Is it just me or is upper body training getting old? If you want the best set of adjustable dumbbells and do something new with them, this is a three-move chest workout worth your time.
It only takes 15 minutes but you’ll get a pump throughout your chest, shoulders and triceps, so if your fitness goals include sculpting your upper body and building muscle, include this in your routine. Get used to exercising along with your regular workouts.
We recommend scheduling upper-body workouts a few times a week, following the mainstay of resistance training – progressive overload. That means being consistent with your weight training but adjusting variables like sets, reps or weight as you get stronger to keep your muscles properly challenged.
That said, this short chest workout may only work once if you want to get the calorie-burning, sweat-inducing, muscle-burning effects. If so, bookmark this page for later. The three moves below use thrusting movements, engaging your pectorals, anterior deltoids, and triceps, while also engaging your core muscles to help control the movement.
What is a 15-minute 3-move chest workout?
Fire up your pushing power with a three-move routine, and for a more rounded upper-body workout, try combining it with this three-move back and biceps workout.
Start by performing each upper body exercise below for 3 reps, then add 2 more reps per set. Your workout should look like this: 3,5,7,9, etc. Do as many sets as possible (AMRAP) in 15 minutes. You can add as many minutes as you like for a longer workout.
Once you reach 15 minutes, add a farmer’s walk. Walk holding both dumbbells for 60 seconds or set the distance to walk – depending on the space you have. Rest 15 seconds, then repeat 1-2 more sets to finish.
Clean the dumbbells and press
Cleansing and pressing are staples in many chest and shoulder exercises. The muscles worked during the clean are the deltoids, triceps and pectorals, supported by the hamstrings, hip flexors, quadriceps, glutes and back muscles such as the trapezius and rhomboids. As you swing the dumbbells up to your shoulders, make sure your core is tight and your elbows are raised to place the dumbbells at shoulder level, then push the dumbbells upward with your arms locked and your arms close to your ears. You can learn more about cleaning and pressing here.
Dip the dumbbells into your triceps
You will need a stable surface like a box or a bench to lean on. With your fingers facing you, press your hands into the bench and stretch both legs away from you. Bend your elbows and lower your butt toward the floor, keeping your core engaged, back straight, and body close to the bench. Pause, then push your body weight back up. As an added challenge, balance a dumbbell across your thighs, near your hips. This move is a triceps burner and also hits the shoulders. Here’s how to do the triceps exercise.
Press thanks Arnold
Learning how to do the Arnold press will enhance your upper body workout. Designed by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the press variation uses a change in palm direction to target all three heads of the shoulder – the anterior, posterior and lateral deltoids.
Start with your palms facing your chest, then as you press upward, rotate your palms away from you at the top and reverse the downward motion. This move keeps your shoulders engaged throughout, going through a full range of motion. The example above uses kettlebells, so feel free to substitute dumbbells and one-arm variations if you prefer.
It’s time to hit your chest and triceps with a powerful push.
Triceps exercises activate more muscles than triceps exercises, so we love programming them to exhaust these smaller muscle groups while working the shoulders and chest muscles. We recommend lifting heavy weights for short 15-minute intervals, but expanding the range to the point where you can lift for the entire workout without dropping off as the reps increase.
But remember that no matter where you are in your fitness journey, building strength and muscle is a process. Factor in the number of training days you’ll need to reach your goal, get plenty of protein, and include recovery. We know that hustle culture may make you think every day is a workout day, but those muscles can’t recover or grow unless you train smart.
Science also says that NEAT – which stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis – accounts for the majority of calories burned. If you want to burn more calories, consider adding more activity to your day, such as taking the stairs or standing while working.
While independent training won’t provide immediate benefits, attacking the programs gradually and consistently will help you get there. This effort will test mental and physical endurance, so go at your own pace and increase intensity by reducing rest periods if necessary.
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