please refer to the video to see how to perform these fitness assessment tests.
Prevention of injury is extremely important when focusing your exercises on the shoulder joint. There are so many small intricate muscle attachments, tendons, and ligaments that need to be strengthened to withstand multi directional activity. Whether it’s within your workout, an activity, or during a sport you play, your upper body muscles play a big part in keeping you moving strong without injury.
Prior to any activity, take a few minutes to dynamically warm-up your shoulder girdle area, upper back, and core. This will help loosen the muscles and ligaments for your workout and it will also help prevent injury from occurring.
Listed in the chart below are a few dynamic warm-up movements to prepare your muscles for the workout. Also included are some cool-down stretches to recover your muscle back to resting length post workout.
*Check out the video to see how the warm-up and cool-down exercises are performed.
Get ready to challenge your upper body and produce real results in the process! I have created a plan of action based on a 4-week training cycle. For the challenge, you will perform 5 upper body exercises during the workout. The challenge consists of varying reps/ sets and resistance levels to suit your fitness needs.
Each week I will provide you with a slightly different set of exercises that target your muscles in every range of motion. The intensity level should increase weekly to keep your body challenged and progressing with improvements. This adds variety in the routine, challenges the muscles, and increases strength development.
*Check out the video to see how these exercises are performed.
Your dedication and commitment is inspiring to others going through the same process. It can be motivating and encouraging to share your progress on a social media platform. Use the #tag: #TotalGymsUpperBodyChallenge
Good luck with this upper body challenge! You will be amazed at how strong your body becomes within weeks of consistent efforts! Stick with the plan to see how strong your body can be!
Stay tuned for week 2’s challenge!
http://www.groovysweatstore.com (purchasable workout videos)
http://www.youtube.com/groovysweat (workout clips)