25 Upper Body Exercises

Your body is the best tool for maximum results in minimum time.

It’s amazing how many people still don’t realize the power and effectiveness of bodyweight exercises.

You don’t need weights, fancy machines, or 1,000 of crunches in order to lose weight and build lean muscle. In fact, you will get better results in far less time using these 50 bodyweight exercises that will burn calories and blast fat in just minutes.

Please be sure to read each description carefully to ensure you are performing each exercise correctly.

25 Upper Body Exercises:

Push-up

  • Keep the abs braced and body in a straight line from toes/knees to shoulders.
  • Place the hands on the floor slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Slowly lower yourself down until you are an inch off the ground.
  • Push through your chest, shoulders and triceps to return to the start position.
  • Keep your body in a straight line at all times.

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T-Pushup

  • Keep the abs braced and body in a straight line from toes to shoulders.
  • Place the hands on the floor slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Slowly lower yourself down until you are 2 inches off the ground.
  • Push off to return to the start position.
  • As you come up, rotate to one side and point that arm towards the ceiling.

Alternate sides with each rep.

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Handstand Pushup

  • You will need to get into a handstand position. If you can’t do that, skip this exercise and use the Close-Grip Pike Pushup instead.
  • Once in the handstand position, bend your elbows and lower your head to the floor.
  • Just before your head touches the ground, push up with your shoulders and triceps to return to the start position.
  • NOTE: This is an extreme and advanced exercise. If you have bad shoulders, do NOT even think of attempting this exercise.

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Elevated Pushups

  • Keep the abs braced and body in a straight line from knees to shoulders.
  • Place the left hand on the floor and the right hand elevated 4-6 inches on an aerobic step. Hands are slightly wider than shoulder width apart (normal pushup width).
  • Slowly lower yourself down until you are 2 inches off the ground.
  • Push through your chest, shoulders and triceps to return to the start position.
  • Keep your body in a straight line at all times.
  • Perform all repetitions in this manner and then switch to do all repetitions with the other arm elevated. Keep your abs braced.

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Kneeling Elevated Pushups

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Close-grip Pushup

  • Keep the abs braced and body in a straight line from toes/knees to shoulders.
  • Place the hands on the floor shoulder-width apart.
  • Slowly lower yourself down until you are an inch off the ground.
  • Tuck your elbows into your sides as you lower your body.
  • Push through your chest, shoulders and triceps to return to the start position.

Keep your body in a straight line at all times and elbows tucked in.

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Spiderman Push-up

  • Keep the abs braced and body in a straight line from toes (knees) to shoulders.
  • Place the hands on the floor slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Slowly lower yourself down until you are 2 inches off the ground.
  • As you lower yourself, slowly bring your right knee up to your right elbow.
  • Keep your foot off the ground as you do so.
  • Push through your chest, shoulders and triceps to return to the start position, and return your leg to the start position. Alternate sides until you complete all repetitions.

Keep your body in a straight line at all times and try not to twist your hips.

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Pushup to Plank

  • Brace your abs. Start at the top of pushup position.
  • Lower yourself to the ground. Drop your forearms to the ground.
  • Press back up to the top pushup position.
  • Do 5 reps starting the movement with your left side and 5 reps with your right side.  

plank1plank2

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Decline Pushup

  • Keep the abs braced and body in a straight line from toes (knees) to shoulders.
  • Place the hands on the floor slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Elevate your feet onto stairs or a bench.
  • Take 5 seconds to lower yourself down until you are 2 inches off the ground.
  • Push through your chest, shoulders and triceps to return to the start position.

Keep your body in a straight line at all times.

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Stability Ball Back Extension

  • Lie on a ball on your chest. Spread your feet apart and support yourself with them.
  • Brace your abs and place your hands behind your head.
  • Lower your body until it is parallel to the floor.
  • Contract your low back muscles and extend your upper body until your body is in a straight line. Slowly lower and repeat.

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T

  • Lie on your chest on a ball and stick your arms out in a “T-position” with thumbs up.
  • Squeeze the muscles between your shoulder blades and raise your arms a few inches.
  • Slowly return to the start position.

Try to limit the use of your deltoids/shoulders and focus on using the muscles between your shoulder blades (middle trapezius and rhomboids).

