exercise lower cholesterol

Upper body exercise routine to help manage cholesterol

Exercise is one of the best ways you can manage your cholesterol levels.

How does exercise lower cholesterol?

Are you watching your cholesterol levels or been told to try and reduce them? Getting stronger with some resistance training can help! Exercise is critical for long term weight management, and maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important lifestyle factors to help lower cholesterol levels.

Did you know? Your muscles help take fatty acids out of your bloodstream to utilise as a fuel source. The more muscle you have, the better you are at burning fatty acids to fuel your body. Having more muscle is also associated with lower body fat %, better insulin sensitivity, better glucose uptake, improved bone density and a host of other health benefits.

This workout has been designed by our nutritionist Alex. Its aim is to help reduce cholesterol through exercise. It will focus on training as many muscles as you can with limited equipment and in a shorter time frame.

Equipment needed: Dumbbells x 2

Exercise 1​: Overhead press

Repetitions: 10
Sets: 4

How to​:

  • Stand up with your feet shoulder-width apart with the dumbbells at head level (see picture)
  • Squeeze your glutes and tense your abs then press the dumbbells above your head like you’re trying to push them up to the ceiling until your elbows are straight (but not locked), and then slowly return.

Exercise 2​: Single arm Dumbbell Row

Repetitions: 8
Sets: 4

How to: ​

  • Whilst standing with a straight back, bend forwards and place one hand on a chair seat/ low object that enables your spine to be as close to horizontal as possible
  • With your other arm, rest a dumbbell on the floor and pull it back up – keep your arm close to your body and try to get your elbow up as high as you can
  • You can try and go a bit heavier on this one because you are using the big muscles in your back

Exercise 3​: Push-ups/ kneeling press-ups

Repetitions: as many as possible
Sets: 3

How to​:

  • Get on all fours and place your hands just outside of shoulder width, or whatever is comfortable for you, and assume a plank position (like the top of a push up with your bum low) ensuring the weight is evenly distributed through your hand* Or rest your knees on the floor for an easier option
  • Keeping your elbows close to your sides, lower your chest as far to the floor as you can and then press up until your arms are fully locked out

* you can go onto your fists, or use push up grips if you have wrist pain.

Exercise 4: Superset: Bicep curl + bench press

These are two separate exercise and should be performed straight after one another for maximum results.

Repetitions: 10 (for both exercises)
Sets: 3 (for both exercises)

How to:

  • ​Stand up straight with both dumbbells near your hips, palms facing up
  • Keeping your elbows still, curl the dumbbell and imagine you are trying to touch your shoulder with it. Very slowly lower back to the start
  • After 10 reps, lie on the floor or bench holding the dumbbells in-line with your chest, with elbows tucked about 2 inches from your ribs
  • Extend both arms simultaneously until your arms are fully locked and return to the starting position

And you’re finished!

We hope you enjoyed that workout! Try and do this routine at least once per week. You can pair it with our lower body resistance training workout and full body workout too. Try to walk often and include some cardio like this for an all-round great routine to help fight off high cholesterol.

Want to make sure what you’re eating isn’t raising your cholesterol levels? Try some of these healthy meals for people watching their cholesterol here.

Last updated: 23 September 2020

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