This quick and efficient home strength workout is the perfect hybrid of weighted and bodyweight exercises. These effective moves will work your chest, shoulders, and triceps to sculpt your upper body in 20 minutes flat! An exercise ball is used for some of the exercises for a core and stability challenge, but it isn’t necessary to complete the workout. Let’s lift!
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Girls Weekend

This last weekend George was on a golf trip in Florida for 4 days with some friends. So while he was out having fun on vacation, I was home with the girls.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED our girl time, but finding time to do anything was tough. First, fitting in exercise because I couldn’t sneak off to the gym or class early in the morning or during nap. Next, making dinner while trying to keep little ones happy seemed to require 3 arms. And then finally getting everyone dressed and out the door in the morning. Phew!

Virtual high five to all the single parents that do this all the time… you are a superhero!

I also have no shame in admitting that I bribed my kids with a dinner date at Chick-fil-A if they cooperated during a Target run and grocery shopping.

And it worked! They stayed in the cart at Target, actually ate dinner, and I could eat my Spicy Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad in peace while they wore themselves out playing.

How to be more efficient during my solo-parenting weekend

I realized I needed to be way more efficient with my workouts and our dinner plans to maintain our sanity while I was solo-parenting!

So here was my plan:

  • Fast and effective workouts at home
  • Include the kids in my workouts
  • Minimal cooking/short prep-time meals
  • Pre-prepped foods (marinated and grilled chicken from Trader Joe’s and their frozen microwavable brown rice)

Because Saturday is my usual Orangetheory day, I knew I’d need something I could do at home. Instead, I came up with this chest, shoulders, and triceps weights + bodyweight workout. It was quick, effective, and I did it at home before the kids even woke up. Seems like Lauren was happy to use our home gym in the morning too (see cute toddler below!). Then I finished up with a quick Aaptiv Walking with Weights incline treadmill workout with my favorite Aaptiv trainer!

Then on Sunday, I packed the kids up into the double Bob jogging stroller (my FAVORITE baby item ever – I don’t know what I’d do without it!) to go for a run before it started raining.

Mom fail: it started raining when we about 1.5 miles away from home. Oops! 

But a trip to the nearby coffee shop with the chalkboard wall instead of the wet playground made everything all better 🙂 

We had a ton of fun, but I’m thankful for a little extra help now that George is home and excited for our Valentine’s day activities… a Barre with your Babe class at The Bar Method (should be comical watching the guys do those deceptively challenging moves!), a fancy dinner date night, and a tennis mixer this weekend.

Hope you enjoy the workout!

Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps

I’m not sure why, but I hardly even train shoulders with other upper body muscles. I try to give them their own dedicated day or add them onto legs, but for this workout, I threw them into a chest and tricep workout and loved it!

This chest, shoulders, and triceps workout was so efficient in hitting multiple muscle groups in record time. For that reason, I’ll be adding this one to my arsenal of super quick before-work workouts!

The Equipment

All you need for this workout is a set of dumbbells. I used an exercise ball for a core stability challenge with some of the moves, but it isn’t necessary. The Neoprene Hand Weights I’m using in the photos are from Target. They’re durable, comfortable, and available in weights 2-15 lbs. They also go on sale pretty frequently!
As you become stronger, you’ll probably need heavier weights to challenge your body. Therefore, I recommend increasing your weights when you can easily complete the reps (the last 2 should be very hard).

When I did this workout I used 30 lb dumbbells for the chest press and 15 lbs for the lateral raise and tricep extension. The weights I use at home (and the best home workout equipment purchase of my life) are the Bowflex SelectTech weights that adjust from 5-52.5 lbs.

The Workout

Complete 3 rounds of the weighted moves (1-3) for 15 reps, resting for 30 seconds between rounds.

Then perform the bodyweight moves (4-6) with or without the ball for 20 reps for 3 rounds, resting for 30 seconds after each round.

Weighted Moves x15 reps

1. Chest press (or incline chest press)

2. Lateral delt raise

3. Tricep kickback

Bodyweight Moves x20 reps

4. Decline push up (or regular push ups)

5. Inverted/pike push up

6. Tricep dips

Weighted Moves


1. Chest Press

(or flat or incline chest press on the ball)

x15 reps

  • Pick up the dumbbells and position them at tips with your thumbs pointed up. Then sit down on the exercise ball while resting the dumbbells on your hips.
  • To get into position, roll down the ball (keeping your dumbbells close to your chest as you roll) by walking your feet out until your upper back is on top of the ball and your knees are at a 90-degree angle with your feet flat on the floor.
  • With your palms facing your feet, raise the dumbbells straight up until your elbows are close to being locked and lower them back slowly after a short pause.
  • Incline chest press: For more shoulder involvement (or if you’re pregnant and cannot be flat), do an incline chest press by flexing/lowering your hips and keep your spine neutral.

2. Lateral delt raise

x15 reps

  • Stand with a dumbbell in each hand at your side and elbows slightly bent.
  • Keep your back straight and brace your core.
  • Then raise the weights out to the side until your arms are parallel with the floor, then lower.

3. Tricep Kickback

x15 reps each side

  • Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand with palms in and elbows bent to 90 degrees and pulled in to your sides.
  • Hinge forward slightly then begin the movement by extending the elbows and kicking the weights back until your arms are straight.
  • Pause for a moment, then bend your elbows to return to the starting position.
  • Keep your upper arms stationary with elbows in and avoid arching or rotating your back throughout the exercise.

Bodyweight Moves


4. Decline Push Ups on the ball

(or regular push ups)

x20 reps (modify by switching to a regular push up or lowering to your knees partway through the set if needed)

  • Start in a high plank position with hands directly under shoulders with the ball near your feet.
  • Once steady, lift one leg at a time onto the ball with feet pointed and resting the top of your feet and ankles on the ball.
  • Keep your back and neck neutral as you lower your chest until it nearly touches the ground. Brace your core as you push back to starting position.
  • Modify by doing a regular push up without the ball, dropping to your knees, or elevating your upper body on a step or sturdy chair.

5. Inverted/Pike Push Ups

(with or without a ball)

x20 reps

  • Start in a high plank position with hands directly under shoulders with the ball near your feet.
  • Once steady, lift one leg at a time onto the ball with feet pointed and resting the top of your feet and ankles on the ball.
  • Then lift up your hips so that your body forms an upside-down V while keeping your arms and legs as straight as possible.
  • Bend your elbows, lowering your upper body until the top of your head nearly touches the floor.
  • Pause for a moment, then push yourself back up until your arms are straight. 
  • Modify by doing the exercise without the ball (feet on the floor) or by elevating your hand onto a step.

6. Tricep Dips

x20 reps

  • Sit on the floor with your knees bent, feet on the floor, hands on the floor behind you with fingers pointing toward the body.
  • To begin, lift hips off the floor then slowly bend your elbows and lower your body close to the floor.
  • Extend arms through the elbows back to the starting position.

Shop my Look

Is anyone else obsessed with Target workout clothes as much as I am? Not only is their stuff cute and affordable, but the quality is outstanding. This medium-impact JoyLab Mini Stripe Longline Sports Bra has a high neckline for extra coverage and little keyhole in back for some extra ventilation.

And the casual-cute athleisure looks makes transitioning from the gym, yoga, or barre class to after workout coffee, brunch, or errands easy and stylish. They also have matching High-Waisted 7/8 Leggings!

Shoes: Nike Women’s Downshifter 7

Crops: Lululemon Wunder Under Crops

What are your best tricks for working out at home with kids? Include them in the workout? Do it while they’re sleeping/napping? Bribes?! LOL