Strength training doesn’t have to include heavy lifting. In fact, this weight-free biceps and triceps routine shows that you can still get in a solid upper-body workout sans any equipment.
In this video, which is the first installment of Sweat With SELF’s new Upper Body Strength series, you’ll go through bodyweight exercises that will fire up those muscles in your top half. Instructor Roz “The Diva” Mays—a NASM-certified personal trainer and a pole instructor—and her colleague Tanya Saint Medley will take you through a 20-minute upper-body workout where mind-muscle connection is key. Even though you won’t be lifting heavy weights, you’ll be focusing on really working those muscles and taking them through the full range of motion!
Even if you’re not lifting heavy weights, a proper warm-up is key to any strength training session, so Mays starts you off with moves like head and shoulder rolls, wrist circles, and kneeling woodchoppers to get your blood flowing and your body warm. Then you’ll get into the arms-focused routine: You’ll work through exercises like the bicep curl, shoulder external rotation, shoulder external rotation to bicep curl, overhead press, forward press, overhead triceps press (also known as an overhead triceps extension), and a single-arm triceps press. You’ll finish the routine with some core work, in the form of the hip rotation and hip rotation with toe tap. Then comes the cool-down to help your body come back to baseline!
Lots of people can struggle with mind-muscle connection when lifting weights, so this weight-free biceps and triceps routine is a great way to make sure the muscles you want to fire in a particular exercise are the ones that are actually working. By taking away any external resistance, you need to really focus on contracting and lengthening your muscles during these moves. For instance, when you’re doing the biceps curl, really think about that muscle in the top of your upper arm activating—feel the tension!—when you bring your arm up, and feel it releasing as you lower it down.
And this routine is only the beginning! Be sure to check back next week for the second installment of Sweat With SELF’s Upper Body Strength Series.