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Sydney Cummings Review: 50 Min Upper Body Sculpt

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Sydney Cummings Review: 50 Min Upper Body Sculpt

50 Min Upper Body Sculpt is a really challenging, upper body strength workout using a mix of heavier and lighter dumbbells. Wow did this workout fry my upper body and I was seriously worn out by the end.


Again this is a new to me trainer that I found through some recommendations of other Cathletes and thought I would give her a try. I have mostly been doing her extended stretch videos, as I am trying to incorporate more of these into my routine, and she has so many and they are all excellent. If you interested in these, she has a whole playlist of them on her YouTube channel HERE and she records a new one every Sunday. As I liked the stretch videos so much, I wanted to try some of her other routines. This workout forms part of Sydney’s Summertime Fine 2.0 programme and is actually Day 76 of 92. (I have included the YouTube link HERE). Sydney Cummings is a fitness professional and personal trainer that offers a huge range of different workouts on her free YouTube channel plus you can pay to join her “Sydney Squad”, a coaching and accountability group, if you want additional tools, workout calendars, daily challenges, nutrition guidance and motivation from Sydney (click HERE for more info). She tends to post a new workout nearly every day and each month has monthly or longer themed programmes, to keep you motivated and consistent in your fitness journey – so she is an excellent resource for new workouts to try! I also like her personality, energy and passion, as she clearly loves what she does. In addition, she also really focuses on good form and making sure you get the most out of each exercise, including showing modifications, if required.


My aim with this and some of the future posts is to try and review some different trainers, which I have found out there, that are producing good routines IMHO, to give you some more ideas and options for workouts and trainers to add to your rotations. So here goes…


This workout is a pure strength upper body routine that consists of seven supersets that are each repeated three times before moving onto the next one. Each superset includes two exercises that both focus on a specific muscle group – one using heavier weights and one using lighter weights. Each move is then completed for 45 seconds with a 15 second rest and onto the next. I found that the rest breaks felt much shorter than that but I wasn’t watching the clock so it may just be that I would have a liked a little longer, to let my muscles thaw out, before going onto the next move! The first moves is always using heavier weights and Sydney really challenges you to go as heavy as you can. She is often using 20 to 30 pounds and I really struggled to use the same weights sometimes, particularly for shoulders. The back, chest and bicep work, I was more in line with her weights but as the second move is often a pulsing move I was really feeling the work. I found the shoulder work particularly brutal and even on the chest moves I was struggling on the last rounds.


As you are doing each move for 45 seconds, the reps are fairly high and repeating them each three times really starts to add up quickly. So I would suggest having a notepad handy to record what weights you used and also have a selection around you in case you need to drop down or increase. I had to drop to 3 pounds in the final round of lateral raise pulses, as my shoulders were screaming by that point! Fortunately, Sydney doesn’t rush the moves too much and as they are timed intervals you can just go at a pace that suits you best. She also sometimes takes extra breaks for a breather and to reset her form. I was very impressed though, as she was using 20’s consistently for the overhead presses and going at a good pace.


The routine targets each of the major muscle groups, at least once, with back and shoulders both being hit twice. So by the end everything felt pretty burned out. In addition, starting with shoulders doesn’t help either, as they are already fatigued when they are trying to then assist the other muscle groups as you progress. This is a longer one of her workouts, at 54 minutes, although I actually found it went by very quickly, as you are so focused on the moves. I also found the routine fairly metabolic, as using the heavier weights definitely gets the heart rate up, a little higher, and coupled with the short rest breaks I was rather glad when we were done!


The routine ends with a total body complex that you do for one minute. This involves a 1 arm row, hammer curl, front press to overhead press and tricep extension. It sounds like a crazy combination but actually once you get the hang of it, it was fine.


One thing to mention, is that this is not a music only workout, Sydney talks you through each exercise as she does all of the moves with you. During the workout I found this useful, as she is guiding you through and providing form tips etc. However, at the end of every workout, she goes into a longer motivational speech and, after a while, I found these a little bit frustrating (although I am sure many people find these very useful). This is particularly so, for me, because it often means that she gets distracted from the cool down stretch, as she is talking so much, and so many of the stretches, at the end of the workouts, are not very comprehensive – this one included. Not a big issue though, as she has so many excellent extended stretches, available on her channel, so I just added on one of those instead).


(**Update: the next day I have some serious DOMS in my upper body and particularly my chest and shoulders).


Overall, an extremely tough and intense upper body strength workout that will really fry those muscles.


The Workout

50 Min Upper Body Sculpt is a pure strength workout focusing on the upper body. The routine consists of seven supersets of two exercises, which are each repeated three times, and ends with a 1 minute total body complex.

What You Need to Know

(Rating scale – 1= lowest & 5 = highest).

The Moves

50 Min Upper Body Sculpt is 56 minutes long (53 mins workout time). The workout starts with a quick intro from Sydney about the workout and the weights she will be using, before you move into a 2:30 minute warm-up. (The workout starts at 1:20 minutes). Sydney uses a weight bench for some of the moves and I used my full size step with four risers instead.


Each move below is performed for 45 seconds of work followed by 15 seconds of rest.


Superset 1 - Shoulders

  • Standing overhead press – two 20# Dbs (I used 15’s)

  • Lateral raise high end pulses – two 5# Dbs

Repeat above moves two more times

Superset 2 - Back

  • 1 Arm row – one 30# Db & bench (to rest other hand on). 1st two sets are 1 arm rows & 3rd set is alternating 1 arm rows – two 25# Dbs

  • Superman flutters – mat

Repeat above moves two more times

Superset 3 – Chest

  • Bench press – two 25# Dbs & bench

  • Chest fly pulses (pulsing at lower end of the move) – two 10# Dbs (I used 12’s) & bench

Repeat above moves two more times

Superset 4 – Shoulders

  • Wide rear delt rows – two 10# Dbs

  • Single Db front raise pulses – one 8# Db

Repeat above moves two more times

Superset 5 – Back

  • Underhand 1 arm rows – one 20# Db & bench (to rest hand on). 1st two sets are 1 arm rows & 3rd set you do 20 seconds on each side

  • Back flys (hinge & fly then stand) – two 10# Dbs

Repeat above moves two more times

Superset 6 – Triceps

  • Standing tricep overhead extensions – one 25# Db

  • Straight arm flat pulse (arms raise straight back in a V position w/ palms to ceiling) – two 5# Dbs

Repeat above moves two more times

Superset 7 – Biceps

  • Alternating 1 arm hammer curls – two 20# Dbs

  • 2 Bicep curls & hold (hold 1 Db at ½ way point & curl twice w/ other arm; then switch sides) – two 15# Dbs

Repeat above moves two more times

Total Body Complex – 30 seconds each side

  • 1 arm row, 1 arm hammer curl, double arm front press to overhead press & tricep extension – one 20# Db (I used 1x15)

The workout ends with a 2:30 minute cool down and stretch.

Take Action

Try it today! Check out Sydney’s YouTube channel HERE.

If you liked this workout, check out my review of Cathe Live: Pumped Upper Body (#185) – HERE.


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Thanks for visiting & see you again soon!

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