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Pump It Up: An Arm Workout That Gets Results

Determined to re-gain some upper body strength before the summer months kick into gear, I turned to one of the people in my life who knows best how to work hard, and push herself to drive results: my dear friend Karisa, who is coincidentally also a personal trainer in Ventura, CA.  I featured Karisa a few years ago, when she put together a great 45-minute home workout that I still refer to when I’m crunched for time at home (check out the Curtis Camp post).  Beyond being an overall gifted athlete, amazing person, and spunky mom of two, Karisa has arms of steel….the head-turning kind of arms of steel that make you realize you can work a whole lot harder that you think you can.

Karisa crafted a straightforward plan for the gym, which is simple enough to follow, but includes enough variety to sustain over time:

  • Choose one exercise from each of the five categories below
  • Complete 12-15 reps with weight that feels heavy, but manageable
  • Switch to next category
  • Complete circuit three times


  • TRX reverse rows
  • TRX face pulls and/ or alternating with bicep curls
  • TRX Y’s or reverse flies
  • Single arm kettlebell or dumbbell rows
  • Dumbbell reverse flies


  • Push-ups (wide/narrow/tricep/elevated)
  • TRX  push-ups


  • Squat and overhead press or push press
  • Kettleball overhead press
  • Forward lunge and overhead medicine ball press


  • TRX pull-up
  • Assisted pull-up machine
  • Dips off of a bench
  • TRX dips


  • Squat and wall ball
  • Medicine ball slams
  • Kettleball squat and high pull

With a roadmap like this, the task ahead is to grin it, bear it, and make Karisa proud.  Who’s in?

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