Goal: Total Body intermediate
Equipment TimerDumbbell
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Upper Body 1 is a full 20-minute dumbbell interval style workout designed to build muscle and shred fat.  The goal here is to perform as many reps as you can for 30 seconds per exercise.  Do your best to keep up with me in REAL TIME and push yourself to the limit!  If you have multiple pairs of dumbbells, keep them handy so you can make the workout even more intense!  Try to keep track of your reps on every exercise so you can keep trying to beat your own score every time you do this workout!

This routine is designed to give anyone a great workout at HOME or at the GYM.

This Routine Requires: 

  1. Timer
  2. Dumbbells

List of Exercises:

  • 30 seconds AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible) per exercise
  • Rest 30 seconds between exercises and rounds

Rounds 1 & 3: 

  1. Alternating In & Out Push-Up
  2. Renegade Row
  3. Laying T-Extension
  4. Overhead Tricep Extension
  5. Alternating Shoulder Press

Rounds 2 & 4:

  1. Alternating Curl
  2. Laying Fly
  3. Bent-Over Row (Palms-Up)
  4. Lateral Raise
  5. Upright Row

IMPORTANT: Remember that your MEAL PLAN will determine 100% of your results! Be sure to check out the 8 minute demo for the MS Meal Plan.


Hi Scott, greetings from England! 

I've just signed up to your website and am loving it so far - really easy to navigate and I really like your whole approach! I'm a skinny/lean guy, about 5' 9 1/2" and around 150 pounds, looking to gain around a stone in weight over the next few months. I've done all my macro calculations on your meal planner and think I need to be eating around 3000 calories (if my numbers are right!) I also play 6-a-side football (soccer 😉) once or twice per week.           

I can't get to the gym at the moment but can get some dumbbells for home, so would you recommend going for your 12 week home program to achieve the gains I'm looking for?

Cheers, Dave 😊 


Ok this was day 1 for me. Only with the Laying-T-extension was uncomfortable, had to do them without weights.

Did this first day with 3kg (6.6 pounds) weight in all exercices but for next time ill see i have a second pair little heavier for some of the exercices. 

Scott_Herman Edit Delete Close

@lex7019 Great work! Just work to your own strength, even if you do have to do some movements with bodyweight only to begin with. I like that you are ready to make it more intense with heavier weights for some movements already!

Lex7019 Edit Delete Close

@scott_herman Absolutely. Had my 2nd lower body yesterday evening, maybe because i do the flexibility 2 times a day now the T-extension exercise went more easily without discomfort with light weight-disc.

Scott_Herman Edit Delete Close

@lex7019 Nice! It will be a movement your body adjusts to as well. Keep up the great work!

Edit Delete Close

Hey Scott just started this routine, trying to drop from 20 to 15% body fat. But I’m a little worried. Every time I do these work outs I feel demolished but cause it’s only 20 mins I’m worried I’m not doing enough. Do you think I should add any other work outs on top of it or no?

Scott_Herman Edit Delete Close

@0 If you feel demolished and you are pushing yourself, there's no need to worry my friend. You can do other workouts though, for sure! If you have access to a gym, you can actually use the PPL program while trying to lose fat!

gregfar Edit Delete Close

@scott_herman thanks Scott I’ll check out the ppl program 


I just got back in the gym this year, and already lost a good bit (40 lbs in 3 months) but the last 10 are sticky so I wanted to switch it up. I liked this routine at 20 mins as a great supplement to my workout. I had a couple of questions. One, I use this in conjunction with some other lifting (basically I do half my normal weight training routine and this which puts me right about the 1 hour was at the gym already). Do you think this is more effective (particularly as a fat burner) to start my workout or to end my work out? Also, I was using the 10 lbs, but after I got the hang of the routine I found it pretty easy to maintain a very quick pace. Should I go up in weight (15 lbs), change the duration like 45 or 60 secs per, or would it make more sense to jump straight into month 2?


Scott_Herman Edit Delete Close

@djtanner congrats on the weight loss man!! These are great calorie burning routines.

`1. I would use this at the END of your workout, so that you can still focus most of your energy on your weight lifting routine first. You still want to be hitting that as hard as possible so that you can maintain as much muscle as possible while cutting fat.

