Upper Body & Abs – Break The Rules Workout

Feb 17, 2012 by

Upper Body & Abs Workout Circuit


Hi everyone,

I have another new workout today, this workout is focused on the upper body and abs, it’s a bit different then what I normally do. But I really like this new approach, and I also believe it’s good to change things up a bit. This routine is a circuit that you will only go through once. The whole routine is made up from combos, and there are 6 combos total.

The reason I called this workout Break All The Rules is because this is a routine where I broke all the rules about repetitions. Let me explain: There is a science behind working out, part of this science is the amount of repetitions we do for either muscle growth, strength or endurance. But I also believe that even though the science is very accurate, things are not so black and white and you can still get muscle growth even if you go over the recommended 6-10 reps ;). Just my own observation and food for thought.

Don’t forget to warm-up before doing this workout, I have a follow me along warm-up video with the basic warm-up I always do.


For Workout Recap & Beginners Variation fast forward the video.



Workout Explanation


In this workout all you are going to need is an interval timer, a pull-up bar, pair of dumbbells and an exercise mat. This workout is a timed circuit which is made up of 6 combos. Each combo has 20 repetitions and you will only go through the whole circuit once. You will set your timer as stopwatch.

Remember Proper Form is more important than faster speed!

  • Stacked Feet Push-Up & Side Plank LIft Combo ( both counts as 1 rep ) – 20 reps
  • Weighted Sit Up & 4 Bicycles Combo ( both counts as one rep ) – 20 reps
  • Pull-Up & Jump Back Push-Up Combo ( both counts as one rep ) – 20 reps
  • The Seven Roll & 2 Reptiles ( both counts as one rep ) – 20 reps
  • Legs Lift, Butt Lift & Toe Touch Combo( all three counts as one rep ) – 20 reps
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press & Dive Bomber Push-Up ( both counts as one rep ) –  20 reps


I really enjoyed this routine because there was only one round. Now I am also going to come up with a lower body workout in the same style :).


My time for this workout was 24 minutes and 28 seconds.


Share your scores!!!


PS – I would like to remind you that our Nutrition Approach is 80% of our exercise effort, so make your diet is supporting your workouts.  I have a post to My Complete Guide To Nutrition, read through that and adjust your way of eating if you haven’t already.



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  • http://www.facebook.com/inna.vishnevskaya Inna Vishnevskaya

    ??? ??????????! 30 ????? ? 47 ???. – ? ?????? ????????????? ??? ???? ???????? ?? ???????. ?????? ??????? ??????? ??? ??? ????? ??????????)) ? ????? ?????????, ??? 40 ???? ????? ????? ???????? ????? ?????-?? ???????? ? ??????????? ???? ??, 90 ???? – ????? ?????????? ????????, ? 1000 ???? ????? ??????? ???????????? ? ????????? ????????, ? ?????, ??? ?????? ???? ?????? ?? ?????????? ?????????? ???? ? ?????????????????? ? ??????????. ? ?????? ????????? ????? 3 ???? ? ?????? ?? 1,5 ????, ?? ??????? ???? ?????? ???? ???? ? ??????????!

    ??????? ????, ????????? ????, ??? ????????? ???????? ? ???? ????? ?????????? ???????? ? ????????? ???????????! ????? ???????? ??????????, ???????? ? ????????? ?? ????????? ? ??????? ??????, ??????????? ??? ??? ???? ???? ???????? ????????? (??????) ?????? ??? ??? ????? ???????, ?? ??? ?????? ????? ?????????????? ? ?????????? ???????, ?? ????? ?????????? ?????????? – ???????!!!

    • http://www.lovingfit.com Tatianna

      Innushka :),

      Ya tak rada chitat tvoi kommentarii vsegda, ya tut prosnulas v kakom to strannom nastroenii, a potom prochitav tvoj kommentarij u menya srazu nastroenie podnyalos :), spasibo solnishko moe.

