IRON Series 30 Min Upper Body Workout – Antagonist Sets | 27

30 Min Upper Body Workout – Antagonist Sets is Day 27 in Caroline Girvan‘s Iron Series. This was a very tough upper body strength workout. I was struggling during this workout and dropped to lighter dumbbells several times. This is due to the long super sets–each exercise is done for a full minute back to back. The hardest pairing for me was the pullovers followed by a diamond press. Both exercises work the same muscles but with a different focus; the diamond press hits the triceps pretty hard. So even though I am fine with 40 pounds for the pullovers, for the diamond press I was struggling hard by the end of the minute. Since both exercises hit your triceps (though diamond press much harder than pull overs), when I returned to pullovers with a lighter dumbbell (35 pounds), I was feeling the burn in my triceps during the pullovers, which doesn’t usually happen to me. This got worse by the 3rd time you repeat the superset. I was down to a 30 pound dumbbell by then! Same with the shoulders. I didn’t even try my 20 pound dumbbells. My arms were burned out by the time we get to shoulder work so I went straight to my 18s then when the exercise is repeated I had to drop to even lighter dumbbells. So, long story short–this is a tough, burn out workout! I seriously considered skipping the finisher I had planned (Michelle Breihler‘s 10 Min Toned Arms) but I did it anyway. That one is an endurance level upper body burn out, which serves really well as a finisher. Between the two workouts, my arms and shoulders feel totally fried.

This workout is made up of supersets. You will do two exercises, each for 60 seconds back to back (120 seconds/2 minutes of work) before you get 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 Upper Body Workout – Antagonist Sets is 37:45 minutes; 3:05 minute intro, no warm up and 2:30 minute stretch. Equipment: dumbbells and fitness mat. Caroline is using 20kg/44.1 pound, 10kg/22 pound and 4kg/8.8 pound dumbbells. The weights listed below are what I used.

  1. Alternating renegade rows (25# DBs)
  2. Pause at bottom push up
  3. 30 second rest
  4. Repeat #1-3 two more times
  5. Pullovers (one 40# DB)
  6. Diamond press (hold one DB in both hands over chest, push DB to ceiling then lower back to chest level) (one 40# DB)
  7. 30 second rest
  8. Repeat #6-7 two more times (one 35# DB the 2nd superset and one 30# DB the 3rd superset)
  9. Single arm hammer press (in kneeling lunge on mat, do a single arm overhead press with palm facing side of face) (one 18# DB)
  10. Repeat #9 on other side of body
  11. 30 second rest
  12. x1 arm standard shoulder press (same as #9 but arm is open to side goalpost fashion with palm facing forward) (one 16.5# DB)
  13. Repeat #12 on other arm
  14. 30 second rest
  15. Single arm bent over rear delt fly (one 8# DB)
  16. Repeat #14 on other arm
  17. 30 second rest
  18. Repeat #15 & 16
  19. 30 second rest
  20. Slow double arm lateral raise (8# DBs)
  21. Slow double arm frontal raise (8# DBs)
  22. 30 second rest
  23. Repeat #20-22 but at a normal/faster pace
  24. 30 second rest

Finisher: (60 seconds, each exercise is done for 30 seconds with no rest/recoveries)

  1. Landmine rows (one 50# DB)
  2. Push up burn out

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


One thought on “IRON Series 30 Min Upper Body Workout – Antagonist Sets | 27

  1. I had trouble posting yesterday. My keyboard would not pop up when I clicked in this area, even when I rebooted my iPad. This has happened once before and I don’t know why. 🤨 Weird.

    I remember this workout, and specifically that tricep superset. Sooo tough to get through. I think I maintained my 22s but I burned out. 🔥

    Today was a tough workout for me as well. I started it off with a tabata agility 30 min workout from Sydney. Not particularly tough but I was sweating pretty good by the time I got to my second workout which was Fuel Day 24 full body core with dumbbells. Omg, this was probably the most comprehensive 30 min all-around strength/cardio workout I’ve ever done. I mean, Caroline just nailed it in every respect. In her intro she says “you’ll realize just how much your core is involved to stabilize by the end” and oh boy, was she right! Burpees made an appearance but I modified because I already had enough cardio from Sydney. This was just a great all-in-one super workout!

    Liked by 1 person

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