May 20, 2022

A Complete Upper-Body Workout That Checks All the Boxes With Just 4 Moves

The workout below is for Day 2 of the SELF 2022 Spring Challenge. Check out…

The workout below is for Day 2 of the SELF 2022 Spring Challenge. Check out the full four-week workout program right here. Or go to the workout calendar here. If you’d like to sign up to receive daily emails for this challenge, you can do that here.

You’ve made it to the second day of the SELF 2022 Spring Challenge and your second workout routine! Today’s routine, a complete upper-body workout, will be your first strength training day of the program.

Before we get into the specifics of today’s routine, let’s take some time to go over what you can expect from your strength training days in this challenge. Like we said in Day 1, you’ll be tasked with three strength-training days per week: an upper-body routine, a lower-body routine, and a full-body routine. That means you’ll be hitting each muscle group at least twice a week, which research suggests is the recommended frequency for building muscle.

Your strength workouts in this challenge will require dumbbells: a lighter set and a heavier set. As a starting point, a lighter set might be between 5 to 12 pounds, while a heavier set might be from 15 to 25 pounds. In general, the lighter set can be good for working smaller muscles like those in your shoulders; while heavier weights might be a better choice for targeting bigger muscle groups, like your legs. (Here are some great at-home dumbbell options if you want to add to your equipment.)

The recommended rep range varies for these moves. Rather than getting caught up in a certain number of reps, focus on feel: You should feel challenged at the end of the set but not so gassed your form takes a hit.

For your first strength training day, you’ll begin with an upper-body workout that’s focused on foundational moves. In this routine, you’ll be pulling and pressing—two basic movements that you’ll continually see in upper-body strength workouts, both in this challenge and pretty much everywhere. That’s because these are basic movement patterns that you can continue to build upon in many different variations. To start with, you’ll perform the chest press (which works your pectoral muscles, shoulders, and triceps) and the overhead press (which works your shoulders and triceps) for your pushing movements, and the bent-over row (which hits your lats and your rhomboids in your back) for your pulling. You’ll also give the back of your body a little extra work with the reverse fly, which targets the small muscles in the back of your shoulders called your rear deltoids, important for injury prevention and posture.

You’ll complete these moves in a circuit and you’ll cycle through moves that work opposing muscle groups—think the bent-over row, which works your back, followed by the chest press, which works your chest. And you’ll be given a solid amount of rest at the end of each round. Your muscles should feel tired when your workout is done, but you may notice you’re not as breathless or sweaty as you are during HIIT routines. And that’s what we want, since strength training is the goal of this routine.

Get started by grabbing your dumbbells and scrolling for exercise directions for this complete upper-body workout.


Aim for 8 to 15 reps of each exercise. Rest for up to 30 seconds between exercises. Rest for 1 to 2 minutes after each round. Complete 2 to 4 rounds total.


  • Bent-over Row
  • Chest Press
  • Reverse Fly
  • Overhead Press


After your last circuit, try the bonus move for 60 seconds.