      Da imenno ot tehniki vipolneniya poluchautsya otlichnie rezultati, mne nado pro eto razgovornoe video sdelat, ya dumau ochen mnogo ludej propuskaut etot ochen vagnij point. Mne nravitsya delat raznie combinasii i pitaus bit creativnoj, ya dumau v trenirovkah creativ daet nam shans ne soskuchitsya :).

  • http://www.facebook.com/inna.vishnevskaya Inna Vishnevskaya

    ? ??? ????????, ??? ????????????? ?????????? ????? ??????? ?? ????, ????? ?? ??????? ??????? ??????????, ? ??????? ????????? ?????? ? ????? ?????, ??????? ??? ??? ?????? ?????? ?? ??????? ???????, ??? ??????? ??????????? ?? ????????????? ??????????? ???????… ????? ????????? ?????? ? ???, ??? ?? ????????? ????????? ?????? ?? ????? ?????????? (???? ???? ????? ??? ????, ?? ???? ???????? ?? ???????????? ????????? ????? ?? ????? ????????? ? ????????, ?? ???? ???????? ?????????? – ? ?????? ??????, ?????, ??????? ??????) ???????? ?????????? ? ????? ????? ???????? ??????? 

    • http://www.lovingfit.com Tatianna

      Ya vosnovnom praktikuu dihanie vo vremya meditasii. No tak-ge kagdij raz do togo kak ya nachinau trenirovatsya, ya praktikuu kagdoe upgargenie s pravilnim dihaniem i tehnikoj, posle togo kak ya poprobuu kagdoe gde to raz po 5 ili bolshe, to potom vse samo poluchaetsya.

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  • Levanen Aeres

    I don’t know if it is due to your agility skills but you make the pullups looking that easy!!! OMG 20 reps in a row it’s very challenging. I bet you feel like a champion after this kind of workout!!!

    • http://www.lovingfit.com Tatianna

      I’ve been doing them for a long time, when I get tired I use assistance with my foot and if I get even more tired I use both feet for assistance. The key is to keep going when you’re tired, that’s how you will build muscle as well as strength.

  • Tough cookie

    Hi Tatianna,

    I LOVED this workout!!

    The 4th and 6th exercices were the toughest for me.

    My time was 22:26.

    I will take a week off ( beach vacation) from training and will be back at the end of next week!

    Hope I win the Adidas contest…!

    See ya!

    • http://www.lovingfit.com Tatianna

      Hey Touch Cookie,

      I’m glad you are taking your week off, I do that every 6 weeks as well, gives you body some time to recover and regain strength. Have fun on your vacation!!!

  • http://www.lovingfit.com Tatianna

    Hi Lucy,

    I do interval trainings as well, I try to mix them all up.

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  • MariaBjørgJepsen

    FUN combo!
    I have no pull-up bar, so I did press-ups instead of pull-ups.
    I did it in: 12:03.

  • http://delightfultastebuds.com/ Jos

    I love this combo, probably because I know I only need to complete 1 round of this circuit, it kinda helps mentally :)

    The only modifications I did was I did seated pull up on my dip station since I don’t have a pull up bar.

    Completed in 27:06 and I finished off with 10 min freestyle skips (did 1100 skips total)

    • http://www.lovingfit.com Tatianna

      I love workouts like this one as well, one killer round and done!

  • Christian

    Just finished this. Loved it. I timed each combo.
    1) 3.26
    2) 4.43 with 10 kg sand bag!
    3) 5.23 Loved the Jump back pushup!
    4) 3.42
    5) 2.30
    6) 6.41 The last 10 rep i did it without the DB

    Thanks for an enjoyable WO. Now i’m gone do 10 Min skipping and good posture challenge.
    Have a wonderful day dear!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kendra.oberhauser Kendra Lee Oberhauser

    Just finished! This was a fun workout! But these combo ones are always fun. I did all the pull-ups unassisted, though I didn’t quite start from hanging, which is harder. I started from standing on the ground and lifting myself up without jumping. I started with the wide grip because those are harder for me, and I don’t have neutral grip, so I did a narrow grip. Used my 10lb medicine ball for the sit-ups because I love my new medicine ball, and it’s the same weight as the dumbbell. :)

    22:38 for the whole thing! Finished with 15 min moderate cardio. I’ve been working my way through your workouts and I have only 2 upper body workouts of yours I haven’t done! AGGGHH!! I’ll start doubling back, or maybe I’ll modify some full body workouts.

