Back & Shoulder Upper Body Routine

Grow those upper body muscles with this workout! I’ve been increasing my number of sets to add in more volume, so don’t skimp out on the 4th or 5th set 🙂


A) Ring Pull Up 4 sets of 3
A) Inverted Row 4 sets of 8

B) Assisted Ring Dips 5 sets of 5

C) Military Press 4 sets of 12
C) Band Face Pull 4 sets of 15
C) Y Press 4 sets of 12

D) Handstands (with leg lowering)
D) Handstands on bars

E) Jump Rope 5 minutes


Posterior Chain Workout (Glutes & Hamstrings!)

In an effort to show you guys more of what a complete workout for me might look like, rather than just exercises, I braved the video editing world to show you my deadlift/ posterior chain workout.

If you want to improve your glute/hamstring strength, build a better back side or burn lots of calories by targeting your largest muscles groups this workout is your new go-to

Please excuse the awkward music choice, but I hope you like the video!

Did this workout challenge you? Let me know how you feel after you try it!

Exercise You Should Be Doing: Barbell Split Squats


If you want to get super strong, get toned muscles, look awesome, _____________ you need to be doing unilateral exercises in addition to your bilateral  exercises.

As a refresher, bilateral exercises (squat, deadlift, glute bridge) let both your limbs share the load. Unilateral exercises (single leg, single arm exercises) mostly favor one limb.

For this article we are most referring to your legs.

If you have strong single leg strength, it is only going to increase how much you can lift with both legs and help your joints be more stable/stronger as well.

Today, we make the case for the barbell split squat. 

I used to hate split squats because when you first start doing them, the quad burn is intense and your knees might feel a bit unstable.

But once you have mastered the movement and can increase the weight, you will be able really feel your glutes working and more control/stability with your knee joint.

Make sure to spend some time getting used to the movement and finding the best distance between your feet for you, then progress to adding a barbell.

Once you are comfortable with that, work on increasing your weight. Here is a recommended progression (for incorporating split squat into your workout twice a week).

Week 1: Bodyweight 3 sets of 8, then 12

Week 2: Bodyweight 4 sets of 8, then 12

Week 3: Light barbell 4 sets of 6, then 8

Week 4: Light barbell 3 sets of 10, then 13

Week 5: Slightly increase weight 5 sets of 5 (both days)

Week 6: Slightly increase weight 4 sets of 6, then 4 sets of 7

Week  7: Same weight for 5 sets of 6 (both days)

Week 8: Select adequate weight for 4 sets of 8

*Continue incorporating split squats into your workout varying from 3 sets of 10-12, 4 sets of 6-8 and 5 sets of 5-6.

Playing around with the rep ranges lets you do a little strength and hypertrophy to let you both strengthen and build those quad and glute muscles.

Try it out and let me know what you think!



3 Great Exercises to Build your Butt

I just watched a video that just COMPLETELY upgraded my deadlift, but also gave me a great butt exercise and reminded me of two other exercises I love to really feel my glutes working.

If you’re interesting in cleaning up your deadlift, I highly recommend watching the video (I’ll make another post later with tips), but if you just want to get a great glute workout, keep reading below for your 3 new favorite exercises.

Banded Extension

You could do this exercise without the band until you get comfortable, but adding a little resistance really takes it to the next level.

Key things to keep in mind:

  • Notice I don’t lift up far enough to engage my lower back. This keeps it all in the glute and hamstrings. If you feel this in your lower back, have a friend watch or record yourself to adjust your form.
  • Push up into the pads with your heels/lower calves.


Cable Pull Through

Once you get over holding the cable attachment in a somewhat awkward position, you will realize it is totally worth it and also reinforces a great hip hinge pattern.

Key things to keep in mind:

  • Keep your weight in your heels/mid foot.
  • Lock your shoulders into place by imagining you are holding towels between your armpits.
  • Again, use a friend or video to make sure your back isn’t arching like crazy.


