Grab some weights and target your upper body with this chest and back workout for women. This 15 minute workout video is perfect for at-home.
We’re back with another quickie for our new Sweat Series of 15 minute workout routines — proving that you can get a good workout in, in just a short amount of time.
This chest and back workout will target your total upper body with chest exercises and back exercises to train both your front and back body all in one efficient workout.
There are only two exercises in this workout, but trust me you will still feel those muscled worked and feel so strong when you’re finished.
And the best part is that there is no gym required — you can do this entire routine at home with just a set of free weights.
Why should you train your Chest and Back together?
When you workout chest and back together you’ll be working opposing muscles groups known as agonist-antagonist pairs.
For example your chest muscles are located in the front of the body and are responsible for “pushing”, such as pushing something away from you.
Your back muscles are the opposing muscle group. They are located in the back of the body and are responsible for “pulling” movements — think of pulling a rope.
Working agonist-antagonist pairs allows you to train and target muscles groups equally, which can prevent over training of one or the other, and prevent injury.
Benefits of Chest + Back Workouts
There are so many benefits to increasing strength in your back and chest muscles, and as women it’s important that we work to strengthen these muscles groups, especially as we get older so that we can live with ease and live life to the fullest.
Improve Your Posture
The chest and back muscles are the largest muscles in the upper body and work to stabilize your shoulders girdle, which is important for proper posture.
And while strengthening your chest won’t actually lift your breasts, improved posture and will give the illusion of a more shapely figure and perkier breasts — so that’s a bonus!
Working any muscle involves contracting and stretching the muscles used in the exercise.
And because the muscles in the chest and back are connected to the rib cage it actually allows better movement and expansion of the ribs and the small muscles surrounding the ribs.
More expansion means that your lungs literally have more room to breathe.
Even if you don’t realize it, you use your chest and back a lot during daily activities.
Anything that involves lifting, holding, squeezing, pushing, or pulling calls on your chest and back. So it doesn’t hurt to have a little extra strength in these muscle groups.
Because you’ll be training opposing muscle groups with this superset routine you’ll be saving a ton of time.
Superset workouts, especially those woking agonist-antagonist pairs have little rest time, which means your will be continuously moving and will get your workout done faster…and I know you are busy babe!
15 Minute Chest and Back Workout with Dumbbells
All you need for this workout is a set of dumbbells, and if you would like, a comfortable mat to lay on.
I would recommend a medium set of dumbbells for this workout, ranging from 8-12 pounds — but you could definitely go heavier depending on your strength.
Remember, when choosing the correct intensity for your weights you want to be able to do all the repetitions in the set with proper form, but the last 3 reps should feel challenging.
If you can’t complete all repetitions with proper form, your weights are too heavy. And if you feel like you can do 5 more repetitions with your chosen weight, you should increase your weight to get the full benefit of the exercise.
This is a superset workout combining two exercises performed one after the other without rest. Each superset will be performed 4 times for a quick but efficient workout.
In this workout you’ll start with a warm up, followed by your superset exercises, and then end with an upper body stretch.
You can follow along with the full-length video below where I will coach you through each exercise with tips and cues. Or you can do the workout on your own with the exercise explanations below.
At-Home Chest and Back Workout for women
Upper Body Warm Up
Start in a high plank position with your hands under your shoulders and step your feet back to create a straight line from your head to your toes. Tighten your stomach by engaging your core. Focus on pressing the floor away from you and lifting your shoulder blades up to the sky. Hold for 30 seconds. Remember no locked out elbow joints, and keep your hips inline with your spine.
Downward Dog to Plank
Staying in your high plank position to begin, start to shift your weight back into your heels as you use your core to lift your hips into the air and press your shoulders back towards your feet. Use your shoulders and abs to draw yourself back to you plank position, and repeat for 10 repetitions.
Chest Fly to Narrow Chest Press
Muscles Targeted: Pectoralis major (chest muscles), anterior deltoid (front shoulder), triceps (back of upper arms)
How to do Chest Fly to Narrow Chest Press:
- Come down onto your mat holding your dumbbells. Grip the weights with your palms facing towards each other and have a slight bend in your elbows, as if you were holding a giant beach ball. Bend your knees and bring your feet shoulder-width apart on the mat.
- Next, open your arms out to the side, keeping the slight bend in your elbows, and then engage your pecs to pull the arms back up to your starting position.
- Then bend your elbows to bring your elbows down to your waistline, keeping your palms facing in. Push the weights back up towards the starting position to complete 1 rep.
- Repeat for 15 repetitions.
Rotating Bent-Over Narrow Row
Muscles Targeted: Latissimus dorsi (upper back), Posterior Deltoids (back shoulders), Rhomboids and Trapezius (upper back muscles), biceps (front of upper arms)
How to do a Rotating Bent-Over Narrow Row:
- Start standing with feet hip-width apart holding your dumbbells. Hinge forward from your hips with your knees bent slightly. Engage your core and keep you back straight. Rotate your palms to face back towards your legs.
- Start to draw your shoulder blades together and pull your elbows up, as you rotate your palms to face forward. Squeeze your shoulder blades at the top and engage your biceps.
- Slowly lower your arms and dumbbells back down to your starting position.
- Repeat for 15 repetitions.
Chest and Back Stretches
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your shoulders parallel to the wall in front of you. Then, bring your right arm across your chest and use your left arm to gently pull on your forearm to increase the stretch. Be sure to keep both shoulders out of your ears, and focus on feeling the stretch in your shoulder blades, lats, and traps. Hold for 15-20 seconds and then switch sides.
Continue standing with your feet hip distance apart. Bring your right arm up and bend at the elbow to place your right palm on your back between your shoulder blades. Then, using your left hand gently press down on your right elbow to increase the stretch slightly. Hold for 15-20 seconds, and then switch sides.
Chest Stretch with Forward Fold
Now step your feet out wider than shoulder-width apart. Bring both hands behind your back and clasp your hands together. Lift both hands up behind you to feel a stretch in your chest. Then slowly hinge forward at your hips to bring your head down towards your mat into a wide forward fold. Hold for 15-30 seconds focusing on stretching your chest, shoulders, and legs. Bring your hands to your low back, and release the clasp bring ing your arms to the floor. Then slowly roll up to standing.
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