    • http://www.lovingfit.com/ Lvette_1

      I’m always happy to see your workout post. I hope one day I can work out with you, tee and Gerri in person.

      • Gerri Lee Schafer

        that would be cool…we are all in the west though…you are heading the wrong direction there girl

      • http://www.facebook.com/kendra.oberhauser Kendra Lee Oberhauser

        I love seeing yours as well! That would be so much fun to meet you and others. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/sandra.arroyo.16 Sandra Arroyo

    Still working my way through these workouts! I did this one yesterday and the hardest for me was the seven roll. I am so happy to say I can FINALLY do pullups :) YAY! It definitely took me a while, but it’s so worth it. Great workout as usual Tatianna! Thank you :)

    • http://www.lovingfit.com Tatianna

      I’m glad you like the workout :) Congrats on Pull-Ups!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1204936749 Carmen Parara

    What I liked about this routine was there was only “1 round” I am still working my upper body but at times my strength seems to be not there. I enjoyed performing every single exercise, in proper form of course, but it took my mind some practice to get used to The Seven Roll. My time was 23:21.47

  • http://www.lovingfit.com/ Lvette_1

    This was hard for me, every exercise that I’ve difficulties with are in this routine.
    Warm up: Basic warm up routine from this site.
    It took me 32:45 to finished this work out. # 4 & #6 took a lot out of me, #3 done assisted on my door.
    Cardio: 15 minutes of stairs…ran up and walked down = 1 reps. I completed 40 reps.
    Cool down and stretched for 10 minutes.

  • Mary Lou

    38:39 very hard minutes, with a couple of phone interruptions. Chin ups with a *slight* push off and push ups from knees on that combo, with the dive bombers coming up last, I didn’t want to be totally wiped out. I found the shoulder presses and dive bombers easier on the dumbbells, than with hands flat on the floor, hmm. Followed with Real Time Cardio #5. I am wiped now!

  • Mary Lou

    Re-hash! Took 2:47 off my time and managed 6 unassisted chin ups!!!!! Sometimes you do have to take couple of steps backward before you can go forward. I have been struggling with the chin ups for a while and while your pullup program helped, I still couldn’t do one at the end. So I went backwards again, to the push ups (all the way down to the floor on my knees-practically push offs), and it has paid off! I have done 5-10 unassisted chin ups on my last 4 upper body days so I think it’s safe to say I can do them. Whoo! Now I just have to figure out how to string them all together without stopping… Thanks Tatianna, you’re a genius!

  • http://aphrodiitee.deviantart.com/ Isidora

    Goooood workout!! i changed the ab exercises cuz i wanted to work more my armssss
    so on exercises 2 and 5 i did the same combo which was:

    50 high knees with jump rope + 20 wall runs.= 5 sets.

    and in the pull ups after 10 reps i switched the grip to one arm facing me and the other one facing the bar, 5 each side.

    total time: 31:05 min.


  • Cassidy

    My time was 30:54~! :) Haha, it was the shoulder press/divebombers that killed me more than the pull-ups, surprisingly.

  • Cassidy

    24:17. The last exercise is *still* the most difficult. 😛

  • DenizA

    I did this workout 2 weeks ago and I really really LOVE your combos!! I feel like I am dancing like when I was dancing ballett :)

    Warm up 13min, with 2 min Planks (elevated)

    Timed every combo:
    1: 4,10
    2: 5,30
    3: 7,29
    4: 4,30
    5: 4,10
    6: 7, 09
    I also did 20 Crown Back lifts. I have little Skoliosis so I focus on training my back, especially my rhomboids, because that’s where my back is asymmetric.
    Thank your for this nice workout :)