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Strength Training at Home: A 20-Minute Abs & Arms Workout for Women with Sharika Nelvis

Join athlete Sharika Nelvis as she takes you through a 20-minute abs and arms workout that you can do at home with just one set of light-medium dumbbells.

Whether you’re new to strength training or you’re simply looking to incorporate it into your workout, we’re here to answer your questions and help you approach it with confidence.

What is strength training?

Otherwise known as resistance or weight training, strength training is designed to increase your strength and endurance while helping you to burn calories, get stronger bones and replace body fat with lean muscle mass. In the long run, it will increase your quality of life and boost your health. Looking amazing is just a handy bonus of a strength training routine.

Strength training for women

Whether you are male or female, strength and resistance training are important parts of your fitness routine. Lifting weights won’t immediately bulk you up. It will, however, increase your lean muscle mass and make you stronger; and let’s face it, being stronger is always a good thing. So stride into that gym (or your living room, even), and approach those weights without fear. They are the key to the leaner, fitter, healthier body you’re after.

Your 20-Minute Abs & Arms Strength Workout

All you need to get started with your abs and arms workout at home is a pair of light to medium dumbbells that you can lift above your head without overexerting. Choose what feels right and comfortable for you and your body. For just 20 minutes, Sharika Nelvis will take you through a strength training workout to help you build strong, lean muscles. Get ready to work your abs and arms for two quick circuits that’ll fire up your upper body and increase your fitness.

Duration: 20 minutes (including warm-up and cool down periods)
What you’ll need: A light-medium set of dumbbells (or a couple of filled-up water bottles if you don’t have dumbbells)

Warm up

1. Glute bridge with leg lock

  • Lie down on the mat with your knees bent and your heels planted on the ground
  • Grab one knee with both hands and pull it towards your chest
  • Push your other heel into the floor to lift your body up towards the ceiling

"Squeeze the glute of your leg on the ground to lift your hips towards the sky." - Sharika

Repeat for 15 seconds on each leg. Rest for 10 seconds.


2. Plank with hip flexor

  • Start in a high plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart on the mat to support your body weight
  • Draw alternating knees towards your chest and then return them to your starting position

"As you alternate legs, try to keep everything else stable - like you have a glass of water on your back." - Sharika

Repeat for 30 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds.


3. Handwalk

  • Stand at the end of your mat and bend down to put your hands on the ground
  • Begin to walk your hands out to the front of your mat until you’re in a push up position
  • Walk your feet forwards to meet your hands
  • Walk your feet back to the end of the mat, followed by your hands until you’re standing back in your starting position

Repeat for 30 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds.


4. Reverse lunge with lateral flexion

  • Stand at the front of your mat with your arms by your sides
  • Step back with one foot into a lunge and find your balance
  • Reach the hand of the back leg overhead and bend your torso towards your other hand

Repeat for 30 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds.


5. High knees

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart
  • Lift your knees up towards your chest, one after the other, at a fast pace

"For this movement, keep yourself tall and maintain good posture. Stay on the balls of your feet." - Sharika

Repeat for 20 seconds and rest for 30 seconds



For circuit 1, get ready for 3 sets of 4 challenging exercises. Grab those dumbbells!

1. Push press high split

  • Stand with your legs split and your knees slightly bent
  • Bring the dumbbells to the front of your shoulders with your elbows pointed downwards
  • Explode up, pushing the weight overhead by extending your hips

Repeat for 15 seconds on one leg, then switch to the other for another 15 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds.


2. Bent over row one leg

  • Stand on one leg and bend forward at the waist
  • Pull both dumbbells towards your ribcage
  • Lower one dumbbell down while you hold the other in place
  • Alternate arms

"As you pull the dumbbell back up, try to keep your back straight." - Sharika

Repeat for 15 seconds on one leg, and then switch to the other for 15 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds.


3. Push ups with narrow hands

  • Get into a push up position but with your hands on the floor directly under your shoulders
  • Keeping your torso stable and your hips level, bend your elbows to lower your body towards the ground without touching it, and then push back up.

"If it’s getting a bit difficult to get quality reps in this position, lower your knees to the ground with your feet facing towards the ceiling." - Sharika

Repeat for 30 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds.


4. Turkish get up

  • Grab the dumbbell with your right hand and lie back with your right knee bent and right foot flat on the ground
  • Push the dumbbell upwards towards the ceiling and, keeping your arm extended, crunch your entire body up with your left hand on the ground to support your body weight
  • Lower yourself back down to your starting position

"Remember to keep your extended leg straight throughout this movement." - Sharika

Repeat for 30 seconds on each side.


Rest for 30 seconds and repeat the circuit twice more, with a 30 second break in between.


For circuit 2, get ready for 2 sets of 3 exercises.

1. Plank with 1 arm row

  • Start in a push up position with a dumbbell in each hand. Your hands should be directly beneath your shoulders and your feet should be more than shoulder width apart
  • Pull one dumbbell towards your ribcage, keeping your hips and torso parallel to the ground
  • Bring the dumbbell back to the ground and repeat on the other side

"Take it slow and steady on this one. Engage your core, stay focused and keep your form all the way through." - Sharika

Repeat for 30 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds.


2. Curl to press with triceps extension

  • Stand up straight with a dumbbell in each hand
  • Curl the weights up to your shoulders with your palms facing up
  • Push the weights over your head and bend your elbows to lower the weights on either side of your head
  • Reverse the motions to come back to your original position

Repeat for 30 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds.


3. Pillar bridge rolling

  • Lie on the ground on your stomach and lift your body off the ground with your forearms for support
  • Stacking your feet, twist your torso to the side, engage your core and extend your arm up towards the ceiling
  • Pause for 2 seconds, return to your starting position and repeat on the other side

Repeat for 30 seconds.


Rest for 30 seconds, and repeat the circuit.

And you’re done. Don’t forget to cool down with some stretches!

Make training at home as fuss-free as possible by getting the right gear to support your workout. Level up your look and find what you need to boost your performance.