If you've ever been to a barre class, you've probably experienced some sort of low-weight, high-rep training. As much fun as these classes are, in the summer months when everyone is traveling, it's nice to have workout moves you can take on the road, which is what I'm here to help you with.
Most barre classes utilize 1-, 2-, or 3-pound weights and use tiny movements called pulses to push your major muscle groups to failure (that sounds bad, but it's actually a good thing!).
In the beginning, these light weights feel like a walk in the park, but after 20 or more repetitions, your biceps, triceps, deltoids, and lats feel completely fatigued to the core. That point of discomfort is where the change happens. If you push yourself a little further with every workout, you should see an increase in lean muscle mass and improvements in the muscle tone of your upper body.
Low-weight, high-repetition training also helps you improve muscular endurance, or the ability of a muscle (or group of muscles) to repeatedly exert force against resistance. You can similarly improve your muscular endurance in activities like running or swimming.
Remember, muscle is more metabolically active tissue, which means muscle burns more calories at rest than nonmuscular tissue. So grab hand weights, water bottles, rocks, or the object of your choice and give this workout a try today.
1. Biceps-curl warm-up.
With your heels together, feet slightly turned out, and knees straight, engage your abs and breathe. Pick up those weights and perform 16 biceps curls moving through full range of motion.
2. Elbow-lift biceps curls.
Release the elbows away from the rib cage. Keeping them lifted slightly in front of you, perform 16 biceps curls moving through full range of motion.
3. Shoulder press.
Move arms to a "goal-post position" and press arms overhead, bringing them back to goal-post position 16 times as you move through full range of motion.
4. Biceps burnout.
Move arms to a "goal post position." Press elbows together and open your arms 16 times. Close arms to shoulder-width apart. Alternate punch-pulse arms up an inch 24 times.
5. Fly arms.
With your feet parallel and toes forward, sit into a squat position with your body weight in your heels. Pitch forward slightly, keeping your abdominals engaged. Soften your elbows with your palms facing together.
From there, lift and squeeze the shoulder blades together and lower down 16 times. Hold at the top with your arms wide and pulse elbows to the sky 16 times.
6. Arm extension.
Bring your hands to the shoulders and extend them out to the side with palms facing the back and scapula pushing away from your ears 16 times. From there, hold at the top with your arms extended and pulse to the sky 16 times.
7. Triceps kickback.
Fully extend the arms behind you with your palms toward the sky and pulse up an inch 16 times.
8. Upright row.
Step your right foot back and place both weights in your right hand. From there, perform 16 upright rows by fully extending the arm forward and drawing the elbow back. Place weights in the left hand, stepping the left foot back and performing 16 upright rows on the left side.
Remember, cooling down is just as important as warming up! It increases range of motion of both muscles and joints and helps to decrease recovery time. Take some time to stretch before going about the rest of your day!