If it feels like you're on a never-ending quest to fill out your shirt and tear through your sleeves, you need to correct course. Chances are you had a heavy rotation of bench presses and bicep curls when you were doing an upper body split. They're great building blocks, but after years of doing the same exercises, you've either plateaued, become bored, or both.
One way to shock your muscles is to change your posture to challenge your stability, core strength, balance, and muscular endurance while making your favorite moves feel whole new. With these variations, you'll engage your core more and utilize additional strength (the target's supporting muscles). Here are some classic upper body exercises with a lower body twist.
Do the exercises in a circuit for 3 to 5 rounds, resting as needed. Even if these moves get your heart rate up, don't rush. Perform with control and use moderate to heavy weight.
Clever stance variations that make classic upper body exercises feel new
1. Glute Bridge Hold Floor Press x 15 reps (see above)
Start in a lying position with knees bent 90 degrees, feet on the floor, hip-width apart, dumbbells in hands. Raise your hips by planting your heels on the floor and tightening your glutes. Position your elbows at a 45-degree angle and stack your wrists directly over them. Exhale as you push the dumbbells toward the ceiling, finishing with your wrists just above your shoulders as shown. Inhale as you lower yourself to the starting position. Engage core and glutes for stability; They help keep your spine neutral and your hips level and lifted for the duration of the round.
2. Staggered Posture Unilateral Bentover Row x 8 reps on each side
Assume a staggered pose with knees gently bent and holding dumbbells. Maintain a flat back as you lean in at the hips and lean your chest forward up to 45 degrees. With arms outstretched and palms facing each other, exhale, then row weights to hips and drive elbows back. Do all reps on one side, then switch the leading leg to stand.