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Top 5 Upper Body Workouts You Can Do At Home

Written by Nicholas Crusie — February 24, 2021

Top 5 Upper Body Workouts You Can Do At Home

Upper body workouts are something that a lot of people struggle with. This is for several reasons. Maybe you don’t know where to begin, maybe you don’t want to be judged by others at the gym, or maybe you feel like you just don’t have the time to work that part of your body. 

The concept of doing upper body exercises can intimidate a large percentage of people because

  1. They don’t feel like they’ve ever been educated on how to do them. 
  2. They don’t want to injure themselves.
  3. They don’t want to look like a lost newbie in front of the daily iron pumpers. 

We understand these worries and want to reassure you that upper body workouts can be fun and manageable! In fact, working out your upper body is more important than you’d think.

In this post, we’ve decided to share some of the best upper body exercises that you can do at home—no straining yourself, no pressure to know how to do something, and no audience. 

Push ups

Push ups are one of the most famous upper body moves. While the name may seem classic, not everyone knows how to do this one the right way. Let’s get into it. 

What Muscles This Exercise Targets

Push ups are going to target your chest muscles, your shoulders, and your triceps. The reason why push ups are a staple in most people’s workout routines is they also work your core, back, and legs a bit. 

What You Need To Do This Exercise

In order to do a push up, you won’t need any special equipment. Just make sure you’re on a non-slippery surface you’ll be comfortable pressing your hands and feet into.

Other than that, the only piece of equipment you’ll need is confidence!

How To Complete This Exercise

To complete a push up, first get down on all fours. The distance between your hands should be a tad wider than the distance between your feet. 

At the start, your arms and legs should be completely straight. You will be in almost a planking position. Now it’s time to get to work. Carefully lower your body down until your chest is about to touch the floor. 

Without collapsing, use your arms to push yourself back up to the initial position with straight arms and straight legs. Congrats, you’ve done one rep. 

Pro Tips

Push ups are something that most people cannot do with success the very first time they try. Unless you are someone who does heavy lifting at their job every day, you may not be able to do too many reps at the start.

This is why many people do a modified version of a push up until they build the muscle needed for the traditional version. 

A modified push up could be done standing up and using a wall, a seated push up in which you lift yourself off of a chair, or a kneeling push up where you assume the standard position but then lift your feet and cross your ankles. 

If for some reason the traditional push up gets to be easy and boring for you, you can always try doing push ups on an incline for an extra challenge. 

How Many Reps You Should Complete

As a beginner, we recommend you stick to about 2 reps, 10-15 push ups per rep, depending on your comfortability. 

Feel free to increase these numbers as you see fit - but remember that building muscle takes time. Overworking a muscle that isn’t used to so much attention could result in injury.

Tricep Box Dip

Alright, onto upper body exercise #2. Here we go!

What Muscles This Exercise Targets

You could have guessed from the title of this exercise that it targets the triceps on the backside of your upper arms. But it also works the pectorals, meaning your chest muscles!

What You Need To Do This Exercise

This exercise is also known as a “chair dip,” as you may choose to use either a sturdy box or a chair to get it done. Really, whatever piece of furniture isn’t going to move around as you do this workout is fine. 

How To Complete This Exercise

The tricep box dip, or chair dip, is pretty easily explained. First, grab that box or chair. Make sure the height of this object is about half your height, give or take.

Next, stand in front of the furniture, facing away from it. Squat a bit so that you can rest your hands on the edge of the chair or box behind you. Your feet should be grounded on the floor just a little forward from your bent knees. 

Lower your body at a controlled pace, breathing in on the way down. Your arms should create a 90 degree angle behind you. Once this is done, exhale as  you use your strength to push back up into the hovering position with straight arms. 

That’s one tricep dip!

Pro Tips

If you aren’t sure if you’re doing the exercise correctly, try doing it in front of a mirror. This way, you can check that your form is accurate and your arms are reaching that perfect 90-degree angle where you’ll feel the burn most.

How Many Reps You Should Complete

This exercise is similar to the push up when it comes to building those upper body muscles. We recommend doing 2 sets of 10-15 reps for this one, too. 


Last but not least, the inchworm. This exercise will warm you up right away. Just as an inchworm moves around, there’s a lot of movement required for this one. 

What Muscles This Exercise Targets

The inchworm is technically a full-body exercise - but targets the core, chest, arms, and upper back the most. You will find yourself sweaty but proud after a few sets.

What You Need To Do This Exercise

The best part about the inchworm is you can do it anywhere. With your body weight as the only piece of equipment required, it is one of the most at-home friendly workouts you can find.

How To Complete This Exercise

In order to do the inchworm, check your surroundings and be sure you have enough space to move. You will ultimately need at least the same amount of space for this as you would for a push up. 

First, stand up straight and tall with your feet planted on the ground. If you are using a yoga mat, standing at the back edge of the mat is ideal for you. 

Bend down by hinging at the hips, as if you are going to touch your toes. With control, begin to walk your hands out step by step in front of you until your palms are at the top of your mat. 

Your feet should stay planted during the walk out!

Once you have surpassed the plank position and your hands are slightly past your head, it is time to walk your feet step by step towards your hands. You’ll notice that this exercise is all about “inching” forward.

As your feet meet your palms, you’ve completed one rep. 

Pro Tips

The best way to get the full effect of an inchworm exercise is by doing it slow and steady. Anyone who tries to rush these is not only going to hurt themselves, but also not get the same level of results. 

If this exercise needs to be modified for you, you can bend your knees a bit during the rep.

If this exercise is boring for you, try incorporating one of those push ups we talked about earlier when you reach the planking position!

This exercise is perfect for pairing with a song. Feel the rhythm of the music and let that hold yourself accountable for the consistent speed and number of reps you like. You’ll have worked out your upper body in no time!

How Many Reps You Should Complete

Try doing this one with 10-12 inchworms per rep, and do about 2 sets to start. 

The Most Convenient At-Home Workout Accessories

Working out at home can be a bit tricky if you don’t have a ton of space or the right cables to hook up videos to your TV. If you’re a fan of YouTube workout videos, chances are your smartphone or tablet doesn’t stand upright on its own.

That’s why you’ll want to invest in a device holder. These things are lifesavers—no more balancing technology on a stack of books. 

Not only does it function as a device holder for any cell phone or tablet, but the flip side of the apparatus is also a drink coaster that you can use for your water bottle!

Either way you spin it, this gadget will make your at-home workout so much simpler. 

In Conclusion

Working out your upper body is never fun at first. But just imagine how happy you’ll be once your back and arms are in better shape! There’s something about conquering a physical goal that feels particularly special.

Don’t push accomplishing your goals to tomorrow’s agenda. Tackle your dreams today!


Why Upper Body Exercises Are Crucial | FitDay.  

20 Arm Exercises Without Weights You Can Do at Home | 

How to Do a Push-Up - Well Activity | NY Times