Welcome to the Buffer Zone! For those of you who have been asking for an arm/back workout that you can do with NO equipment, this is IT!
All you need for this circuit is your bodyweight, a towel (or band), and a chair! No dumbbells required. :)
I really LOVE this workout. Have fun with the moves, and try your best to move quickly through the circuit while keeping good form. Feel free to switch to easier modifications if it gets too challenging as the workout goes on.
Read the breakdown below for tips on how to do each exercise or make them easier or harder for your level. At all times proper form is more important than speed.
PUSH yourself! You got this. :)
Two Way To Do This Workout
- As a 16 minute AMRAP. Complete as many rounds as possible in 16 minutes, breaking when needed.
- 3 rounds for time. Complete 3 rounds, as quick as you can, in your best possible time.
Advanced: use modifications suited to your level, and feel free to modify the reps to suit your level (25, 15 etc).
Buffer Zone! Arms & Back Circuit
A. Warm up for 5-10 minutes. Mountain climbers, arm circles, jacks, jog in place etc.
B. Complete 3 rounds of the following circuit, or as many rounds as you can in 16 minutes.
- 20 Chair Squat Towel Pulldowns
- 10 T-Pushups
- 20 Wrist Kiss Side Lunges (10/side)
- 10 Tricep Dip ‘N’ Kick
- 20 Floor Pullups
- 5 x (4 Swivels, 2 Pike Presses)
Modified Workout: Lower Reps (Beginners)
Aim for more rounds of slightly less reps for a modified workout. Aim for 4-6 rounds or as many as you can in 16 minutes.
- 10 Chair Squat Towel Pulldowns
- 6 T-Pushups
- 10 Wrist Kiss Side Lunges (5/side)
- 6 Tricep Dip & Kick
- 10 Floor Pullups
- 3 x (4 swivels, 2 Pike Presses)
EXERCISE BREAKDOWNS & MODIFICATIONS
Chair Squat Band Pulldowns
This move can be done with a towel if you don’t have a band handy. This is about quality, not speed, so focus on contracting through your upper back throughout.
A. Stand with feet together, and push your hips back and down into a chair pose squat. Keep your chest open.
B. Grip a towel or band with your hands, just a little wider than shoulder width apart. Keep tension in it at all times. Extend your arms overhead, keeping your arms straight, but without locking the elbow.
C. Pull down, keeping tension in the towel/band, and drawing elbows down and just a little past your back. Squeeze your shoulder blades as you pull down, and imagine pulling a bar up and down in one straight line.
Tips: Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the bottom of the pull, and keep tension in the towel/band the entire time. Tighten your core, and keep weight in the heels of your feet in the chair squat. Go lower if you can.
This move can be done from the knees as well: perform one modified pushup, then leave one knee on the ground as you straighten the top leg and turn your torso into a modified side plank.
A. Come to the top of a tricep pushup. Eyes forward, and hands directly under your shoulders. Elbows hug the body as you lower down and press up.
B. Stack your feet with your top leg in front of your bottom leg (like scissors). Press into the blades of your feet (the sides) and push your hips up towards the ceiling. Reach one hand up to the ceiling (forming a letter ‘T’).
C. Return to plank, and repeat the pushup. Alternate sides for the side plank.
Tips: Keep your core tight throughout, and if you need to, modify the pushup and then come into a full side plank for each rep.
Wrist Kiss Side Lunges
To modify this move, simply reduce the range of motion.
A. Stand tall, and straighten your arms directly out in front of you (about shoulder height). Bring your wrists together so that the top of your wrists are touching and palms face away from each other. You should feel this in the tops of your arms.
B. Step out into a side lunge and sweep your arms behind you. Squeeze your upper back as you draw your arms behind you, kind of like wings. Push your hands out to the back of you, and keep your arms tight throughout.
C. Push through your heel as you come back up to standing, drawing your wrists together and squeezing the top of your arms. Repeat on the same side.
Tips: squeeze your back and arms as you lunge and stand, and keep your eyes forward. Focus on the contraction and not speed.
Advanced: try to balance on one leg as you stand up from the lunge.
Tricep Dip ‘N’ Kick
Modify this move by bending your knees during the dip, and drawing a knee towards your chest as you press up (you can also take out the kick all together).
A. Sit on the edge of your elevated surface, with your hands on either side of your torso, shoulder width apart. Scoot your tush off the surface, but keep it close to the edge. Keep your torso straight and upright, lowering it up and down like an elevator.
B. Keeping a slight bend in your elbows (don’t lock them), lower your body down in a straight line, until your arms are parallel to the floor. You should feel tension in the tricep throughout the move.
C. Push through your hands and bring yourself back up to the starting position, kicking one leg up and out in front of you. Keep your butt close to the chair and use your core to lift.
D. Repeat the dip, and alternate sides with the kicks.
Keep your chest up, shoulders back (don’t hunch), core tight and don’t let your legs do the work. :)
Floor Pullups (with band or towel)
I like to use a resistance band, but a towel also works (as does a weighted bar or broom handle). Beginners can start with just body weight if needed: just be extra aware of squeezing/targetting your lats and upper back.
A. Start by lying on your belly, hands and feet extended. Grip your towel (or band) between your hands, shoulder width apart, keeping the tension in it (no sagging). Lift arms 1-2 inches off floor, in line with shoulders.
B. Lifting your chest off the ground and pull the band/towel towards your chest. Keep elbows off the ground and pull them past your back. Squeeze through your lats as you pull. If using a band, give it a slight tug to turn up the resistance.
C. Lower your chest as you return arms to starting position.
Tip: Keep tension in the band/towel throughout the move, and focus on form & control: NOT speed. Squeeze through the upper back as you pull and imagine you’re bringing yourself up to a bar. :)
Swivels & Pike Press
This is a two part move: 4 swivels and two pike presses. Repeat this combo 5 times.
A. Come to plank position with wide hands. Shoulders over your hands and eyes forward. Keeping your butt down, draw one knee across the body and towards your opposite elbow. Replace your knee and switch sides, doing 4 total.
B. Hop or step your feet in a few feet, piking your butt up into the air (like a downward dog). Position your head directly between your arms. Bend your elbows and lower down to the floor. Press back up and repeat twice.
C. Step or hop your feet back to plank, and repeat with the swivels. 4 swivels, 2 pike presses.
Tip: keep your knees bent during the pike press to make it easier.
Advanced: try the swivels and the pike presses with feet elevated. Walk your hands in for the pike press.
KILL this workout and send me your times! G’luck!
My time: 3 rounds in 17:08 min.