2. You can increase the weight or duration to make it harder, definitely. Because you're only using these as supplementary routines you could jump straight to MONTH 2.. if you think you can handle it 😉 


Do I do upper body, lower body, and and in the same day or do I alternate 

Scott_Herman Edit Delete Close

@luccien you didn't/couldn't download the calendar my man? It's on the right hand side of this page or the main program page 😊 You alternate. Let me know if you are having trouble downloading it!

luccien Edit Delete Close

Yea I downloaded the calendar but I got an error saying "the file format and extension of SHRED_CHALLENGE_HOME_EDITION_CALENDAR don't match. So I could not see it.

Scott_Herman Edit Delete Close

@luccien weird.. so you don't have Excel or anything like it? Once you get the document open it has tabs in the bottom left hand corner with each month.. make sure you try going to the main page and grabbing the calendar from there. https://muscularstrength.com/12-Week-Home-Program But if you can't see it, then MONTH 1 is like this.. Start on Monday with UPPER BODY 1, Tuesday LOWER BODY 1, Wednesday ABS 1, Thursday UPPER BODY 1, Friday LOWER BODY 1, Saturday ABS 1, Sunday REST, repeat.


Question, when starting out, I feel that (1) I do not have the strength to do some of the exercises, especially given my current weight, and (2) neither do I have the proper endurance. Any tips, especially not yo lose motivation?

Lmauricedraine Edit Delete Close

Hey Alex, if you are just starting off, do the workouts, but modify each action, without  compromising technique, as to not get injured. Even if you are only able to do just some of the routines, as long as you’re staying on schedule and doing it per the workout plan, that is still better than doing nothing… Good luck buddy 

alexaj Edit Delete Close

Thanks, @lmauriccedraine. With upper body 1, the only exercise I can't do all the way is pushups. They've always killed me, same as pull-ups and dips. I try to do a couple hinged on my feet, but I have to switch to knees very soon. The T-extension is tough, but I managed the first round. Had to drop the dumbbells halfway through :P

I had knee surgery for a torn meniscus, so I have to be careful with all the squats and lounges, so I have to take it slower for Lower Body 1. But I really hope this will help stabilize my joint. The abs workout is a killer. I need to lose around 25-30 Kg first, but I find that I build muscle easily, and it ends up pushing the fat out in a weird way. I have dropped two sizes in the last month by following my meal plan and avoiding cheat meals as much as possible, and by doing weight training.

My biggest problem though is not strength, it is mostly endurance.

This brings me to another question @scott_herman, I just started doing the Fat Loss 12 weeks challenge, but for the two weeks prior I was doing an intense heavy weights and low reps regime that I found quite invigorating. But my main goal is fat loss first. Should I keep up with this, and maybe do the whole thing twice in a row? (I found it tough, but after 20 minutes I felt that I could keep going, and didn't feel as pumped), or go back to weight training?

Also, for some exercises, I notice quite an imbalance. My gym doesn't have a calf raise machine (neither standing nor sitting), so I have opted to do calf raises with dumbbells. I can easily hold 40 Kg in each hand and hit 12-15 reps. But that is the limit I can hold in my hands, otherwise, I feel like my shoulders are going to pop out, or that I may injure my back lifting, carrying the dumbbells. Any tips for this?

Scott_Herman Edit Delete Close

@alexaj definitely do some variations where you need to. If push-ups are the only exercise you can't do for this routine, just do them on your knees for now and work up to being able to do full push-ups. And if you need to do some exercises without dumbbells (just bodyweight), that's OK to. Work at your own pace and work to your own strengths. You will get stronger as you move through the program 😊 

If you prefer a weight training/muscle building kind of workout, but still want to lose fat, then the PPL would probably be best for you. There's circuits already in there to help you drop some fat, but given how much you are looking to lose, you would probably benefit from doing 1-2 extra days of cardio as well (and having your @mealplan under control too). That would give you the best of both worlds, being able to do more heavy weight training while focusing on fat loss.

If you're not already, do you calf raises slowly - something like a 2 second pause at the top, then a 2 second eccentric. That will make the exercise harder without having to increase the weight. You could also use the seated calf raise with dumbbells as a finisher after another calf movement, so that your calves are pre-fatigued and you therefore won't be able to handle as much weight anyway.