Snatch Grip Deadlift for Glute Activation

This is the exercise I got from the video at the beginning of this post and it gives you the most amazing level of glute activation.

Stand with your feet just slightly apart and turn your toes outward about 35-45 degrees. Take a wide snatch grip and lock your shoulders into place. It’s okay on this one to keep the bar slightly away from your body throughout the movement.

Key things to keep in mind:

  • Practice this first without the bar to find the foot and arm position where you really can feel your glutes squeezing together.
  • Think of it like an RDL or even perform it like an RDL if you feel your form suffers.


There you have it, your new 3 favorite glute exercises. Try them out and let me know what you think!

5 Minute Interval Workout w/ Video

Crunched for time? This 5 minute interval workout will get you sweating with minimal equipment. And if you have time for a full workout you can run through it 3 times to maximize your results!

I used the for easy timing with the intervals. Or you can do it right along with me in the video!


Set your timer for 8 rounds, with 30 seconds on and 10 seconds off (rest).


5 minutes and 10 seconds later you’ll be done with the first round!


Summer Shoulders Workout

Cut offs, tank tops and strapless dresses. Thanks to women like Jennifer Garner and Jessica Biel, strong sculpted shoulders have become revered on both men and women. So be prepared to turn some heads and be able to hoist your carry-on into the overhead compartment with ease after this shaping and strength building shoulder workout!

With little time left until the official start of summer, here are my top shoulder exercises packed together to make a killer shoulder workout:

Warm Up

Warm up your shoulders and arms with this quick routine that I do before all my upper body workouts! Use 2.5-5 pound plates and make arm circles both directions for 5-10 reps each way. Then perform 5-10 bent over flies with palms facing each other and then palms facing forward.

A1 Push Press

After the shoulder warm up, start off with a weight that is easy for 5 reps. Perform 1 set  of 5 reps at this weight. Then increase the weight by 2.5-5 plates (depending on what you have available). Perform another set of 5 reps. Continue slowly increasing the weight until it is very challenge for 5 reps. Then work your way back down to the easy weight you started at for 5 reps. Perform 7-8 sets total.

B1 Military Press

In a circuit with B2 & B3, perform 4 sets of 10 reps.

B2 Arnold Press

In a circuit with B1 & B3, perform 4 sets of 10 reps.

B3 Lateral Raise

In a circuit with B1 & B2, perform 4 sets of 10 reps.


Finishers are a great way to end your work and leave your body burning calories! This finisher will have you feeling the burn in your shoulders, engaging your abs and increasing your heart rate! Hello sneaky cardio 🙂 Perform 8 breakdowns (hands to elbows while not letting hips rock) followed by 8 burpees (modification with and without push up are both shown). Repeat exercises for 3-5 minutes!

Let me know what you think and if your shoulders survive!

Your At-Home Summer Abs Workout

Fine, fine, I will jump on board and spill my magic secrets on how to get your abs ready for swimsuit season. All within the comfort of your own home. As a bonus, there is a video included at the bottom of the page! But first, this is the most important piece of information about abs I could ever give you:

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Because is diet is KING. FO EVA.

Summer Abs Workout

This workout has 5 exercises that will hit your abs and little shoulder as well! Go through the circuit 2-3 times (you can build up to making it through 3 times), performing 10 reps of each exercise. Three rounds will take you less than 15 minutes! Do this workout 3x/ week for best results. For best-est results, combine with full body strength training and a protein-filled diet.

1.Side Plank with Leg Lift

Start in a side plank position with your elbow directly underneath your shoulder. Begin by raising your top leg towards the ceiling and back down to the start position. Try to control the movement. If this is too difficult, you can just hold the side plank position or lower onto your knee. If this is too easy, you can move from your forearm to your hand.

2. Weighted Body Saw Plank

Start in a plank position on your forearms. Walk your toes backward about 4-5 inches to assume the start position. Begin by rocking your body forward, so your shoulders go just past your elbows. Then rock yourself back to the start position. Do not let your hips sink towards the ground. (Adding weight is optional, but awesome.)

