Renew You Challenge: Tone your upper body

Help strengthen your shoulders, arms and back with one powerful exercise.

Lou Schuler, CSCS
Man doing a biceps curl

The Renew You Challenge is the newest health and wellness experience from Renew by UnitedHealthcare® to help inspire you to take charge of your well-being every day. Every weekday in October, we’re sharing new ideas to help build up your body, mind and spirit.


If staying active and independent is important to you, you can’t ignore your upper-body strength. You rely on these muscles to open doors and windows, push a vacuum and put away groceries.

Even though you’re using your shoulders, arms and back throughout the day, that motion isn’t enough to maintain the kind of muscle power and range of motion that you’ll need for healthy aging.

That’s where strength training comes in. It’s natural to lose some muscle mass as you get older — the decline started all the way back in your 30s. Strength training, though, has been shown to help slow down the process, reports the National Institute on Aging (NIA). In fact, the NIA says that strength training two to three times a week can help older adults maintain and even gain muscle strength as they age. 

Try This Today! The Single Arm “Pull Start” Row

This move is a variation of a Standing Row exercise, and it targets several muscles at once: the upper back, shoulders, biceps and triceps. It not only helps strengthen this area of the body, but it also helps with your posture.

First, make sure you have your doctor’s OK to exercise. Then, all you need to do is press play and follow along. Aim to do this exercise three times each week.


Try This Upper-Body Strength Workout 

Renew gives you the tools, tips and resources you need to start a fitness routine — including a series of Renew You Challenge Workouts from strength coach Lou Schuler. His Upper-Body Strength Workout features the Single Arm “Pull Start” Row, plus challenging variations and additional moves that are great for many fitness levels. UnitedHealthcare® Medicare Advantage members can find them plan website. Not a member? Learn more here.


A healthy lady on a walk
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Catch up with the Renew You Challenge:

Download your Renew You Challenge calendar

Day 1: Strengthen Your Core

Day 2: Eat More Real Food Today

Day 3: Do These 6 Important Health Checks

Day 4: Help Your Hips

Day 5: Reframe a Negative Thought

Day 6: Help Improve Your Posture

Day 7: Create a Wish List

Day 8: Check Your Heart Health in 60 Seconds

Day 9: Help Prevent Falls

Day 10: Give Your Brain a Workout