T1T2

 

Inverted Rows

  • Set a bar at hip height in the smith machine or squat rack.
  • Lie underneath the bar and grab it a few inches wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Row yourself up the top position with your upper back and lats.
  • Keep the abs braced and body in a straight line from toes (knees) to shoulders.

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Beginner Version

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Strap Inverted Row

  • Grab the straps and take 2 steps backward. Lean back and rest the weight on heels.
  • Hold the straps with your palms facing together.
  • Keep the abs braced and body in a straight line from heels to shoulders.
  • Row your body up until your chest is at strap height.

Slowly return to the start position.

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Chin-ups

  • Take underhand grip on the bar with the palms facing you.
  • Pull your body up until the chest reaches bar level.
  • Slowly lower yourself but do not let your body swing and do not use momentum

chin1chin2

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Chin-up with Knee-up

  • Take underhand grip on the bar with the palms facing you.
  • Pull your body up until the chest reaches bar level.
  • At the same time, pull your knees up to your chest.
  • Slowly lower yourself but do not let your body swing and do not use momentum.

Let your knees drop slowly from your chest to their original position.

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Pull-up

  • Grasp the bar with an overhand, wide grip.

Pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar.

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Pull-up With Knee-up

  • Grasp the bar with an overhand, wide grip.
  • Pull yourself up. Keep your abs braced at all times in this exercise.
  • As you do the pull-up bring your knees to your chest.
  • This will make the pullup easier, but also work your abs.

SLOWLY lower yourself to the bottom position and return your legs to the extended position. This is a strong eccentric contraction on your lower abs.

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Burpee-Pullup Combo

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Drop down onto your hands and feet, then thrust your feet back so you are in a push-up position. Do a push-up, then thrust your feet back in and then finish with a jump.
  • Land your jump and then move over to the pull-up bar. Do NOT jump up to the bar.
  • Grasp the bar with an overhand, wide grip. Pull your chest up to the bar.
  • Slowly lower to the bottom position. That is one rep.

Move immediately back to the burpee exercise and continue.

burpee1burpee2burpee3burpee4

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Stick-up

  • Stand with your back against a wall. Your feet should be 6 inches away from the wall and your butt, upper back, and head should all be in contact with the wall at all times.
  • Stick your hands up overhead. Keep your shoulders, elbows, and wrists touching the wall. Slide your arms down the wall and tuck your elbows into your sides.
  • This should bring your shoulder blades down and together, contracting the muscles between your shoulder blades as well as the shoulder muscles.
  • From the bottom position, try to slowly slide your arms up until they are straight and in a “stick-em up” position. Try to improve your range of motion each week.
  • The goal is to improve shoulder mobility and postural control

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Strap Biceps Curls

  • Grab the straps with an underhand grip. Take 2 steps back.
  • Lean back putting the weight on your heels.
  • Pull your body up to an almost upright position by contracting your biceps.
  • Keep your elbows up high to focus on biceps and not your back.

Slowly return to the start position.

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Triceps Bodyweight Press

  • Lean forward against a bar set up at just above hip height.
  • Keep you body in a straight line and your arms just wider than shoulder width apart.
  • Slowly bend your elbows and lower your body to the bar.
  • Contract your triceps and press back to the start position.

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Dips

  • Grab the dip bars, bend your knees, and raise them towards your chest so that your hips and knees are bent 90 degrees. Keep your abs braced. Lean forward.
  • Slowly lower your body until there is a 90 degree angle between your upper and lower arm. Press back up using chest, triceps and shoulders.

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Dips 1&½ Rep Style

  • Grab the dip bars, bend your knees, and raise them towards your chest so that your hips and knees are bent 90 degrees. Keep your abs braced. Lean forward.
  • Slowly lower your body until there is a 90 degree angle between your upper and lower arm. Press back up using chest, triceps and shoulders.
  • For the 1&½ rep style, go all the way down, then half-way up, then back down, an then all the way up. That’s one rep.

 

Strap Dips

  • These are tough, and a little awkward when done with a single TRX strap. They are best done with Blast Straps . but they are very difficult!
  • Grab the straps, bend your knees, and raise your knees towards your chest so that your hips and knees are bent 90 degrees. Keep your abs braced. Lean forward.
  • Slowly lower your body until there is a 90 degree angle between your upper and lower arm.
  • Press back up using chest, triceps and shoulders.
  • If these are too awkward, use strap close grip pushups instead.

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