100 1 25 25 bodybuilding.com
Bodybuilding.com Information Motivation Supplementation
Figure Girls, Sculpt Your Upper Body With Fast No-Nonsense Workout!

There's nothing that says 'figure or fitness competitor' like a wide upper back, and a teeny-tiny waist! Start seeing greater success in competition by following this fast pace no-nonsense workout.

By: BiologyBabe

Article Summary:
  • A figure workout should have a full body heart elevating warm-up.
  • Moderate weights would be a better choice for a figure competitor.
  • High intensity and short rest periods can be taxing. Take it easy at first.

  • Figure Girls, Sculpt Your Upper Body With Fast No-Nonsense Workout!

    Figure Girls - use this no-nonsense, fast-paced workout to sculpt your upper body into that awesome figure girl form!

    There's nothing that says "figure or fitness competitor" like a wide upper back, a nice set of boulders for delts, and a teeny-tiny waist! So, competitors, athletes, and ladies alike who just want to achieve that coveted look, then read on!

    Jaime Girard At The 2009 Team Universe. Jaime Girard At The 2009 Team Universe.
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Jaime Girard At The 2009 Team Universe.
    View More Pics Of Jaime Girard At The 2009 Team Universe.

    I have created a workout to get you started on sculpting your physique into that x-shape figure that's so desired for competition! It won't happen overnight, but with consistency and progression over time, it will happen!

    Warm-Up And Rest Periods

      It's important to start your work out with a dynamic, full body warm up; most workouts prescribe 'any' activity for 5-10 minutes, such as the treadmill, or heaven forbid, the recumbent bike; not us figure girls, we need a full body, heart elevating, warm-up to keep our bodies tight all over, and to get our heart rate elevated fast, and to keep it up there for most of the work out.

      This is a training technique I use on myself and clients, that is, keeping the exercise heart rate up as much as possible during the entire workout, not only during the warm-up phase, but also during the active working portion of the training. This also means keeping rest periods brief, and I mean very brief!

    Warm Up/Stretch Before Weight Training.
    [ Click To Join The Thread. ]
    Warm Up/Stretch Before Weight Training.
    My cardio is seperate from my weightt training time. Should I do a few mins of cardio to get the blood pumping? Do some stretches (upper body on upper body day, etc. before hitting the wts. Right now I go in there and hit my first exercise.
    Started By:

      I don't give long rest periods very often, usually less than 20 seconds; and my clients will tell you, as will I... this is very effective in raising the body temperature, metabolism, hitting excess fat, and quickly getting results.

      Now, this doesn't mean doing four sets of biceps curls with no rest; the method I use is to either move back and forth from one exercise to another, that utilize totally different muscle groups, as we work one, the other is resting; or to utilize slightly less weight, and extremely short (less than 20 seconds) rest periods. We will be using both methods here.

      The key is to always keep moving, active rest as its known is just that, staying active even during the rest periods, if there are any. So if the rest period is deemed to be longer than 20 seconds, an alternate active rest movement will be added.

    How Long Are Your Rest Periods?

    3 Or More Minutes.
    2 Minutes.
    1 Minute.
    30-45 Seconds.
    20 Seconds Or Less.

      This after many months of consistency and clean eating will provide you with a smaller, tighter, leaner, more muscular physique. This is the 'look' that is preferred in the figure industry now; a smaller, tighter, lean and slightly muscular physique.

    Heavy Or Moderate Weight?

      Back in the early days of figure, cirque 2000, competitors were much like tiny, jacked bodybuilders, coming in with separated quads, huge biceps, a full 6-pack, and striated and capped deltoids; well no more, although this type of physique is beautiful and the one I want to have, this will not get you a decent placing anymore.

      It isn't necessary to lift large amounts of weight, and rest the standard 1 to 2 minutes for a figure physique; this will give you a 'bulkier', squarer shape; at the same time we don't use the 2, 5, or even the 8 lb neoprene dumbbells, ever.

    Breaking The Myth - Women Who Lift Heavy Will Look Like Men!
    [ Click here to learn more. ]
    Breaking The Myth - Women Who Lift Heavy Will Look Like Men!
    This article will discuss and compare the physiology, the hormonal adaptations to resistance training, and the role of diet in gaining muscle, in both males and females.
    Rosie Chee

    Rosie Chee

      A light to moderate amount of weight for this routine will work, as it provides little rest, so no max weights here; very good form, and progressive overload are the tools to make this program work for you.

      All it takes is time, some discipline, and then an @ss-kicking, no rest, moderate weight circuit is the sure-fire way to get your upper body into show condition, so get ready girls and read on!

    No-Nonsense Figure Workout

    • Frequency: 2 times per week; use workout A on your first upper-body day of the week, and B on the second upper-body day that week; allow at least 48 hours apart from each other.
    • Duration: 45 minutes or less\

    Full-Body Warm Up

      Use this warm up both days.

      • 2 sets of 20 Burpees, resting less than 10 seconds between sets.
      • 2 minutes Jump Rope; speed skips (faster than normal jump rope pace)

    Burpies Burpees
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Burpees.

      *If you must use a 'machine' to warm up, you may use the Versa Climber only as it works the entire body.

    Workout A


        Using an assisted pull-up machine, or standard pull-up station without assistance, begin with a wide overhand, thumb-under-bar grip; without using momentum, pull your bodyweight up to chin height then lower back down only 90 percent of the way; if you lower too far you may not be able to get back up to the top again.

