Minimal Upper Body Training

Fitness and training methods are always evolving, always changing. The theories about what is best and what is most effective will always be changing, what is most important though is that people keep pushing the boundaries and developing new stuff.

Minimimal Equipment, Minimal Space – Scott Abel

Recently I have been scoping out some of my favourites via YouTube and have come across some very cool training methods that have certainly shown me something new and have given me new ideas for training myself and clients. One in particular stood out……

Minimal Upper Body Simultaneous Training

This is a term coined by Scott Abel who came up with a method of really mixing resistance and cardiovascular work using simple Dumbbells and a Bench.

Please watch the video, it will show you exactly what this post is about. Simultaneous training is an interesting to me for the following reasons:

It is easy to get the hang of and works naturally. The movements all feel familiar, for instance the chest press is a sort of punching action and the bent over rows are a sort of rope pulling action. I was surprised at how when first experimenting with simultaneous training that it felt really natural. Most people will also find the movements to flow nicely and just work…..

It is different. the exercises are more metabolically activating as oppose to pumping up or stimulating a specific muscle. So you will feel your abs tense up, your shoulders burn and your heart start to beat faster. A real hybrid of resistance and cardiovascular work.

Metabolically Stimulating. There is no better way to empty out those muscle glycogen stores, trigger muscle growth and therefore raise the metabolism than some high intensity resistance training. You will notice that after doing a short workout like this that your metabolism will be significantly stimulated, you will digest food better, feel warmer and have a general sense of wellbeing.

It works to improve athletic performance. this to me has become a integral part of any weight bearing exercise I am doing. If it does not improve functionality and performance then its not worth doing. Simultaneous training is great in this way as it works on your co-ordination, balance and hand to eye movement. The speed at which the exercises are performed is critical in mirroring how fast you would move during a sport like Boxing, Football or Tennis….

Simultaneous training provides a real shock to the muscles. whether you are a seasoned lifter or novice I guarantee this type of training will challenge you. It is something totally new that not many people have experimented with before. The muscles are worked in a whole new way, so the impact is not as specific and deep but more evenly spread.

Very little equipment is needed . A set of dumbbells of an decent weight is all you need to get started, you don’t even need a bench as most of the exercises can be done lying on the floor if need be. From there you can cover all the upper body movements like:

  • Chest Presses
  • Rows
  • Upright Rows
  • Should Press
  • Lateral Raises
  • Bicep Curls
  • Triceps Extensions

In one hybrid of high intensity training you can blast all the muscles. Instead of doing all the exercises without a break like the video suggests I found simultaneous training to be more effective when doing 3 exercises in a row for about 10-15 reps each side then taking a break (to catch breath) and moving onto another 3 exercises. Of course though this should be scaled to your own varying levels of fitness, I suppose the higher the level of fitness the more exercises can be done without breaks.

Simultaneous training is safe. This is because the weight used is lighter than what you would normally use, therefore not making you compromise form. Remember to pick a weight that seems pretty light at first, you will notice as you get towards the last few reps and feel the burn that the weight will start feeling pretty heavy!

I would Suggest giving simultaneous training a try once or twice a week. If you can only get into the gym one day a week this would be a great way to spend your time.

The workout style is made for less equipment so if you have a set of dumbbells lying around at home give it a try. Simultaneous training is Minimal, Safe and Effective……


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