IRON Series 30 Min Superset Arms, Abs and Core Workout | 20

30 Min Superset Arms, Abs and Core Workout is Day 20 in Caroline Girvan‘s Iron Series. This was definitely a burn out upper body workout. I was able to use the heavier dumbbells I’ve been using in the Iron Series workouts for my triceps but for my biceps I actually used lighter dumbbells! It was because of all of the isometric holds. She fatigues the biceps before you even actually start curling! And tons of core work. The plank based core work was burning my shoulders out during the side planks. Definitely a tough and effective workout. I used Heather Robertson‘s Standing Ab Workout with Weights as a finisher. It worked really well IMHO. Caroline hits your abs in so many ways, but all mat based and body weight. Finishing with some weighted standing abs rounded things out nicely.

This workout is made up of supersets. You will do two exercises, back to back with no rest/recovery then you get a recovery. The interval/recovery times are different for each muscle group. You will work the triceps first. You will do 2 tricep exercises, each for 45 seconds (90 seconds total) then you get a 30 second rest. Next you do plank work. You will do 2 exercises back to back, each for 50 seconds (100 seconds total) before getting a 20 second rest. Next you do mat based core work. Each exercise is done for 55 seconds (110 seconds total) before you get a 10 second rest. Finally you work the biceps. You return to the 45 second supersets (90 seconds total) before getting a 30 second recovery. There is a timer in the upper left hand side of the screen, counting down your intervals and recoveries. During the recovery, Caroline previews the next superset. There is also a little bar at the bottom of the screen that counts down the entire workout time as a percentage.

30 Min Superset Arms, Abs and Core Workout is 37:01 minutes; 2:15 minute intro, no warm up and 1:30 minute stretch. Equipment: dumbbells and fitness mat. Caroline is using 12.5kg/27.6 pound and 8kg/17.6 pound dumbbells. The weights listed below are what I used.

Triceps (45/45/30)

  1. Diamond press (lay on back w/ a DB in each hand, DBs are pressed together over chest, push DBs to ceiling) (20# DBs)
  2. Tricep press (the same as #1 but DBs are not pressed together, arms are kept close to sides) (20# DBs)
  3. 30 second rest
  4. Skull crushers w/ 2 DBs (12# DBs)
  5. Shoulder crushers (similar to a tricep press but rather than keeping DBs level, when you lower the DBs, angle them so one end of DBs tap shoulders) (12# DBs)
  6. 30 second rest
  7. Skull crushers w/ one DB (hold one DB in both hands) (one 20# DB)
  8. Overhead tricep extension (lay on back, holding one DB on both hands, unlike traditional lying tricep extensions, arms are not straight from shoulder to elbow, arms are extended past head and arms, from shoulder to elbow, are at a 45 degree angle, from this starting position, bend elbows lowering DB closer to floor then raise DB–it is a small movement) (one 20# DB)
  9. 30 second rest
  10. x1 slow tricep push up (one very slow push up that takes entire 45 second interval)
  11. Tricep push ups
  12. 30 seconds rest

Plank Work (50/50/20)

  1. Plank hip twist (in forearm/elbow plank, rotate hips side to side)
  2. Hips up and down (in elbow/forearm plank, push hips back to dolphin pose then return to elbow plank)
  3. 20 second rest
  4. Single arm plank ladder (in straight arm plank, lower to one elbow then return to straight arm plank)
  5. Repeat #4 on other arm
  6. 20 second rest
  7. Side plank lift (in side elbow plank with top arm reaching to ceiling, raise and lower hips)
  8. Side elbow plank hold
  9. 20 second rest
  10. Repeat #7-9 on other side of body

Mat Base Core Work (55/55/10)

  1. Leg lower (lay on back with hands behind head and head/shoulders elevated, raise straight legs to ceiling then lower straight legs until they are a few inches off the floor)
  2. Reverse crunch (same position and basic move as #1 but when you raise legs to the ceiling, also lift hips into a reverse crunch)
  3. 10 second rest
  4. Arc crunch (lay on back with knees bent and feet on mat, hands behind head, as you crunch upper body, circle upper body)
  5. Anti clockwise (continue #4 but reverse direction)
  6. 10 second rest
  7. Toe taps to extension (lay on back on mat, knees are bent and toes touching mat, straighten knees then bend knees again, tapping toes to mat)
  8. Small tuck to toe tap (still on back, knees are bent and kept bent entire interval, do a reverse crunch and when you lower legs, tap toes to mat)
  9. 10 second rest

Biceps (45/45/30) (I used 15# DBs for this entire section)

  1. Palms up hold (raise DBs halfway into bicep curl so elbows are bent at 90 degrees and hold isometrically entire interval)
  2. Palms up bicep curl
  3. 30 second rest
  4. Wide bicep curls
  5. Alternating wide bicep curls
  6. 30 second rest
  7. Hammer curl hold (raise DBs halfway into hammer curl so elbows are bent at 90 degrees and hold isometrically entire interval)
  8. Hammer curls
  9. 30 second rest
  10. Cross body curl (hammer curls but bring DBs together in front of body at top of curl)
  11. Alternating cross body curls
  12. 30 second rest

Finisher: (2 minutes; each exercise is done for 60 seconds, no rest/recoveries)

  1. Deadstop tricep push ups (lower body to mat, raise hands off mat then push body up to plank with hands close to sides)
  2. X1 dumbbell curl burn out (bicep curls holding one DB in both hands) (one 25# DB)

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

8 thoughts on “IRON Series 30 Min Superset Arms, Abs and Core Workout | 20

  1. Jodi … just FYI … I, too, got burned on the first Fuel. It was TOUGH!! But I’ve gone through 8 of them now and after the first one it hasn’t been as tough (from a cardio standpoint). That said, I think Iron has been my favorite series from Caroline. I did all of them and wished she had more!


    1. Julie, from following the posts in her FB community, I know the cardio gets tougher and tougher as the series goes along. Lots and lots of burpees. I much prefer lifting and less cardio. To me, Iron was absolutely perfect!


      1. I just previewed Fuel Day 30–SO MANY BURPEE VARIATIONS. And I have not even bothered to save some of the Fuel workouts to my To Do list because of all the plyo. But I do plan to do some of them at some point.

        I agree–Iron Series is perfect.


  2. I felt the same fatigue in my shoulders from the plank work when I did this one. It was unexpected but welcomed. 😉

    Today I did GlowUp Day 1 total body metcon. This was intended to be a warmup for Fuel Day 8 posterior chain circuits, which it sufficed very nicely. ☺️ It was your basic cardio and weights but Heather threw in a couple new (to me) combos which kept things interesting. Caroline, of course, heavied things up with her workout. In this one she has your standard heavy hip thrusts and sumo squats and rows but she has you moving between seated and moving exercises. For example, you go from hip thrusts to hamstring thrusts to side stepping with the band. Again, this kept things fresh.

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  3. Those planks after all that tricep work…my triceps were on fire! Loved this one.

    I just started her Fuel series yesterday. Not sure I’ll like all the added cardio/burpees so I may go back to Iron.


    1. Hi Jodi! I am not sure what I plan to do after Iron Series. I am enjoying it so much I have considered creating a rotation using a lot of the Iron Series and some of my other favorite Caroline workouts. I have been following her Fuel Series (visually–I haven’t done any of the workouts yet), and I am not sure what I think. I do like metabolic workouts, but I also really enjoying how thoroughly my muscles get worked in Iron Series. We’ll see. I have my workouts mapped out through mid-August. I’ll have to figure something out in the next few weeks! It’s hard to decide when there is so much to choose from!


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