3 Exercises to Strengthen Your Arms, Shoulders & Core (Drill Pack 2)

Back in the earlier days of this blog, I was totally in love with pole fitness. It was an activity I enjoyed probably because it was a form of dance but it also worked to strengthen your arms, shoulders, core… everything really! I can even remember having D.O.M.S (delayed onset muscle soreness) in my fingers from my first sessions.

Fast forward to my teaching days and I don’t think I ever teach a class where the women don’t tell me that they “can’t” when it comes to upper body exercises. Wanna know what my response is when I give out press ups and someone says they can’t?!

“How do you think you will be able to get stronger so you can do press ups?!”

Incase you haven’t figured out the answer by yourself; the best way to get better at press ups is to do more press ups! And the same goes overall for exercises to strengthen your arms, shoulders and core.

RELATED POST: Core Exercises To Add To Your Workout

Here are 3 of my favourite multi tasking drills to strengthen your arms and shoulders:


Grab yourself two dumbbells or weight plates, one in each hand.

Come to standing with feet hip to shoulder width apart with arms by your side (or feel free to use a split stance if you know what that is and prefer it).

Raise both arms out to your side (lateral raise) to the height of your shoulders. Keeping the slightest of bends in your elbows, lower to return to start position.

Raise both arms up in front of you (frontal raise), keeping them inline with your shoulder until you reach shoulder height. Slowly return to your start position.

Alternate between frontal and lateral raises.

Beginner – 30 seconds

Intermediate / Advanced – 45 – 60 seconds

Make it easier… by raising one arm at a time.

Make it harder… by doing the exercise on a single leg. Try 30 – 45 seconds on each leg. This will also engage and work your core even more. You can also increase the weights you use as long as you’re sure your technique is on point.


Come down to the ground and into a high plank position with your hands under your shoulders. You have the option to drop your knees here for a modified tricep push up.

Whether on your toes or knees, ensure you bring your hips forward to shift the weight over your shoulders.

Lower your upper body towards the ground, leading with your chest.

Bend your elbows, keeping them tucked into your sides to ensure the focus is on your triceps.

As you bend your elbows sending them back towards your ankles, keep your butt down and abs tight.

Push up, and repeat.

Beginner – Aim for as many reps as possible in 45 seconds. Let’s try to improve this number week by week.

Intermediate / Advanced – Aim for as many reps as possible in 45 seconds.

Make it easier… by doing the modified version.

Make it harder… by doing the exercise on your toes.


Starting in plank position, hands directly under shoulders, feet shoulder width apart.

Keeping your hips still, raise your right arm in front of you till your upper arm is next to your ear.

Return your right arm to the start position and repeat the movement with your left arm.

Keep alternating arms for the specified period of time.

Beginner – 30 seconds

Intermediate / Advanced – 45 – 60 seconds

Make it easier… by having your feet wider apart. Or even easier by dropping your knees as per the modified tricep press exercise above.

Make it harder… by adding weight. Line up dumbbells with your shoulders. Either use them to balance on or pick each one up as you go to raise your arm.

Strengthen Your Arms, Shoulders & Core With This Workout

Here’s a simple way to turn these 3 exercises into a quick and simple workout:

  • Put 4 minutes on the clock
  • complete as many rounds as possible of the following:
  • 10x alternating lateral & frontal raises, 10x tricep push ups, 10x alternating plank front raises
  • If you wanna go again, take 1 minute recovery and repeat

CHECK OUT: my ‘Like A Fit Pro’ Pinterest Board for more workout inspiration

On a side note, I still own a pole which can be put up just about anywhere (with a ceiling and a floor) so one day I might have to get back to that! In the meantime though, I’m gonna stick with focusing on upper body as much as lower. You too?!


P.S Safety always comes first. If you are new to exercise ensure you seek advice from your GP. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids, wear appropriate clothing and carry out drills in a suitable space. Technique is paramount, and nothing should hurt. Should you experience pain, discomfort, nausea, dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath etc, STOP and consult your GP. 



  1. June 4, 2019 / 11:42

    Is the second exercise like eccentric only push-ups? It seems to be very similar to that. I do it weekly as part of my strength training programme and over time I’ve definitely seen improvement in my strength. It’s funny how I used to be one of those women who just couldn’t do push-ups (well only on my knees). It was sooo hard but interestingly I am now able to do more push-ups than ever (at least 10 full push-ups in one go) and that’s not because I do push-ups every day. It’s because I do weight training and this helped me get stronger and as a result I find push-ups now much easier.

    • Elle
      June 21, 2019 / 21:58

      It’s just a tricep press so narrower arms which works slightly different muscles to a regular press up. And yup, of course, if you train the right muscles you will get stronger in press ups but doing the exercise you’re trying to improve on is the easiest way IMO 🙂

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