Alex Carneiro says he was a typical video-game-obsessed teenager growing up in Brazil and Italy. The son of a diplomat and a doctor, he wasn’t exactly interested in health and wellness — until his older brother made him come to the gym. Captivated by the results he saw people getting, Carneiro threw himself into training and developed a passion for strength and conditioning.

It wasn’t just a phase; Carneiro determined he wanted to make a career of this passion. He came to the U.S. to study kinesiology, and as he learned more about the role of nutrition, his curiosity grew. He began to apply his new insights to find out their impact — and saw results.

It’s this inquisitiveness that has fueled Carneiro’s burgeoning success, not only as a fitness competitor and sought-after model with appearances in Men’s Fitness, Men’s Health, and Muscle & Fitness, but also as an expert with stints on network television as a representative for Optimum Nutrition and as a coach.

His true passion, however, is finding and kindling that same interest in others — not just for competition but simply to get the most out of life. Carneiro experienced the impact of extreme focus on competition, which took a severe toll on his personal relationships and his mindset. So today, he encourages balance.

Sometimes balance entails introducing something new, like Pilates, which Carneiro added to his regimen when he was unable to cross his ankle over his knee to tie his shoe. And sometimes “something new” is a seasonal workout using classic movements to build strength and confidence for short sleeves or the beach — like the workout below, which Carneiro designed just for 24Life.

Before you begin

Keep these tips on form and breathing in mind.

  • Form: For all moves, keep your shoulder blades pulled down and back toward the center of your back and spine, while elevating your chest. Engage your core from the bottom up — imagine zipping up your core like a zipper on your jacket.
  • Breathing for presses and extensions: Exhale while extending your arms away from the body, and inhale as you return.
  • Breathing for rows and curls: Exhale while bringing your arms closer to your body, and inhale while extending away from your body.


Shoulder Dumbbell Circles

Weight: light
Reps: 5 forward, 5 backward
Sets: 4

  • Raise your arms straight out from your sides so they’re about 90 degrees from your torso
  • Make five small circles forward
  • Make five small circles backward

External Shoulder Rotation

Weight: light
Reps: 10–15 per arm (1 set)
Sets: 4

  • Grasping a light dumbbell, keep your upper arm at your side and bend at the elbow until your forearm is perpendicular to your torso
  • Rotate the dumbbell toward your chest and then away from your chest
  • Make sure your palm is perpendicular to the floor, and keep your elbow close to your midsection

Shoulder Lateral Medial Rotation

Weight: light
Reps: 10–15 times per arm (1 set)
Sets: 4

  • Choosing a light weight, and with your elbow bent, raise your arm until your upper arm is parallel to the floor
  • Your elbow should be bent at a 90-degree angle
  • Keeping your upper arm level, rotate your forearm forward until it’s parallel with the floor, and then raise it again


Dumbbell Chest Press Super Set With Floor Push-Ups

Weight: moderate to heavy
Reps: 8–12 of each movement (1 set)
Sets: 4

  • Lie on the floor with your knees slightly bent and feet on the floor to keep your lower back flat and supported
  • With elbows against the floor, press the dumbbells up toward the ceiling
  • Lower them to the ground, and repeat 8 to 12 times
  • Flip over on your stomach, and perform 8 to 12 push-ups

Renegade Row With Windmill

Weight: light
Reps: 8–12 per side (1 set)
Sets: 4

  • Grasping the dumbbells on the floor, begin in a straight-arm plank position
  • Pull one dumbbell up in a one-armed row, and return it to the floor
  • Still grasping the dumbbell, begin to rotate into a side plank, keeping your arm straight until it’s reaching up toward the ceiling
  • Rotate to return to the straight-arm plank starting position

Standing Military Dumbbell Press

Weight: moderate to heavy
Reps: 8–12
Sets: 4

  • Grasping the dumbbells with palms facing out, curl them toward your shoulders and then raise them until your upper arms are almost parallel to the floor — this is the starting position
  • Slowly rotate your elbows out, and press the dumbbells to the ceiling
  • Extend your arms to their full range of motion
  • Lower the weights to either side by bending your elbows until they’re at approximately 90 degrees, and then rotate your elbows in to return to the starting position
  • To make the exercise more challenging, start with your triceps parallel to the floor

Dumbbell One-Hand Upright Rows

Weight: moderate
Reps: 8–12 per arm (1 set)
Sets: 4

  • Grasping a dumbbell in front of you, lift the weight by bending and raising your elbow until it’s past shoulder level
  • Lower the weight to the starting position
  • Keep a smooth, steady pace, making sure not to use your body weight to jerk the dumbbell up and down.

Tricep Dumbbell Overhead Extensions

Weight: light
Reps: 8–12 per arm (1 set)
Sets: 4

  • Grasping the dumbbell, raise it overhead and then, bending from the elbow only, lower it behind your head to reach the starting position for this exercise
  • Fully extend your elbow to your comfortable range of motion, and lower the weight again
  • Control the weight so you don’t hit your head

Bicep Dumbbell Hammer Curls

Weight: moderate
Reps: 8–12 per arm (1 set)
Sets: 4

  • Grasp a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing in, arms at your sides
  • Curl each dumbbell close to your shoulder
  • Keep a steady pace, and make sure you don’t use your body to swing the dumbbells up and down. Keep your elbows close to your sides and below your shoulders