You only need one set of light-medium dumbbells and these seven moves to strengthen your abs and upper body muscles, including your chest, back, shoulders and arms.
We’ve been checking out Kim Kardashian’s new strength training regime recently, and it appears she’s enlisted the help of fitness expert Senada Greca to sculpt muscle and tone her famous bod.
And Greca doesn’t do cookie-cutter workout plans, so you can expect this one to be equal parts spicy, effective and creative. If you’re looking for something different to strengthen and build your upper body and ab muscles, this one’s for you. Grab a set of TG-approved best adjustable dumbbells, and let’s get stuck in.
Watch Senada Greca’s 7-move abs and upper-body workout
Fittingly, Greca demonstrates her muscle-building credentials against the backdrop of Arnold Schwarzenegger, but you don’t need bodybuilding abilities to do this ab and upper-body workout — just a pair of dumbbells.
Greca says, “Make sure to save this one and send it to a friend,” so we’ve ticked that box already. “I choose to make my health, mental and physical, a priority. So I will always find a way and a time to work out, no matter how busy or lacking motivation.”
“Here’s another hotel gym workout….well, you only need a pair of dumbbells, so really, anywhere workout.” And she’s not wrong — you could do this workout in the yard, from a hotel room, or in your local park.
Check out the exercises in the video for tips on proper form, and choose weights that allow you to scale. For example, you’ll require a heavier set of dumbbells for the chest press than tricep extensions because your triceps are smaller and fatigue quicker than your pectoral and deltoid muscles.
If you don’t have access to weights and you’ve come this far, we recommend Greca’s 5-move ab workout instead.
Here’s your exercise plan:
12-16 reps x 4 sets
- Static crunch chest press with static leg raises
- Static sumo squat with W-raises
- V-sits forward press
- Static split stance squat with single-arm Arnold press
- Push-up to bear stance
- Bent-over reverse flies with rear delt raise combo
- Bear stance rows to triceps extensions.
Greca explains, “The focus on this one was upper body and abs, but we hit a bit of leg as well.”
You can learn how to do the Arnold press here. We’ve got personal experience with this move, having done 50 Arnold presses each day for one week, and it’s a shoulder scorcher to be reckoned with. This time you’ll attack it from a half-kneeling position, challenging core stability, balance and strength while working all three shoulder heads.
This workout focuses more on core stability than “out and out” ab moves like sit-ups. You’ll notice your core held under constant tension to keep your body stable as you complete upper-body exercises, rather than moving through a range of motion — that part’s down to your chest, shoulders and arms. Instead, your core muscles are under isometric contraction, and many of the best abs workouts include components of this.
Any workout that combines creativity with a decent sweat gets a big tick from us. Greca manages to hit all the major muscle groups while strengthening your core and building strength across the upper body — without a gym and using combo exercises (two-in-one moves).
If you plan to develop a stronger torso, this short session only uses seven moves to help you get there. But understandably, workouts can wear thin pretty fast, and your muscles need the challenge to force adaptation and growth. If you want to repeat this one in the future, we recommend setting a time cap to mix things up.
For example, you could set a target of 50 reps per exercise within a time or perform an AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of 8-10 reps per move.
If you struggle with wrist pain, exercises from a table top position could exacerbate pain. Luckily, elevating your hands on dumbbells can take the pressure off, so you should be in safe hands. If you still experience pain, try setting your knees down or switching out exercises — we’ve included our tried and tested options below.