By Rachel Joy
Not ready to get back to the gym after COVID? Fortunately, all you need to get fit is your body weight. Before gyms, workout programs, videos, and expensive equipment, your body weight was enough. It’s still a great option if you don’t want to pay for a gym membership. As the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine continues, it’s time to set new health goals. Good news: you don’t need equipment or a gym for that. An effective upper body workout can help build strength and muscle. All you need is commitment, dedication, and consistency.
Why Do an Upper Body Workout at Home?
Often, a typical workout routine involves focusing on the core or lower half of the body. Whether running, cycling, dancing, or playing sports, the focus tends to be on the lower body. As such, it’s easy to overlook the upper body. Over time, this can lead to difficulties lifting heavy items and even impact your posture.
So, what is the upper body? This refers to the shoulder, arms, forearms, hands, and chest. The muscles in these areas create the bridge that runs from the chest, torso, and limbs to the spinal column. Besides better posture, upper body workouts improve metabolism. As a result, you can burn more calories even after your workout is complete. Upper body exercises also maximize your other workouts by improving coordination, increasing speed, improving balance, and building endurance.
The Best Foods to Eat Before and After a Workout
By Ana Snyder, M.S., Exercise Physiology; CPT, FNS
The Best Upper Body Exercise at Home
Are you looking to keep fit without expensive equipment or a gym membership? Going to the gym is one of the best things you can do for your body and health. But sometimes, you may not be able to go to the gym, but you still need to work out. It’s easy to think that strength training requires weights to start seeing results. But have you ever thought about using your body weight? The weight of your body is more than enough to create the kind of resistance you need to burn fat and build muscle.
All you need is an effective workout plan. We’ve come up with easy at-home workouts that you can do from the comfort of your living room. The workout plan consists of six exercises performed in a circuit fashion. It is a short workout routine that should take about twenty minutes each day. You will do four sets of each workout for thirty seconds. You will have fifteen-second breaks between the reps and a minute of rest before moving to the following circuit.
This no-equipment workout is ideal for anyone regardless of their fitness level. The exercise targets the glutes, hamstrings, abs, and back muscles.
- Start by lying flat on your stomach with your arms extended in front of you.
- Next, raise your arms and legs off the ground toward the ceiling.
- When in that position, slightly lift the belly button off the floor so that your abs contract.
- Hold the position for about three to five seconds, and then lower your arms and legs.
- Repeat the workout ten times and do four sets.
Also known as tricep dips, couch dips target the tricep muscles. The workout also strengthens the chest, upper back, shoulders, and lower back muscles. All you need is your couch, a chair, or a box.
- Sit on the couch with your arms extended at your sides and feet hip-width apart and flat on the floor.
- Position your hands so the palms are down beside the hips and the fingers are gripping the front of the couch.
- Push yourself off the couch with your arms extending straight at your sides. The knees should bend at an angle of forty-five degrees and be flat on the floor. For a more advanced motion range, you can fully extend the legs.
- With your head straight and looking straight ahead, dip to the floor. Make sure that you breathe in while doing this and then come back up. Do ten repetitions and four sets.
This is one of the best upper body workouts to do at home with no equipment. The exercise targets the arms, shoulders, and chest.
- Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms straight out at shoulder height. Your palms should be facing down.
- Move your arms in a circular motion forward for fifteen seconds. Move them backward in the same manner for another fifteen seconds. That should count as one set.
- Rest for a few seconds and repeat the same movements. Do four sets.
Incline Couch Push-Ups
If you can’t do a full push-up on the floor, incline couch push-ups are a great alternative. They are easy for beginners, but they can be good for you if you want to get back into fitness after a long break.
- Facing the couch, place your hands at the edges and extend your legs straight behind you. The arms should be straight, making sure that your elbows are not locked.
- Your body should make a straight line. Bend the elbows, and then lower yourself until the chest touches the couch. Like a floor push-up, your elbows should remain perpendicular to the body.
- Push back up to the starting position. Do four sets of ten repetitions per circuit.
Plank Shoulder Taps
This is a more advanced variation of the standard plank position. It works your core, shoulders, and chest muscles.
- Start in a press-up position. Your hands should stretch directly under the shoulders with your feet hip-width apart. When doing this, engage your core.
- In that position, tap your left shoulder with your right hand and your right shoulder with your left hand.
- When doing so, make sure your body doesn’t move side to side.
- Do four sets of fifteen repetitions each.
The plank row works your core and increases your spine stability. The exercise targets your middle and upper back muscles, arms, and shoulders.
- Start in a press-up position with your hands directly under your shoulders. Your hips should be hip-width apart and your back straight.
- With your glutes engaged and the core tight, stabilize your torso. Lift your right elbow to row and bend it up toward the ceiling and as close to the rib cage as possible.
- Repeat the movement, alternating your arms. Make sure that you don’t lose your plank stability.
- Do five to ten reps per arm and repeat for four sets.
No Equipment Upper Body Workout: Consistency is Key
Like with every workout routine, if you want to achieve your fitness goals, the key is to be consistent. Combine the exercises with lower or core body workouts for a full-body workout. There are so many virtual training platforms that you can use to maintain consistency. Even without a smartphone, you can work out anytime and anywhere. It doesn’t matter if you are at work or home. All you need is a few minutes to spare so you can choose the best home workout app and get moving. Your dedication will soon pay off.
Pull-Up Workout For Beginners: 4 Exercises You Need to Know
By Soji James, CPT, CSCS
*This post may contain affiliate links to the products and services that we talk about.