Upper Body Strength Express Workout

Have you been hearing me say how important it is to incorporate resistance training into your fitness routine, PLUS explosive cardio – but you’re wondering how to do it effectively when time is tight?

Look no further, we’ve got you covered today with this fast, fun strength express workout that will target your shoulders, biceps and chest!

Coach Angela will guide you through a quick bodyweight Tabata (4:00 of fast, cardio bursts) to get your heart rate up and warm those muscle groups, then we’ll grab some weighted objects and do a powerful strength training circuit!

Coach Angela is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, Kickboxing Instructor and Team Betty Rocker Coach.

A workout doesn’t have to be “long” to be effective. Especially with this fun format we’ve got for you today. Plus, what makes a workout “effective” is actually what you do AROUND your workout.

While we’re training, we’re breaking down our muscle tissue as we challenge ourselves against a load. It’s how we prepare ourselves for the workout before we get there (are we rested, are we fueled) and how we take care of ourselves after the workout is over (do we fuel with the right nutrients, do we give ourselves recovery time) that determines whether we build muscle and burn fat, or whether we break more muscle down and make it harder for the body to lose fat.

If you want to understand exactly how this works and how you can get the MOST from your training, check out this recent article that explains it – and explains how to do this in all the stages of a woman’s life, including our reproductive years right through perimenopause and menopause.

Now let’s get ready to crush it in 20 minutes with Coach Angela!

If you enjoyed that workout get ready for the Strength Express Challenge where all the workouts are 15-20 minutes, and include a tabata and a strength circuit!

Feel the burn with quick, effective workouts like this that pair strength with explosive cardio so you get more in less time! Balanced total body training that includes yoga for flexibility and quick core to keep everything aligned.

Start your 30 Day Trial today!

Upper Body Strength Express

Click to expand and see all workout move descriptions

Equipment: weighted objects (dumbbells, optional kettlebell, water bottles, jugs or other), optional elevated surface
Format: For Tabatas, perform each move for 0:20 with 0:10 rest between. Repeat for 4 rounds, a total of 4:00. Once complete move on to the strength circuit. Perform the strength circuit for the prescribed reps for 3 rounds.


Alligator Push Ups

  • Begin in a tall plank position with shoulders stacked over wrists, braced core, back flat and neutral gaze (not looking up or down).
  • Maintaining strong form in your plank position, stagger your arms so that one hand is planted slightly behind your shoulder for a tricep pushup and the other remains stacked under your shoulder in regular pushup form.
  • Bend your arms and lower yourself toward the mat while keeping your shoulders away from your ears. Be mindful that your hips and torso are moving in one line.
  • Maintaining a braced core and flat back, push yourself back up to the starting position and switch sides with the staggered stance of your arms.
  • Continue alternating staggered stance pushups for allotted time.
  • MOD: Drop your knees to the mat or perform this move in an elevated position with your hands on an elevated surface like a couch/ottoman/bench.


  • Begin standing with your core braced, chest upright, and arms in a goalpost position.
  • Drive your right knee up and out to your side as you bring your right elbow to meet it, performing a side crunch.
  • Return to standing and repeat on the other side.
  • Keep the knees driving up high at a fast pace, alternating back and forth, being mindful of landing your feet on the mat quietly and with control.
  • Repeat for allotted time.
  • MOD: Make this move low impact by taking the jumping out and alternate driving your knees to your elbows, focusing on the oblique crunch engagement of this move.

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Strength circuit:

Biceps Curls (8-12)

  • Begin standing with weighted objects in both hands and palms facing forward.
  • With a braced core and shoulders back and down (as if they were against a wall), bend at the elbows to curl the weights up to shoulder height.
  • With control, lower the weights to the starting position. Be mindful that you’re keeping your elbows in at your ribcage for the duration of the curl.
  • Repeat for your max rep range.

Strict Press (8-12)

  • Brace your core from a standing or seated position and, holding a weighted object in each hand, bend your arms to a 90 degree goal post position, shoulders back and down (as if they were against a wall) and palms facing away from you.
  • Maintaining a braced core, press the weights straight up overhead, preventing your shoulders from shrugging towards your ears.
  • Lower the weights back to the starting position with control.
  • Repeat for your max reps.

Lateral to Front Raises (8-12)

  • Begin standing with weighted objects in both hands and palms facing your sides.
  • With a braced core, shoulders back and down (as if they were against a wall), and a slight bend in your arms, lift both arms out to the side to shoulder height, leading with your shoulders and elbows rather than your wrists.
  • With control, lower the weights back down and shift your palms’ positioning so that they are now facing your body.
  • Lift your arms straight out and up in front of your body to shoulder height, being mindful again to lead with your elbows instead of your wrists.
  • Lower back to starting position and repeat this sequence for your max reps.

Great job Rockstar! Don’t let anything stop you from taking care of your body in whatever way is right for you today! Check in with Coach Angela and myself to let us know how you’re doing today.

You’re invited to Rock Your Body AND Your Life…

…..in my online home workout studio and women’s fitness community where not only will we provide you with awesome and fun workout challenges, but the information you need to navigate your nutrition choices and the other surrounding actions that will help you see (and keep) the best results.

Check out these pictures that Rock Your Life member and mom of 3, Bailey shared in the group…

“I have been doing Betty Rockers workouts since July of 2020 . Today I took a progress pic just to see how far I have come! The first pic is from 7/2020 and the updated pic is from 05/2022. 40 lbs down.. several inches lost! This workout program along with eating a healthier lifestyle has truly changed my body and mind! I am currently doing the bikini body challenge and it has kicked my butt! If this momma of 3 can do it, so can you!!”

Take YOUR fitness and health to the next level – without having to leave your house!

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