Hye. I just came al the way here from your YouTube channel 


I’ve now been doing this workout every other day for a month-and-a-half, gradually increasing the weight as I get stronger. I’m seeing a definite increase in the size of my shoulders and one of my workmates described my arms as ‘massive compared to six months ago’. Absolutely loving it, but those laying-T extensions and lateral raises are total murder!

Scott_Herman Edit Delete Close

@lokryn that's what I like to hear! You must be about ready to start hitting UPPER BODY 2 by now and start taking those gains to the next level!!

Lokryn Edit Delete Close

Hey Scott, thanks for replying, I appreciate it! Is Upper Body 2 also dumbbell-only or does it require more equipment? I’m intending to join a proper gym later this year, but for now I’m working out at home and don’t have a lot of room for additional gear. I’m also in the process of getting divorced and will be getting my own place in the next few months, so space will eventually be less of a problem than it is currently.

Scott_Herman Edit Delete Close

@lokryn yes, all of the workouts that are in the home program are dumbbell/bodyweight workouts 😊 As long as you have at least one pair of dumbbells (5lbs or 10lbs work well), that's all you need for the ENTIRE program, so this will work well for you until you end up joining a gym. Sorry to hear about your divorce man.


Hi Scott, I’m just starting your fat shred 12 week program and have a couple questions. First, I’m a 59 year old retired professional firefighter. I’ve workout most of my life and am usually in the gym 5-6 days a week. I do cardio everyday and then train individual body parts each day, so this is a big change for me but definitely needed. I’ve had various surgeries over the  last 10 years and have some flexibility issues due to fusions and arthritis. Now my questions, I can’t go as far with range of motion as you do in certain exercises, lunges, alternating toe touches Russian twist, things like that. Is it ok to just go as far as you can or is that defeating the purpose. Second question, cardio workout, I don’t seem to find any workouts on the site for what I should be doing cardio wise, any thoughts there? Thanks for the help great programs so far and I can’t wait to really get into it. I really like your methods.

Scott_Herman Edit Delete Close

hey @sparky35!  great questions! If you cant do full ROM that is ok.  Just go as best as you can and over time your flexibility will improve!  and you have a few options here.  You can run these circuits TWICE in a row with a 5 minute break between and if you would like to add cardio, 15 - 25 minutes of HIIT should be enough AFTER training!


Hi Scott.  I've been running for a few years and in January started back in the gym for the first time in about a decade.  I'm 5'10", 210, 38yo.  I want to lose weight, especially around my stomach, but also want to work on building and toning muscles. Should I start with this routine or PPL?  Also, any update on when IOS app will be available?  Thanks.

Fenistoteles Edit Delete Close

@mkernan11 Hi,

If you want to lose fat around your stomach, you have to lose fat in overall terms. You can't lose fat on the desired spot.
Fat Loss Program is great for losing fat. You will also get used to exercises, movements and you can perform it at home.
PPL program is also great but you must use the gym to fully implement the workout.

About losing weight and gaining muscles - Set yourself a goal. What do you want first? Bulk (gain little more fat and muscles) or lose weight (mostly fat)?
No matter what program you choose it all comes down to a diet.
For bulking, eat around 250-500 calories over your TDEE (You can calculate that in Meal Planner Section)
For losing weight, have a deficit around 250-500 kcal.

If you have any questions, ask here or create forum thread :)
Get those gainz!

Scott_Herman Edit Delete Close

@mkernan11 if you are just starting to do any kind of training again after a decade without it, you can probably afford to be in a slight surplus while losing a bit of fat initially - you may rekindle some newbie gains for a little while, meaning you can drop some fat while adding muscle. Of course, it does depend on your body fat %.. if it's super high then you need to cut first, but if it's only around 20% or just below then bulking would be the way to go. Looking at your photo, you could probably start with a bit of a cut because you're not skinny fat, which is a good thing.

This would be a good routine for pure fat loss, but to get a head start on muscle building, you might want to start with the PPL program because the circuits in there (and some extra cardio you can throw in) will help keep you lean as long as your @mealplan is on point. @fenistoteles gave you some good pointers for your diet already, and is right that you can't spot reduce fat.

And the app is about 99% done, just a few final touches to add so it shouldn't be far away!