Nerd-Core Fitness 101 – Beginner Workout (Upper Body)

Alright loyal readers, you have had a week to start getting those legs conditioned with the first beginner workout I laid out for you. So time to introduce a new routine into the mix!

Remember, these workouts are the foundation from which all other workouts evolve. If you give Nerd-Core Fitness 101 a month or two and get these beginner workouts on farm status, I promise that not only will you be healthier and in better shape but you will be ready to tackle more intense and challenging workouts. As you go through this process just keep reminding yourself that we don’t have the luxury of being from a galaxy with a red Sun. We have to build our bodies from scratch without relying on Kryptonian genes.

Just as all your favorite characters can leap around without breaking a sweat, they also have spectacular muscle definition. As you head down your “Heroes Transformation” path we are going to sculpt your upper body as well. Have faith true believers, change is imminent!

Beginner Workout

Remember kids, you don’t get this in-shape playing Wii. You also don’t make many friends at the gym working out in your tightey whiteys.

So where are we starting this week? We already laid the foundation for this 101 level beginner workout; no need for a gym, fancy routines or even equipment. All we need is a very small open space, a little bit of time and gravity. Remember, your own body weight (if used properly of course) is a spectacular tool for getting in shape. Will it build Colossus style muscles? No, but not only does it tone and define your physique it also lays the foundation necessary to perform future heroic level workouts.

Please remember, we are going to slowly here. I don’t expect anyone to be able to bang these workouts out on the first day in their entirety! No matter how out of shape you are, you will be able to complete these beginner workouts and you will start to get in better shape, but it is going to take time. Be patient with yourself, remember the mantra “Form before speed” and everything will be okay. Trust in the Jerd.

The goal, as a beginner, is to develop proper form so that all the correct muscles are being utilized. That way you can work your way up to a comfort level with the routine so that it can be done at a good pace, increasing your cardio as well as your muscle strength. This upper body workout will continue developing the foundation of our “Heroes Transformation” journey, all of our upper body workouts from this point forward and the muscle groups necessary for looking imposing in your spandex crime fighting costume!

I hate to have to say this, but make sure you are cleared by your personal physician for physical activity before undertaking these, or any, exercises. With that said let’s get to it!

Step One: Warm up!

Please, I beg you, do not skip this important step! Take 5 minutes and get your muscles warm and your heart rate elevated. Do a few jumping jacks, run in place, jog up and down a flight of stairs a few times or whatever (as a martial artist, I do some footwork drills and shadowboxing personally) but no matter what please do not workout cold! After you are warmed up move on to the workout itself.

If you need a more formal routine, or more convincing that this is a vital aspect of your routine then check out this article – How To: Warm Up Properly!

Step Two: The Perfectly Simple Pushup!

You might be looking at the screen in front of you right now saying “I know how to do a pushup, gimme something more challenging!” and you very well might know how to do a picture perfect pushup, but remember this is a beginner workout! Not to mention, most people do pushups pretty poorly anyway so we are going to break down the right way to do them to help you achieve your goals! There is a reason that every single training montage (cue “Team America: World Police” soundtrack) is full of pushup goodness, and that is because it is the perfect exercise – no matter how in or out of shape you are!

Remember, the goal is proper form for the beginner’s workout before speed or intensity. If you are a new-comer to personal fitness you might feel as though you cannot do a full set of repetitions (Or “reps” in gym parlance… Lingo!) of a certain exercise, and that is okay! Do as many as you can with proper form and then next time you try this beginner workout, you do a few more until you are completing the workout in its entirety.

This is especially crucial for pushups. This exercise is beautiful in its simplicity and the fact that progress is so easily quantifiable; as you are able to do more pushups then you are getting stronger, gratz! To be able to measure this success though, each push up needs to be done perfectly. That way your total reps measured from workout to workout are comparable. If you cranked out twenty perfect push ups last week and then this week you did forty crappy pushups, by letting your stomach sag or bending your back, it will be impossible to tell if you got any stronger.

That being said, let’s get started!

Pushups (15 reps)

Beginner workout

In-case you need a video reference

Once you have finished 20 pushups you have completed one set! Congratulations!

Repeat as you see fit with no more than a 30 second to 1 minute rest in-between. My goal for you, before you move further down the Heroes Transformation road, is to do 3 sets of this workout with proper form and speed (which is much harder than you might think). Once you have the form down, and your chest and arms start getting conditioned, this beginner workout should take no longer than 4-5 minutes including your rest breaks between sets.

NOTE – If you find it too difficult to do 5 correct pushups, I recommend doing them from your knees (oft times referred to as “Girl Pushups”) until you get those pecs and triceps in line. Instead of making that straight line from your head to your heels, make it from your head to your knees and simply cross your feet in the air. Do these, checking back in with regular pushups occasionally, until you can manage 5 regular ones. Then just work on improving how many you can do week by week!

Step Three: Stretch!

After your workout your muscles have been slightly traumatized from contracting, and they need to be stretched back out to allow for proper healing and use (Shocking, I know; not just your legs should be stretched!) I will cover my special stretching methodology in another post, for now just make sure to open up your chest by performing an exaggerated yawning motion with your arms over your head for a minute or so after the beginner workout.

Step Four: Rest!

The first few weeks of your Heroes Transformation you are going to experience some soreness the day or two after you workout. That is normal and to be expected. Give yourself at least a day in-between workouts that target the same muscle groups to recover. I will go into how to schedule your workout in more depth for you in the future, but for right now it is good to alternate upper and lower body workouts so that your muscles can properly heal. That is the perfect time to beat the final boss in your game du jour or to update your character sheets to the latest version of the rule set your group is playing with. However you spend this time, you have earned the simple pleasure of getting your nerd on, so enjoy it!

You are 2/3rds of the way through phase one of your own personal “Heroes Transformation“, I hope you are as excited for yourself as I am for you!

You now have two killer workouts in your toolbox that should keep you occupied for a couple of months. Let’s stay with it, try to clean up our diets and start enjoying the changes you are going to see! Make sure to check back in next week for your final beginner workout in this series!

Please keep me abreast of your progress and hit me up with any questions you might have! Make sure to sign up for our newsletter and get your FREE e-book! Also subscribe to the YouTube channel (if you want access to our Nerd-Core Fitness exercise videos), follow me on Twitter, and like us on Facebook and Google+ (there is content on both not available here on the site.) There are so many different ways for you to get your daily dose of Jerdly goodness so don’t miss out!




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  1. […] starting out? Then be sure to give the Nerd-Core Fitness 101 beginner workouts (Upper Body, Lower Body, Total Body & Ab Workout) a shot […]

  2. […] you just starting out? Then give the Nerd-Core Fitness 101 beginner workouts (Upper Body, Lower Body, Total Body & Ab Workout) a shot […]

  3. […] you have had success with the Nerd-Core Fitness 101 beginner workouts (Upper Body, Lower Body, Total Body & Ab Workout) and are banging them out pretty quickly! After 3-4 […]

  4. […] even if they don’t you can bang out a body weight circuit (Try these simple workouts… Upper Body, Lower Body, Total Body if you are just starting out) in your hotel room pretty quickly. Taking […]

  5. […] do a proper pushup (or the “perfect pushup” if you will), which is only exercise in the beginner upper body workout. There is a reason why in every 80s style training montage (be it Batman, American Ninja or Rocky) […]

  6. […] my loyal followers! Hopefully you have been experiencing success with the previous Upper-Body and Lower-Body workouts and are now into a routine of setting aside 15-20 minutes three times a […]

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