We filmed this workout outside of our studio, which meant that we had access to no equipment at all. We think that’s a good scenario because it forces us to get creative and to come up with effective exercises that don’t utilize anything except your own bodyweight – which is all that a lot of our viewers out there have to work with. The good news is that when it comes to certain toning and endurance goals, bodyweight exercises are just as good, if not better, than weights or even any of even the most advanced machines out there.
All of the exercises in this video can be very easily adjusted in order to be appropriate for any strength level. In the video I have used an elevated surface to do most of the exercises off of; doing these moves on a flat surface would make them more challenging.
No equipment necessary; bench, table, stairs, optional
Warm up and cool down are not included in this video; we recommend both.
Upper Body Strength Exercises
14 Reverse Leg Lift Push Ups – Go into a push up position (from knees to make it easier, toes to make it harder) and lift one leg up, bending it to 90º. Do a push up and quickly switch leg positions so that the opposite leg is lifted for the next push up repetition. Alternate back and forth between lifted legs for each push up rep.
14 Tricep Dips – Sit on the edge of a chair, bench, or step and move to the very edge of your chair, hands palms down right next to your thighs, fingers pointing forward. Push up through your hands to lift your body up and off of the chair; lower your body with the strength of your arms, keeping your elbows tucked in at your sides throughout the motion. The placement of your feet/heels on the ground in front of you makes a big difference in the demand that you can place on your tricep muscles; keep the feet in close to the body to make it easier and straighten the legs (with feet further away) to make it more difficult. No chair or step? Support your bodyweight in your palms and feet, belly and face up towards the ceiling (like for a crabwalk) and dip, keeping the elbows pinned in at the sides.
10 Traveling Plank + Rows – Go into a plank (remember; make it easier by doing on an elevated surface) and shift your bodyweight to one arm and leg; lift the opposite arm & leg and pull upwards for a very deliberate and delayed “squeeze”. One squeeze on each side of the body counts as one repetition.
14 Pike Push Ups – Place your hands flat on the ground in front of you and bend at the elbows to lower your head directly down between your arms. An elevated surface makes this upper body exercise easier.
14 Standing Rhomboid Squeezes – This is a great exercise to learn exactly what we mean when we say “working against yourself”. Bring your arms up to shoulder height, and bend at the elbow; squeeze you shoulder blades together, all while flexing and working against the motion that you are actually trying to complete. Do this right and you will get a great deal of burn in those muscles.
14 Side Push Ups – Lie on your side and press the hand of the top arm flat against the ground in front of you; press through that hand to lift your upper body. 14 Reps on each side.
14 Roundabout Push Ups – From your knees or toes, replicate the motion of a regular push up, but instead of a direct lowering and lifting motion do it in a circular motion. Make sure to do your reps clockwise and counterclockwise, alternating.
14 Tip Toe Planks – Go into a plank position and press through the toes to move your upper body forward, over your forearms. This is a great total body exercise.
How many calories does this workout burn?
We estimate that this workout burns 5-8 calories per minute. This is a great routine for targeting and toning the upper body, and it combines well with any one of our cardio workouts.
We filmed this workout at Whatcom Falls Park in Northwest Washington.