Ashley Conrad's Upper-Body Circuit Workout

This fast-paced upper-body circuit will help you build strength and muscular endurance. Use it to bust plateaus or as part of your weekly training split!

Fitness veterans know that plateaus are almost inevitable. You can work like hell with a smart and intelligent training program, altering the right variables at just the right times, but eventually one stubborn body part or another will probably stop changing—at least for a while. When your current training plan stops delivering results, this fast-paced upper-body circuit will get your gains going again.

If you're a veteran of the weight room and just looking for a change of pace that will test your endurance, add this circuit into your training plan to complement your regular work.

I love pairing circuits together because they place a different kind of stress on the body than traditional resistance training, to which you've probably already adapted. That's why workouts like this work so well for busting through plateaus and improving conditioning.

Even if you're just getting started with weight training, this upper-body circuit can help you create a foundation of strength and muscular endurance. If you're a beginner, do the circuit once a week for six weeks and you'll notice marked differences in your basic strength.

Ashley Conrad's Upper-Body Circuit Workout
Watch the video - 6:33



Upper Body Circuit
Perform 5 rounds
1

Push-up to freak

30 sec.
Push-up to freak Push-up to freak

Half burpee pull-up

30 sec.
Half burpee pull-up Half burpee pull-up

Bodyweight dip

30 sec.
Bodyweight dip Bodyweight dip

Biceps curl to overhead press

30 sec.
Bodyweight dip Bodyweight dip

BOSU plank push-up

30 sec.
Bodyweight dip Bodyweight dip

Clutch Notes


Push-up to freak

Loop a resistance band around a stable source near the floor at your feet. Get into a normal push-up position while holding the resistance bands in both hands. (If you do not have a band, perform this exercise with body weight.) Perform the push-up, bring one arm up and out, return to the starting position, push back up, and then complete another raise with the opposite arm.

Push-up to freak


Make sure your core is stable and tight. You don't want your stomach to touch the ground. If you struggle with push-ups, perform them from your knees. If your wrists begin to bother you as you hold the bands in your hands, try this exercise one-handed for 15 seconds per side.

Half burpee pull-up

Keep your core stable and contracted in the bottom position of a burpee. Bring your feet in quickly, directly under your body, and stand up immediately. Put the pressure on your heels so when you explode off the ground into the pull-up it won't stress your knees.

Half burpee pull-up


You will have momentum coming off the ground when transitioning from burpee to pull-up. Use it to your advantage! This exercise is great for people who are developing their pull-up strength, because the momentum does a portion of the work for you.

Bodyweight dip

Don't strain the range of motion on this exercise—lowering your body past your comfort level is a recipe for shoulder strain, not necessarily better results. Be sure to place your feet all the way out in front of your body.

Bodyweight dip


Avoid the "chair" position. You have 30 seconds to do as many dips as you can, but form is paramount for safety. If you can only do 5 good reps, then do that and rest.

Biceps curl to overhead press

I have two major warnings with this movement. The first is to use your biceps, not your torso, to curl the weight upward. If you need to swing your body to move the load, you need to lower the weight.

Biceps curl to overhead press


The second is to keep your core stable as you press overhead. If standing, be sure to contract your abs and squeeze your glutes as you press. If you still feel the load of a standing overhead press primarily in your lower back, you can perform the exercise from a seated position.

BOSU plank push-up

This is an explosive exercise that can help you generate some serious power. Be aware of your spinal alignment in this movement: Your back should be flat and your stomach should not touch the ground. If this move is too difficult to perform in an explosive manner, simply walk your hands up the ball until you are able to do it in full.

BOSU plank push-up




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