February Upper Body Fitness Routine

Keep your New Years Resolutions with this short and easy workout! #getswole

*note: If you don’t have some of the equipment with you, like dumbbells, you can use heavy textbooks instead or another heavy object.

Expected time: 30-35 minutes

Push ups

  • Equipment: Just yourself

The pushup is perhaps one of the most basic callisthenic, or body weight, exercises. A great measure of fitness, the pushup is a staple part of my own workouts and routines. To begin, start with your hands and feet supporting your body. Your body should be straight and level, and your hands should be about shoulder-width apart. With arms beginning in a straight position, carefully bend your arms until your elbows make a 90 degree angle. Then, push yourself back up. You have just performed one repetition, or rep, of a pushup.

Pull Ups

  • Equipment: Pull-up bar

Begin with hanging on the bar, your hands gripping the bar a bit wider than shoulder width apart. Make sure your hands are gripping the bar in a way such that your palms are facing outward, away from you. Carefully pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar. Try not to allow your body to swing. Slowly lower yourself. This is one repetition of the pullup.

If a pull-up is just out of your grasp, either rotate your grip 180 degrees so that your palms are facing towards you, and follow the same steps as a pull-up to do a chin-up. On the other hand, if the chin-up or pull-up is too difficult, you can grab a chair and give yourself a slight push with your legs to help your chin reach the bar. Be sure to slowly lower yourself though in order to train your muscles for a full on chin-up or pull-up.

Lateral Arm Raises

  • Equipment: Dumbbell

Begin with holding the dumbbell at your side, gripped in one hand in such a way that your palm is facing inward, towards your thigh. Next, with as little swinging motion and body movement, raise the arm holding the dumbbell to about should height, if not a little higher. Be sure to keep your arm generally straight, though some elbow bend is natural. Then, slowly lower the dumbbell back to rest by your thigh. This is one repetition of the lateral arm raise. Repeat this process for your other arm once you have completed all of the repetitions for the first arm.


  • Equipment: Just yourself

Start by lying on the ground or a matt. Bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the ground. Place your hands behind your head so that your elbows are pointing towards the sky; you can either interlock your fingers behind your head or just have your ears basically cupped in your palms. Without pushing your neck forward, use your abdomen to raise your shoulders off the ground. As you do so, breathe out and crunch your stomach in. Once you feel your lower back about to leave the ground, lower yourself back down to the original rest position. This is one repetition of a crunch. Only for this exercise do I suggest a minimum of 20 repetitions per round.


*Repeat routine 2 more times, for a total of 3 rounds, or sets*

  • For pushups, pull-ups, and lateral arm raises,

do as many repetitions as you can manage

for 3 rounds while doing the same number

of repetitions for each exercise per round.


~Written by James Wu

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