Be Well Workout of the Week: Tone Up With Heavy Weights and Low Reps 

This workout is going to focus on using heavy weights to work your muscles in just a few reps. You’ll start by doing 10 reps of each exercise listed below. Then, you’ll work your way down in reps, eventually just doing two reps of each exercise.

As you go through the rounds and the reps decrease, continue to increase the amount of weight you use so that the last rep of each set is very challenging. The focus of this type of workout is power with each rep, rather than endurance, so make each rep count! Happy sweating!

Be Well Workout of the Week: Tone Up With Heavy Weights and Low Reps

Reps: 10-8-6-4-2 (Increase weight so that each round in challenging, despite the low reps.)
Dead lift
Chest press on physioball
Knee drives holding weights
Sit-up holding weight
Squat with overhead press
Lunge jump holding weights (do reps on each side)
Bicep curl

Explanations of exercises:
Click links for how-to videos.

Deadlifts with dumbbells: Hold dumbbells with arms extended down so they’re resting on your thighs, feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping shoulders back and abs tight (and without locking your knees), bend at the hips and let the weights lower towards the floor, going as far as you can without bending your knees too much. Drive your heels in to the floor and stand to return to the starting position.

Chest press on physioball: Lie with your head and neck on the ball and feet on the floor, lifting your hip and squeezing your glutes. With weights in hands, bend your elbows 90 degrees, so your arms make L shapes straight out from the shoulders. Push the weights up to the ceiling until your arms straighten. Return to starting position and repeat.

Knee drives: Start with your right foot on a bench. Holding weights at your shoulders, press into your right foot and as you stand up, drive your left knee up towards your chest. Return your left foot to the floor in one fluid motion. Do all reps on the right, then on the left.

Sit-up: Holding a weight at your chest with both hands, lie on your back with feet on the floor and knees bent. Using only your abs, lift your shoulders off the mat and come to a full sit-up position. Lie back down slowly.

Squat with overhead press: Hold free weights at your shoulders, and do a squat. As you stand back up, press the weights over your head.  Return them to your shoulders as you squat back down.

Pull-ups: Suspend yourself on the pull-up bar with your hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Pull yourself up, keeping your body as straight as possible, until your chest reaches the bar. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat. (You can hold a weight between your feet to make each round more difficult or decrease the amount of assistance if you’re using a pull-up machine. If you’re struggling with pull-ups, try these alternatives instead.)

Lunge jumps: Start standing with feet together, holding weights at your shoulders, and step forward with the left leg into a lunge, bending knee to about 90 degrees. Jump as you stand back up and switch legs before you land, so your right leg is forward. Lunge again, then jump, putting your left leg forward, and so forth. Left and right counts as one.

Bicep curls: Hold dumbbells at your side with palms facing forward. Pretend your elbows are glued to your midsection and curl the weight toward your shoulders, keeping your upper arm still. Slowly return your weight to the starting position and repeat on the other side.


Audrey McKenna Hasse is the owner of A.M.Fit, a personal training and healthy consultation business on the Main Line. You’ll find her workouts every Monday right here on Be Well Philly.

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