        Cross the ankles at the bottom if this helps keep your body from swinging too much. Move on to a regulation grip, knuckles forward in front of the body, and then to a narrow, palms-facing-inward grip; the execution is the same for all three versions of the exercise.

      T-Bar Row

        Lying Prone on the t-bar machine, grasp the bars with a neutral or overhand grip, whichever is most comfortable. Pull the bars straight back, maintaining constant contact with the bench you're lying on, squeezing the shoulder blades at the top of the exercise.

    Lying T-Bar Row
    Lying T-Bar Row
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Lying T-Bar Row
    Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Lying T-Bar Row.

        • T-Bar Row: 3 sets of 12-15 reps
        • Rest less than 30 seconds

      Rope Cable Curls

        Using a rope attachment and a hammer style grip, stand firm, elbows at sides without swinging curl the rope attachment up and when you feel the contraction in the bicep at its hardest, stop, squeeze, and then release and repeat.

    Cable Hammer Curls - Rope Attachment
    Cable Hammer Curls - Rope Attachment
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Cable Hammer Curls - Rope Attachment
    Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Cable Hammer Curls - Rope Attachment.

      Dumbbell Front Raises

        Sit on the end of an exercise bench, feet right under knees. At the start the dumbbells should be hanging down loosely at your sides. Raise each arm straight up and out to shoulder height, without bending at the elbow; then carefully lower the weight and repeat. Don't swing the dumbbells!

    Front Dumbbell Raise
    Front Dumbbell Raise
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Front Dumbbell Raise
    Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Front Dumbbell Raise.

        • Dumbbell Front Raises: 3 sets of 9-12 reps (lighter weight when just starting out)
        • Rest less than 20 seconds


        Hold a small 4lb medicine ball at chest height; do not hug the ball to the body, just hold it at the diaphragm/top rip, elbows out, keeping eyes straight forward at all times. Sit straight up, and then when descending back down, keep back straight. Don't let your shoulders round out during the movement. Exhale as you raise your body up each time, inhale as you lower.

        • Sit-Ups: 4 sets of 12-15 reps
        • Rest less than 20 seconds

    Workout B

      This routine will be done in 'superset' fashion. You will perform all exercises in each superset block, back-to-back with no rest at all, continually until all sets are done, and then you will actively rest for 45-60 seconds ~ during which we will utilize a jump rope for active rest even during these periods. This is the more challenging upper body day of the week as the cardio component is quite high.

    RELATED VIDEO: Supersets
    Superset Video Guide!

    What is a superset? A superset is two exercises performed back to back without any rest between them.
    Watch More From This Series Here.

    A Few Side Notes:

    • Make sure to have sufficient water before, during, and after this exercise, especially in these hot summer months!
    • Having a small amount of protein (the size of a deck of cards) and a half serving of rice, sweet potato or fruit (2-3 oz max!) if not prepping for a show right before and right after your workout will greatly aid in your performance, mood and recovery.
    • Make sure to listen to your body, if you are new to supersetting and no rest, don't go crazy the first workout; it is very demanding cardiorespiratory work, and your body will thank you for it!


    Add me as a friend on your BodySpace Profile, and then drop me a line and let me know how this work out helped you! Safe and Happy training to you!

    Check Out Biology Babe's BodySpace
    Biology Babe
    Jaime Girard, aka BiologyBabe, is a personal trainer and group exercise instructor certified by the American Council on Exercise since 2004, the YMCA of the USA, BCOR (Boot Camp of the Rockies) and Les Mills; teaching classes such as BodyPump, Women on Weights, Advanced ABS, and BCOR, an outdoor extreme-fitness boot camp!
    [ Check Out Her BodySpace ]
    [ Add Biology Babe To Your Friends ]


    1. http://www.bodybuilding.com
    2. http:// www.ACEFitness.org
    3. ACSM Resource Manual; 2007
    4. YMCA Fitness Specialist Manual; 2004-05

    Figure Girls, Sculpt Your Upper Body With Fast No-Nonsense Workout!

    Back To BiologyBabe's Main Page

    Back To The Articles Main Page.

    Related Articles
    Train The Same: Women Should Train Like Men
    8 Reasons Women Should Lift Weights
    Mark Wahlberg's 'Pain & Gain' Workout

    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
    • 9
    • 10

    Out of 10

    0 Ratings



    Showing 1 - 5 of 5 Comments

    (5 characters minimum)

        • notify me when users reply to my comment

    Rep Power: 0

    • rep this user

    Very infomative thank you!

    Apr 5, 2012 10:08am | report

    Rep Power: 0

    • rep this user

    I really like to keep moving. I really agree. Keep the heart rate up!

    May 14, 2012 11:29am | report

    Rep Power: 0

    • rep this user

    this would be a better article if it had women doing the exercises.

    Nov 21, 2012 8:20am | report

    Rep Power: 0

    • rep this user

    That is a good point.

    Apr 15, 2013 10:12pm | report

    Rep Power: 0

    • rep this user

    One of my goals is to achieve the V tape in my back!
    I would like this workouts to start but , you said no max weights in this routine and someone told me do pull ups (wich is one of the best exercise for develop lats for V tape) I can't do it by myself and for good strength and achieve pull ups start lifting weights until I lift my own weight. What are you think about it?

    May 11, 2013 8:25pm | report
    Showing 1 - 5 of 5 Comments

    Featured Product

    Give Us Feedback:
    Report A Problem
    Site Feedback
    Follow Us:
    RSS Feeds
    Bodybuilding.com Newsletter

    Receive exciting features,
    news & special offers from Bodybuilding.com