8-Min Chest & Back

Updated: Nov 5

This pandemic has changed the way we do a lot of things- certainly the way we workout! At this time last year, we had no problem paying monthly dues, spending gasoline and time to get to the gym, and sharing equipment that someone else had just sweat all over it. Fast-forward to now, that just sounds… unnecessary. With very little equipment, you can get spectacular workouts at home. In this “8-Minute Workout” series, I’m letting you in to my own, personal, at-home workouts that target every major muscle group. This, the edition is Chest + Back!


Using just one set of medium-heavy dumbbells, you can expect 6 challenging moves for the chest and back, alternating between each. The exercises lasts 40-seconds, and we repeat the circuit. Exercises 5 and 6 are metabolic whoppers- yowza! To get the most out of 8 little minutes, I plugged those two intense cardio + strength moves as the finish of the circuit. Heart-pumping moves are beneficial from a metabolic standpoint, so trek through the tough stuff with me (but don't shy away from the modifications- building you up safely, with time, is what they're here there for).


Equipment Needed: 1 set of medium to heavy dumbbells

Time Commitment: 8-minutes

Intensity: high


Although this workout is suitable for all fitness levels, the intensity is high- especially the super-metabolic last two Exercises! See note for options of easier alternatives.


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8-Minute Chest & Back Circuit


Perform 40-seconds of each of the following moves. Perform 2 sets through this circuit.


Exercise 1: Reverse Flys

Tip forward at your hips with your torso and pull your butt toward the back wall. (This is called dead lift position). Maintain this posture with your legs and torso. With dumbbells in hands, exhale and pull your arms out like wings, then resist gravity as you inhale and draw them back in together. {On set 1, turn your thumbs up. On set 2, turn the thumbs down}



Exercise 2: Chest Presses

Lay back on the floor or mat with your belly facing up. WIth dumbbells in hands, bend your elbows to 90-degrees and hover them right above the floor. Exhale as you press the dumbbells up above your sternum. Inhale as you lower them to starting position.



Exercise 3: Renegade Rows

Assume high plank position with a dumbbell in each hand. Place your legs hips-width apart. Lift one dumbbell and pull it to your ribcage, without significantly shifting your hips. Lower that dumbbell back to the ground. Lift the other dumbbell to your ribcage, then lower it back to the ground.



Exercise 4: Push-Ups

Safely release your dumbbells, so that you’re working with bodyweight only.

Assume high plank position with hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Inhale and bend your elbows and drop your body to hover above the ground. Hold momentarily, then exhale and extend your elbows to push-up to starting position.

*Option: Drop your knees to the floor. If you select this modification, use a mat or towel to cushion your knees.



Exercise 5: Superman to Hee Haw

From high plank position, drop your body down to the ground and lift both hands (make it harder by lifting both feet, as well). Pop up to all 4s, then hoist your heels up like a donkey kicking his hind legs.

*Option: After dropping your body down to the ground, lift only one arm and the opposite leg- this is gentler on the lower back. Next, draw your feet in to all 4s with knees hovering above the floor. Hold momentarily, then repeat. This option is demonstrated in the video.



Exercise 6: Burpee with Push-Up

Stand up, straight and tall, then tuck down into a deep squat and touch your fingertips to the floor. Thrust out to a plank on your hands. Perform one push-up on your knees or toes. Return to deep squat, touching your fingertips to the floor. Vertical leap into the air.

*Option: Perform the push-up on your knees. Omit the vertical leap.



Exercises 5 and 6 are innnnnnntense and you will be winded after knocking out 40-seconds of each, back to back. Not to worry, your heart rate will come down as you work. Progress back to the the top of the circuit (Exercise 1) and notice how you recover as you work- it’s called an “active” recovery. However, if you feel that you need a rest- a “passive” recovery- just press the pause button on the video, take as long as you need to recharge, then unpause and complete the encore performance!



About Brook Benten

Brook Benten, M. Ed., is a fitness expert in Georgetown, TX. She is a workout video star, choreographer, fitness writer, and continuing education provider. Brook leads the following high energy LiveStream workout classes: Metabolic Blast (dumbbells & bench), Arms & Abs (bodyweight only), and Performance Indoor Cycling. Register for any of Brook’s workouts at www.TrainWithTheTrainers.com/trainers/brook-benten


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