We are proud to have over 35,000 certified trainers in the HYLETE community, who are passionate about training, motivating, and inspiring the health and fitness of others. In celebration of National Personal Trainer Day, we’re featuring trainers in the HYLETE community throughout the month. We asked certified trainer Rob Atkin, a NASM personal trainer, nutrition, and movement coach, to share his expert voice with the HYLETE community. Learn more about Rob and check out his Minimal Equipment Upper Body Circuit.

How long have you been a certified trainer?

I’ve been a certified trainer for six years - starting out in Boston and then making my way to Los Angeles.

What made you want to pursue a career as a trainer?

I’ve always wanted a career that would allow me to impact people’s lives in a positive way. After years of working out and completely transforming my own body and health, I realized that personal training would allow me to do this for others.

What style of training do you do?

I specialize in strength training, functional movement, and bodybuilding.

What is your New Year's resolution?

This year I want to take up a new active hobby - which will probably be surfing.

What is your number one health or fitness goal for 2021?

I started CrossFit a little over a year ago and have been absolutely loving it. I want to keep developing my skill set and get to a competitive level (at some point).

What was your biggest accomplishment of 2020?

Learning how to do ring muscle-ups, handstands, and handstand walking. I’ve always been fascinated by gymnastics so it was really cool to see these movements come together this year.

Has your training methodology changed this year? If so, how?

If I’ve learned one thing this year, it’s how to program workouts with little to no equipment. I’ve always been a minimalist - in terms of equipment - but this year has taught me how to get real crafty.

Where do you see your career as a trainer going in 2021?

Due to gym closures, I’ve transitioned to mostly online and at-home training for my clients. I don’t think they will be re-opening soon so this will likely be the new normal for a bit. Although I’m doing a lot more traveling and don’t have access to the same equipment, I have actually grown to enjoy it a ton.

How do you hope to inspire your clients and followers in 2021?

I hope to inspire my clients and followers by creating helpful content. This includes workouts, nutrition tips, motivational messages, challenges, and really anything that can help their fitness journey.

As a trainer, what advice do you have for the HYLETE community?

Never stop learning. As a fitness professional, I know how easy it is to assume we have everything figured out - but there are always new avenues to explore. That’s the beauty of fitness.

What do you train for?

I train for performance. It’s truly fascinating to see what our bodies are capable of doing. Whether it’s hitting a strength PR, mastering a new skill, or increasing your endurance, there are endless performance goals you can set.



If there was one thing I learned as a personal trainer in 2020, it’s that you don’t need a ton of fancy equipment to get quality workouts in.

For those of you still in this situation or looking for something new, here’s a low-equipment, upper body piece you can into your routine. All you need is a bench and a dumbbell (or two for more weight options). This will also be working your core, glutes, and legs - since some movements are unilateral and/or in a bridged position. 

Perform the following circuit by hitting each exercise one-after-another for 3-4 rounds. Aim for quality reps by keeping the movements slow and controlled while resting as needed between sets/rounds. 

1. Single-Arm Dumbbell Bench Press x 10 per side 

Start by lying on your back with the dumbbell in one hand and the other arm extended (or bent on your stomach). With the shoulder blades pulled down and packed, press the dumbbell to the top of the rep and slowly pull it back down. Keep tension in the core, non-weighted arm, and shoulder blades / upper back throughout. 

2. Bird Dog Row x 10 per side 

Position your body in a quadruped position - knees directly under the hips and hands directly under shoulders. Lift your opposite leg to your rowing arm (ex: left leg if right arm is rowing). Pulling your shoulder blades down and bracing your core tight, row the weight up without moving your body. Slowly lower down in the same fashion. 

3. Single-Arm Seated Overhead Press x 10 per side

In a seated position, hold the dumbbell parallel to your shoulder. While driving your shoulder blades down, press the dumbbell up until you lockout your elbow. Slowly return the weight to your shoulder. 

4. Single-Arm Bicep Curl x 10 per side 

In a seated position, hold a dumbbell in one hand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Curl the dumbbell while keeping your elbow close to the body and the upper arm still. When you reach the shoulder, slowly lower the dumbbell back to your side - fully locking out the elbow at the bottom. Keep constant tension in the core, shoulder blades/upper back, and opposite arm to ensure the body remains still. 

Go get em! #BodyByRob #HYLETEpartner

Keep up with Rob on his website https://bodybyrob.info/ and follow him @rob_atkin.

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