3. Pistol Abs

A client favorite! Lie on your back with your legs pointing up towards the ceiling. Makes a handgun with your hands, obviously. Lift your upper back off the ground (careful to use your abs, not your neck) and bring your fingers toward your toes. This is the starting position. At the same time, lower your left leg to the ground and shoot your handgun to the right side of your leg. Raise your leg and dumbbell back up to the start position. Repeat on the other side.

4. V-Up

Lie on your back with your hands extended behind your head holding a dumbbell (if you have one) and legs out straight. Raise your arms off the ground towards your toes and at the same time, bring your legs up towards your arms (forming a V-shape). Lower back to the starting position.

5. Plank Kickback with Knee Tuck

Start in a plank position on your hands. Begin by kicking your right leg up towards the ceiling while pushing your shoulders back behind your hands (think downward dog), then draw your knee to your chest while positioning your shoulders directly over your hands. Repeat on the left side.


Picture source:

I’m at the gym. What the heck do I do now?

You’ve posted one too many fitspirational pictures on your Pinterest board. You’ve downloaded every bass-pumping EDM song you can find onto your playlist. You’ve got your sneaks on and are walking into the gym full of determination to hit the weight room and unveil that muscle you’ve been hiding this winter. But……. what the heck do you do with all this stuff?


For strength training beginners, it is crucial to hit your major muscle groups as often as you can. You may have heard of upper body/lower body splits or body part splits, but total body workouts are the best bet for beginners. You can worry about switching to one of those later. For now, all you need to know is what your major muscle groups are so that you can strengthen them with all your workouts.

I will give you the inside look on how I teach my clients about the body and strength training, so that you will be able to put together a no-fail total body workout and feel like you have a plan for what do to do in the gym.

1. There are five major muscle groups that we want to hit.

  1. Glutes / hamstrings
  2. Glutes/ quads
  3. Back
  4. Shoulders/ chest
  5. Abs

2. We want to hit the hardest exercises first.

Do the hard/ most important things first so your form will be at it’s best and you will get the most out of that exercise. For a total body workout, this means hitting your legs first.

3. There is a difference between knee-dominant and hip-dominant.

Knee-dominant exercises will predominately work your glutes & quads. Hip-dominant exercises will predominately work your glutes & hamstrings. Knee-dominant exercises include squats, lunges and step ups. Hip-dominant exercises include deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts and glute bridges. Both are incredibly important and hip-dominant (the best kept secret to an awesome butt) exercises are often forgotten.

4. Memorize a few simple exercises for each muscle group.

  1. Glute/ hamstrings: deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, , single-leg deadlifts, glute bridges, single -leg glute bridges
  2. Glute/ quads: back squat, front squat, goblet squat, step-ups, reverse lunges, forward lunges
  3. Back: bent over rows, pull ups, lat pulldowns, chest-supported rows, seated cable rows
  4. Shoulders: push press, barbell or dumbbell overhead press, Arnold press, lateral raises, rear delt flies, face pulls
  5. Abs: hanging leg raises, body-saw planks, v-ups, side planks, reverse crunches, overhead sit ups, dead bugs

Try out a few and find your favorites. These will become your “go-to” exercises for each muscle group. Make sure you can feel the proper muscle group working during the exercise.

5. Put it all together.

The old trusty set and rep ranges. Go heavy for strength, go light for hypertrophy, or just go somewhere in between. Here are some recommendations:

5 sets of 5-6

3 sets of 12

4 sets of 8

10 sets of 5

Pick a set/rep range for each exercise and get to it.

Here’s an example, but try to put together one on your own too!

  • Deadlifts 5 sets of 6
  • Step Ups 4 sets of 8
    • Superset* with Jump Squats 4 sets of 8
  • Seated Cable Rows 3 sets of 12
  • Barbell Overhead Press 3 sets of 10
    • Superset* with Side Planks 3 sets of 20 seconds each side

*Superset = perform the first exercise, then the second exercise and continue alternating until you perform the proper number of sets.