Have a holly jolly—or jacked—Christmas

A fitness guide to a stronger back and bi’s

A back and bicep workout gifted to you.
Photo: 

Nearing the holiday season, the gyms are packed. Pre-holiday break, but after exams, everyone has a load of free time and no excuse not to go to the gym. Post-holiday break, everyone is trying to work off the boatloads of holiday family dinners they just absorbed.

Regardless of which of these apply to you, here’s a back and bicep workout you'll be sure to flex over the holidays, gift-wrapped with a bow.

Note: do four sets of twelve reps for each exercise.

If you’re rocking open-back dresses this holiday season

Single-arm bent-over dumbbell rows are the perfect exercise to target your upper back.

First, go to an area with a bench. Then, place one knee on the bench, leaning over so your arm is placed on the bench as well. Think of it as being on ‘all fours,’ but only two out of four. With the arm not on the bench, pick up the dumbbell. While leaning, over lift the dumbbell up toward you, stopping at your hip. Focus on pulling the dumbbell up toward where the pocket of your pants is.

Slowly bring the weight back down to the ground until your arm is straight. Repeat this twelve times and then switch to your other arm. Remember, when switching arms, put your opposite leg and arm on the bench. The dumbbell should always be parallel to your leg on the ground.

Similar to the single-arm DB rows, now you’re going to do standing barbell rows. Grab a barbell. Hinge at the hips so you’re bent over and bend slightly in the knees. While holding the barbell, palms facing away from you, pull the barbell straight up to your belly button. In a controlled fashion, bring the barbell back down until your arms are straight. Repeat this movement for twelve reps, four times.

Now, head over to the cable machine.

Here, you’re going to do a straight-arm pull-down. First, attach the straight bar to the cable machine. Make sure the machine has the clip at the top of the machine and not the bottom. While hinged at the hips and with a small bend in the knees, reach up and grab the bar with both arms. Then pull the bar down to your hips, keeping your arms straight.

For when you have to carry all the presents

Heading back to the bench you’ve acquired in the busy gym and grab a heavier weight. This exercise is called lying down skull crushers and it will focus on your biceps and triceps.

Straddle the bench, holding the dumbbell on your knee. Lie down on the bench with your chest facing the ceiling and both feet planted on either side of the bench. Hold one end of the dumbbell with both of your hands, pressing it straight up so it’s just over your head. Then, bend at your elbows as if you’re setting the weight down on the floor behind your head. Once the weight is aligned with the back of your head, press it straight back up so it’s above you once more.

Next, seated bicep curls will be your best friend—if you hated your best friend. 

Adjust the bench so it’s at a ninety-degree angle like a chair, then sit down with your back pressed against the upright piece. Grab two dumbbells, and with your palms facing outwards and holding each on either side of the bench, curl the weights toward you. When bringing the weights back down, do so slowly.

After taking a quick two-minute break, stand up with both dumbbells. This exercise is called Zottman curls, which is essentially standing bicep curls.

Zottmans use the same form as described above, except you’re standing. After you curl the weights toward you, turn your hands so your knuckles are facing you, and then slowly lower the weights back down. Once the dumbbells are lowered back down, turn your wrists again so your palms are facing outwards and repeat the exercise.

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This is a solid workout that will help you develop your back and biceps this holiday season.

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