You Don't Need Equipment for an Upper Body Workout at Home
You can hike, run, or cycle to improve the health of your legs and respiratory system. But what about your upper body?
Strong arms, shoulders, and back, are essential muscle groups that aren't so easy to work out without going to the gym or lifting weights.
Well, fear not. It really isn’t as difficult as it seems to get a decent upper body workout from home. You can use your own body weight and different items around the house.
Using a yoga mat, a chair, or even a sofa, you can get in all of the necessary exercises I’m about to list in this article. These are 13 No-Equipment Workouts for a Strong Upper Body.
Sample Upper Body Workout at Home
20-Minute Upper Body Workout
- Diamond Push-Ups. Push-ups with your hands under your chest. (20 Reps)
- Knee-Ups. While standing, alternate lifting your left knee or your right knee. Great for the core. (20 reps)
- Superman Holds. Lie on your stomach and stretch your arms and legs off the floor (10 reps)
- Jumping Jacks (30 reps)
- Plank-Ups (20 reps)
This exercise works chest, triceps, shoulders, and core.
- First, you start in a plank position.
- Walk your hands together so that when your fingers and thumb meet, they form a triangle under your chest. This is where the “diamond” comes in.
- Bend your elbows to lower your torso as close to the ground as possible.
- Push through your palms to straighten your arms.
Modified Diamond Push-Ups
This exercise is also for chest, triceps, shoulders, and core.
- Just like with the Diamond Push-Up, you start with a high plank, then form the familiar diamond shape again where your thumbs and forefingers form a triangle.
- Drop to your knees. Protect your kneecaps by rolling to the tops of your knees.
- Then bend your elbows to lower your upper torso to do a complete push-up.
This exercise can strengthen your upper back while toning your glutes.
- Lie flat on your stomach and stretch your arms out in front of you.
- Raise your arms and feet off the floor, while your core remains firmly planted.
- Hold the raised position for three seconds before relaxing for thirty seconds. I recommend 10 reps for maximum benefit.
This exercise works arms, shoulders, and core.
- Start with a forearm plank.
- Attempt to keep your spine long and abs tight, pick up right arm and set your right elbow on the ground.
- Then on the left side, repeat, returning to the high-plank position.
- Be sure your hips remain still and face the ground throughout the exercise.
- Try to complete 10 reps, alternating each time.
This old classic never stops being effective. This exercise works shoulders, triceps, and core.
- Start with a high plank, shoulders above your wrists and spine long.
- Bend your elbows and lower your body to the floor.
- Push through your palms to straighten your arms.
If you’re having too much trouble with this exercise, you can try dropping down to your knees to reduce the amount of weight on your arms.
Inchworm to Push-Ups
This exercise works shoulders, abs, and back.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Lean forward, bending at the hips and set your palms down on the mat. You can bend your knees if you are having trouble reaching the floor.
- Walk on your hands into a high plank, your shoulders directly above your wrists.
- Add a push up to maximize your workout.
- Then walk on your hands back into your original position and stand back up.
Dive Bomber Push-Up
This exercise works your triceps, shoulders, and chest.
- Starting in a downward-facing dog position, sweep down and through with a push-up.
- Straighten your arms and take a cobra position.
- Push with your palms and raise your hips until you’re back in the downward facing dog position.
That’s one rep.
As you can tell from the name, this exercise is primarily meant to work your triceps.
- First, stand in front of a chair or a couch.
- Place the pads of your hands on the edge of the seat with your fingers pointed forward.
- Bend your arms and lower your bottom to the ground, keeping your elbows pointed back.
- Raise yourself up and straighten your arms. That’s one rep.
Burpee with Push
This exercise is meant to work your chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings, and abs.
- This video shows you how to do a basic burpee, though it leaves out the push-up part that I recommend.
- This exercise is meant to work your core, triceps, shoulders, and legs.
- Stand with your feet hip-distance and bend to press your palms to the floor.
- Push your legs back into push-up position, then bend your elbows to do a push-up.
- Straighten your arms, pull your legs back under and stand. That’s one rep.
Lateral Plank Walks
This exercise works your shoulders, arms, and core.
- Start in plank position, shoulders above your wrists and abs held tight.
- Step forward with your right foot first and your right hand, and immediately follow with your left foot and your left side.
- The first step in one direction, then in the opposite.
You’ll be sore in no time.
Elevated Push Ups
This exercise works your chest, arms, and core.
- Start in high plank position with your hands on a small platform, be it a little box, a chair, or a couch.
- Keep your elbows close and bend your arms, lowering your chest to meet the top of the platform.
- Be sure to keep your abs tight and your spine long.
- Then, push until your arms are straight.
That’s one rep.
This exercise works your core, shoulders, and glutes.
- Start the exercise in a high plank.
- Keeping your core right, jump your feet in and then back out (like you would do jumping jacks).
If your wrists become sore, you can lean on your forearms.
Exercises to Increase Chest Size without Equipment
- Push-Ups – This exercise is the most critical for increasing muscle in your chest, shoulders, and triceps.
- Tricep Dips
- Walking Lunges
Questions and Answers
How can I build upper body strength at home?
You can build upper body strength at home with no equipment by practicing essential body-weight exercises to increase muscle mass and stamina.
Any of the exercises listed above should help you achieve your goals.
How do I shape my upper body?
You can shape your upper body with any number of exercises that target your shoulders, arms, chest, back, and core. Body weight exercises like planks and push-ups are instrumental to this cause.
What are upper body workouts?
Upper Body workouts are workouts that target muscle groups such as your chest, shoulders, triceps, biceps, back and abdominals. These are some of the most commonly targeted muscle groups worked, but the lower body should not be neglected.
How can I lose upper body weight fast?
There is no way to target upper body fat specifically. Don't listen to anyone else that tells you otherwise. If you want to lose upper body weight, then you just need to lose weight in general. There are no shortcuts.
The stock answer most people provide is cardiovascular exercise, but there are dietary and body type considerations that should not be overlooked.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive piece of equipment to help with your upper body training, I would recommend the Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar. Though it looks simple, it provides a variety of options for working out at home, pull-ups and push-ups.