Which Upper-Body Strength Class Should I Take?

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Which Upper-Body Strength Class Should I Take?

Trying to choose between Arms & Light Weights and Arms & Shoulders strength classes? We’re here to help.

By Dana Meltzer ZepedaAugust 15, 2022

One of the biggest perks of being part of the Peloton community is the wide variety of live and on-demand classes available to Members. Whether you're training for your first 10K, stretching after a long Peloton Bike ride, or lifting weights for the first time, our world-class instructors have something to offer for everyone.

That said, having so many options at your fingertips can sometimes feel overwhelming, especially when it comes to strength training. How do you make sure you’re hitting all the right muscles? And when it comes to upper-body classes, should you go for Arms & Shoulder classes or Arms & Light Weights? We turned to Peloton instructors Rebecca Kennedy and Ally Love for their expert tips on choosing the arm workout that’s right for you.

Mix It Up

First things first: You can take both Arms & Light Weights classes and strength classes that use heavier weights. In fact, including both types of workouts in your training routine can be good for you, according to Ally. “Diversifying your fitness portfolio is extremely important in working various muscle groups, including both the local smaller muscles and global larger muscle groups,” she says, noting that class and instructor diversity “makes working out much more enjoyable!”

Consider Your Goals

That said, these two types of classes have different purposes, so you may want to focus on the one that best meets your training needs.

“Arms & Shoulders classes allow you to train with various loads specific to the exercise and muscle group,” Rebecca says. “For example, you can do lighter loads for rotator cuff strengthening, heavier loads for biceps, and medium dumbbells for kickbacks. These classes are programmed for general strength and hypertrophy [building muscle or increasing muscle mass].”

Arms & Light Weights classes, on the other hand, are more about increasing muscular endurance. That’s why instructors often program a lot of repetitive movements. “Arms & Light Weights build endurance strength, build the muscles around damaged joints or ligaments, and help prevent injuries,” Ally says.

If you’ve never done strength training before, you might find working with lighter weights to be less intimidating, Ally adds. They’re also a great entry point for anyone with pre-existing injuries or a limited range of motion. And as you grow stronger and become more comfortable with the moves, you can begin branching out to heavier upper-body workout classes too.

Keep At It

Ally recommends doing upper-body strength classes two to four times a week, depending on your goals. That can be any combination of Arms & Light Weights and Arms & Shoulders classes.

Ultimately, what matters most is not the type of class you choose, but whether you’re willing to push yourself and stick with it. “If it challenges you, it's for you,” Rebecca says. “Push-ups will always be challenging until, one day, they're not—if you keep doing them. It's the most gratifying feeling to witness your own strength improve, finally get your first push-up, notice you're able to lift heavier weights, see the peak of your bicep when you flex, and to feel insanely proud when things that were once beyond your imagination are your reality. If those things are meaningful to you, I'll see you on the mat and help make you the strongest version of yourself.”

Arms & Shoulders or Arms & Light Weights? You can find both on the Peloton App!