40MIN Upper Body Workout // Chest & Back

40 Min Upper Body Workout // Chest & Back is a solid upper body strength workout from Heather Robertson. Though the focus is on the back and chest, all of your other upper body muscles assist in the exercise, so they are getting worked, too. Since you will do each exercise 3 times in the course of the workout, there is more repetition than what Heather usually gives us, but that us good for muscle growth! And she also sticks in one cardio move a the end of each circuit to get your heart rate elevated.

There are 2 circuits, each containing 6 exercises. Each circuit is done 3 times. All of the exercises are done interval style: 40 seconds of work followed by 20 seconds of rest. 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.

40 Min Upper Body Workout // Chest & Back is 41:05 minutes; 1:30 minute warm up and 2:15 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 medium resistance band for the SuperV Squeezes to give my back a bit more work.

Circuit 1:

  1. Walking push ups (do one push up, walk hands out to side, do one push up, walk hands back to start, do one push up, repeat by walking hands out to other side)
  2. 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)
  3. Chest press (30# DBs)
  4. Narrow & wide row (bent over rows, alternate one narrow row with arms close to sides with one wide row with elbows out to sides away from body) (20# DBs)
  5. 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)
  6. Bent arm jack (jumping jacks with arms in goal post, arms do goal post chest flys in time with legs)
  7. Repeat #1-6 two more times

30 second rest

Circuit 2:

  1. Chest flys (lay on back, knees bent and feet on floor close to glutes, raise hips into bridge and hold isometrically while doing double arm chest flys) (20# DBs)
  2. Pullovers (lay on back with legs raised and knees bent at 90 degrees, arms do pullovers) (one 40# DB)
  3. Lay down push ups (do one push up and lower body all the way to mat, extend arms straight in front of you and raise legs superman style, place hands on mat under shoulders again and do a push up)
  4. Bent over rear delt flys (8# DBs)
  5. Underhand row (bent over double arm row with palms facing forward) (30# DBs)
  6. Inchworm & hop (stand at end of mat, hinge forward and walk hands out to plank, walk hands back to feet, stand and jump, raising arms overhead)
  7. Repeat #1-6 two more times

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


8 thoughts on “40MIN Upper Body Workout // Chest & Back

  1. That would be me too! I can always find a tasty substitute when I give up something lol. It sounds like overall you eating is clean. I think I have to suffer the caffeine withdrawal first before I try anything else as Diet Coke was my source. I hope your next Dexa Scan goes well!


  2. Yeah I can’t give up meat and dairy at this point. And I am sure if I wouldn’t replace it with the best food all the time. Diet Coke was my caffeine as I hate coffee so I am dreading this month. Sounds like overall you do really well with your diet. I hope your next Dexa scan goes well. You certainly work hard enough for your health. Thanks again


  3. Hi,
    I just wanted to say again I am so grateful for your page. I am turning 50 this year and can’t lift heavy lately or lunge and squat and then I remembered Barlates that I found through your reviews so I’m going to do that for awhile and having been rereading your reviews on it. It seems just as challenging as traditional weights so I’m excited to try some of these and revisit ones I’ve done.

    Question: I know we are around the same age. Nutrition is a whole another subject and I know that’s not what you review but have you found anything that works really well for you?Also, do you have any opinions on diet soda? It is my one Vice, I drink one 8oz. Bottle a day of Diet Coke daily at lunch. I don’t want to give it up but there is so much negative information about it and it offers no nutrition. Trying to do better without taking all the joy out of my day lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Cara! Barlates workouts are excellent workouts to do when you cannot lift any weights. Linda works you hard with nothing but a mat. Yes, I have found a way to eat that works very well but my weakness is sweets. I gave up most diet soda due to osteopenia. Colas contain phosphoric acid which can leach calcium from the bones. I am not saying that is what gave me osteopenia but if it contributes to bone density loss then I am not drinking it. So I quit that several years ago. I also started taking a targeted supplement for bone density. When I had my bone density retested 2 years later it was improved though I still have osteopenia. I’m not due to have it tested again for another year. Anyway, not all sodas contain phosphoric acid, so on the weekends I allow myself a diet A&W root beer. One each day so 2 a week.

      As for food, I did best when I gave up all packaged/processed food. But I have such a hard time doing it that it is hard for me to maintain, unfortunately. I am vegan but that is relatively new. I’ve been vegan 4-5 months now. I do it for all of the reasons but health is a big one of the reasons. But again, my biggest culprit is junk food. There are plenty of vegan pastries, cookies, and ice creams and they are all delicious.

      Anyway, that is my struggle. I love to eat!


      1. Thank you for answering my questions so throughly. I did not mention that I do have Osteopenia and I have had Osteoporosis in my spine but my t-score was back in the Osteopenia range the last 2 scans. I know better. I am always looking for a way to justify my diet soda addiction and really there isn’t one. Congratulations on being vegan. I could not do it. Yes, junk food is my biggest weakness in life as I just picked up Girl Scout cookies at the store. If only I could exercise my bad diet habits away because I love working out.

        You are amazing. I have followed your page for many years and I know you are an introvert as I am too but you have found a way to to still reach out and help so many people. Just curious, I do was in the military – Air Force though I only did 6 years. What branch were you in?


      2. You’re welcome! I am glad my blog is helpful to people. I remember how much time I spent scouring the internet for info on workouts (DVD workouts back then!) so I am glad this blog makes things easier for people.

        I was also in the Air Force for 6 years–during Desert Storm in fact, though I never left the US!


      3. I joined as Desert Storm was ending. Didn’t go there but was stationed in Okinawa part of the time. Thank you for replying. I can do this Diet Coke thing. You’ve inspired me. Maybe I’ll try Stevia or find something similar without the phosphoric acid though I will miss Diet Coke more than my grown children. Have a great week


      4. Giving up Coke Zero was really hard for me but it’s been several years now and I don’t miss it at all. I also thought I would have a problem giving up dairy and eggs much more than meat. I never really cared for most meat so that was not hard for me but the dairy did not end up being very hard either. There are so many replacement products that are as good as the animal version. That btw is my problem! I should have gone vegan and given it all up but I eat vegan cheese as much as I ate animal cheese!


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