SQUAT + BICEP CURL: Hold dumbbells (5- to 15-lbs each) in each hand at your sides, palms facing out, and keep your abdominals engaged, chest lifted, and weight in your heels as you lower down into a squat. Exhale as you push back up to the starting position (standing) and do a bicep curl: Keeping your elbows close to your sides, lift each dumbbell. As you lower your arms back down, lower into the next squat repetition.

Note: For some people it may feel more natural to bend the arms and perform the bicep curl while lowering into the squat. Please feel free to do this exercise this way if you like it better.  

CHEST PRESS: Use the same dumbbells or a slightly heavier pair for this exercise. Lie on your back holding one dumbbell (5- to 20-lbs) in each hand, or a body bar (15- to 24-lbs) in both hands. Your feet should be about shoulder-width apart. Bend your arms to about 90 degrees, with your palms faced towards your feet. As you exhale, straighten your arms and bring the dumbbells together directly above your chest (but don’t let them touch at the top). Inhale as you lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position.

BEHIND-HEAD TRICEPS EXTENSION: Exchange your dumbbells for a lighter set (5- to 12-lbs). You can also use a body bar (9- to 24-lbs). Sitting on the stability ball, straighten your arms overhead so that your biceps are in line with your ears. Bend your elbows, allowing the dumbbells/body bar to drop behind your shoulders. Keeping your elbows tight to your ears, as much as you can, exhale and straighten your arms overhead. Inhale as you bend your elbows again.

During the squat, you should feel your quadriceps (thighs), hamstrings (back of your thighs), and gluteals (butt) working. As you lower into the squat, keep your weight in your heels to make sure your knees do not go past your toes. The curl works your biceps (fronts of the upper arms). During the chest press, you should feel your chest, shoulders, and triceps (back of the upper arms) working. To maintain correct form, keep the movement of the dumbbells controlled and avoid letting them touch when you straighten your arms. You can also do this move lying on a stability ball (this is more difficult). During the behind-head triceps extensions, you should feel your triceps (the back of your upper arms) working. To maintain correct form, make sure that you keep your abs engaged and tailbone tucked to avoid arching your low back. Additionally, make sure that the movement of your forearms is caused by the straightening and bending of your elbows only. You should feel like you cannot do another repetition at the end of each exercise during each set. If you are able to easily continue any of the exercises, try one of the progressions below.

Do the bicep curl after standing up out of the squat or with your back against a stability ball. Do the behind-head triceps extensions in a standing position or seated on a step rather than sitting on a stability ball. You can also try 1 or 2 sets if 3 to 5 is too challenging.

If you can do 2 additional repetitions on any of the exercises, consider how to challenge yourself: To make any of the exercises in this workout harder increase the weight of your dumbbell or the number of repetitions (only increase repetitions if you’re currently doing fewer than 20 reps). To make the squat+bicep curl combo harder, try a one-legged squat instead. To make the chest press harder, try doing a set using the right arm only, followed by a set using the left arm only. If you're using a stability ball, doing a one-armed chest press will require more core engagement to stay centered on the ball. To make the behind-head triceps extension harder you can try a triceps dip instead (on a stable surface, not on the stability ball).


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  1. Squat
  2. Bicep Curl
  3. Chest Press
  4. Upright Triceps Extension

Do 10 to 20 repetitions of each exercise. Repeat the circuit (workout) 3 to 5 times.

Medium- and heavy-weight dumbbells (5- to 15-lbs for most women; 5- to 20-lbs for most men); or a body bar (15- to 24-lbs)

medium- and/or heavy-weight dumbbells (5- to 15-lbs for most women; 5- to 20-lbs for most men) or a body bar (15- to 24- lbs)

Don’t do the chest press if you have shoulder problems.