Unilateral Upper Body: Back & Biceps Workout // Day 8 HR12WEEK 2.0

Unilateral Upper Body: Back & Biceps Workout is Day 8 in Heather Robertson’s 12 Week Program. This was a tough upper body workout! I hit muscle failure a few times! Heather worked my back very well in this workout. She worked my biceps well, too. In fact, in Circuit 2 she has an exercise (#5) Single arm curl & press, where you hold one dumbbell isometrically while doing the curl and press with the other arm. The curl and press challenged me but I was able to do it the entire interval. The isometric hold on the other hand was what killed me! I had to drop that arm several times to thaw my bicep out. It also made the curl and press on the other arm seem even harder! An excellent back and bicep workout. Heather includes cardio bursts to elevate the heart rate, but with the longer intervals and shorter recoveries, as long as you are using challenging dumbbells, this is a metabolic workout even without the cardio intervals. I burned 315 calories. I paired this with Naomi Joy‘s Upper Body Strength Workout. Between the two I got an excellent full upper body strength workout with lots of excellent focus on my back. And since I love working my back, that was a bonus for me!

This workout has 2 circuits, each containing 8 exercises. Each circuit is done twice before you move on to the next circuit. The exercises are all done interval style: 45 seconds of work followed by 15 seconds of recovery. There is a timer in the lower right hand corner of the screen counting down your intervals and recoveries. During the recoveries Heather previews the next exercise. If an exercise includes impact, Heather shows a low impact modification.

Unilateral Upper Body: Back & Biceps Workout is 42:21 minutes; 4 minute warm up and 4:45 minute stretch. Equipment: dumbbells and fitness mat. Heather is using 5, 10 and 15 pound dumbbells. The weights listed below are what I used. I also used a resistance band for the Super V squeezes in Circuit 2 to give my back some extra work.

Circuit 1:

  1. Scapular squeeze (extend arms out to sides in a T with palms facing ceiling, pull elbows behind ribs then push elbows back out to a T) (7# DBs)
  2. Single arm bent over row (one 40# DB)
  3. Repeat #2 on other arm
  4. Alternating bicep curls (16.5# DBs)
  5. Bicep burn out (fast alternating bicep curls with light DBs) (6# DBs)
  6. Alternating pull overs (lay on back w/ one DB in each hand, legs are raised and knees bent at 90 degrees, alternate single arm pull overs) (15# DBs)
  7. Plank stroke (in elbow/forearm plank, extend one arm in front of you then sweep it out to side and back to hip, alternate arms)
  8. Rear pull jacks (cross jack the legs, arms are raised to shoulder level with elbows bent and palms facing down, pull elbows behind you then cross arms in front of you)
  9. Repeat #1-8

30 second rest

Circuit 2:

  1. Double arm bent over row (30# DBs)
  2. Pull over (lay on back with legs raised and knees bent at 90 degrees, perform a pull over w/ upper body in this position) (one 35# DB)
  3. Super V squeeze (lay on stomach with arms extended in front of you, raise arms and legs in superman, hold and pull elbows behind back, push arms in front of you again then lower hands/legs) (I used a medium resistance band)
  4. Alternating renegade rows (25# DBs)
  5. Single arm curl & press (one arm does a bicep curl into an overhead press, other arm is raised halfway into bicep curl (elbow bent at 90 degrees) and held isometrically entire interval) (16.5# DBs)
  6. Repeat #5 on other side of body
  7. Hammer curl (alternate arms, palms face body when curling) (16.5# DBs)
  8. Squat, curl & hop (lower into a squat and hold, do one double arm hammer curl, when rising out of squat, jump) (12# DBs)
  9. Repeat #1-8

For more info on Heather Robertson’s workouts and other (free) streaming workouts I’ve sampled and reviewed, check out my Streaming page.

2 thoughts on “Unilateral Upper Body: Back & Biceps Workout // Day 8 HR12WEEK 2.0

  1. How awesome is it that we did the same workout today! I agree with your review in terms of toughness. My only nitpick is that I didn’t find this to be very unilateral so not what I expected. But still a very comprehensive workout.

    I followed it up with one of Caroline’s 15 min shoulders (https://youtu.be/Aq7qermvmXM) and a 20 min glute focus (https://youtu.be/NPVIiAvi1hM). If you haven’t done these two, I highly recommend both. Excellent muscle area focus. On the second one she ends with a standing hip lift (best way I can describe it) that looks easy but is killer at the end of an endurance workout. I used 2.5lb ankle weights throughout.


    1. I agree–I was wondering how/why she labeled this workout as unilateral. True there were a lot of single arm exercises in the first circuit but is it unilateral if you are alternating arms within the same set? I tend to think of unilateral as the whole set being done on one arm.

      I have both of those workouts on my To Do list. I agree–they look good!


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