When many of us think of upper body workout or other workout types at all, we think of strenuous routines with complex equipment at the gym. Wrong! Workouts and yes, even upper body workouts do not always require going to the gym or using complex machines. It can be as simple as you want it to be.
In this article, we will walk through some easy upper body workouts or upper body stretches you can practice at home. You can choose your own time but the best time to exercise is in the morning.
There are various upper body workouts. Some of the arm workouts will require simple equipment like dumbbells, which you probably already have, while others are done without any equipment – just good old body weight and a simple workout plan.
We’ll also share some upper body workout FAQs and our take on upper body workout at home. Don’t forget to share all questions or thoughts you may have in the comment section below.
How Do You Build Upper Body Strength Fast?
While building upper body muscles and strength may seem like a complicated process, it really isn’t. All you need is quality nutrition, adequate rest and some of the most effective strength training exercises that target your upper body (shoulders, arms, chest and back) which we’ll focus on here. When you do resistance exercises targeting these areas, your muscle fiber breaks down and rebuilds stronger, and so does your strength.
So, how do you begin?
Routine. You will need an effective upper body workout at home. You also want visible and significant results, so consistency should be your priority.
Recommended Upper Body Workout At Home Routines
Before any exercise, warm up with 10 or 15 minutes of cardio (treadmill, rowing, or jogging). The exercises should be done two or three times weekly combined with running or jogging.
When using weights, resist the urge to start with heavier ones. You want to increase it as you go gradually.
Dumbbell Squeeze Press
Skull Crusher Press
Seated Overhead Triceps Extension
Triceps dips are a great upper body workout for men and women looking to tone their triceps and engage their whole upper body. They are easy and effective, and when done right, you should see results in just days.
Begin the exercise in a “crab” position; have your stomach facing upward, your fingers pointing towards your toes and your butt lifted about 5 or 6 inches above the ground. Carefully place the weight in your arms.
With your core fully engaged, switch between bending and extending your arms. As you do this, ensure that your elbows are pointed backwards the entire routine.
On this routine, you can do as many reps as you can for about 40 seconds, then rest for 15 seconds. Triceps dips serve as great arm workouts.
All you need for this upper body muscles exercise is a set of dumbbells. The posture is simple and can be done by anyone; male or female.
Start by lying on your back on a flat surface; a bench or the floor is preferable. Hold the dumbbells with your palms, making sure they’re facing in and resting on your chest. Press the dumbbells together extending your arms but keeping the dumbbells above your chest.
Do this 4 sets of 12 reps each session or more if you can. These reps make great arm workouts.
Begin by placing yourself in a “crab” position; stomach upward-facing and fingers pointing to the toes. Place feet hip-distance apart and arms shoulder-width apart. Now, lift hips to shoulder level into the tabletop position. Pause at the top, lower back down and repeat.
Again, do as many reps as your body can allow in 50 seconds. Rest for 15 seconds and repeat if you want or move to the next routine. This can be a good upper body workout for men.
This upper body exercise not only tones the triceps but also engages the shoulders. The best part? It is easy to do. This should be a part of your arm workouts.
Start by holding a single dumbbell with both of your hands at its weighted ends, at shoulder height and your elbows tucked.
Push the weight straight overhead and then, without moving your upper arms, lower it behind your head. Return to the starting position by reversing the movement and repeat. Do as many reps as possible in 50 seconds.
Note: With this exercise, light weights will work just fine. You can increase it with time.
Some arm workouts, like the Seated Overhead Triceps Extension, perfectly isolate each of the triceps. This way, you make the most of every rep.
Sitting at a bench’s end, hold each end of a dumbbell behind your head and your arms bent at 90 degrees. Keep your back flat, the elbows tucked and slowly push the weight up. Stop just before you fully complete the movement then gradually lower the weight and repeat.
With this exercise, it’s easy to want to lean forward but don’t as the torso tightness is crucial for engaging the triceps during each movement.
The Superman movement is an effective upper body workout for women and also men looking to engage and thoroughly tone their upper body. Start by lying on your stomach with your arms stretched out overhead and your legs extended fully.
Steady your core by contracting the abdominal muscles. And extend your hips as much as possible by flexing the glutes and letting your legs lift some inches above the ground.
At the same time, flex your shoulders to raise your arms to the same height. In this position, keep your ears between your biceps before lowering your legs and arms back to your starting position. Repeat this movement as many times as you can.
This type is a practical upper body workout for women, and it also works for men. Begin this exercise by standing on a mat. Then, with your feet hip-width apart and hands in fists by sides, engage your core and start lifting your shoulder towards your ears.
Pull shoulders down and away from ears then bring forward and lift upward towards the ears. Repeat as many times as possible in 40 seconds and rest for 10 seconds.
This upper body workout at home exercise effectively lessens many of the postural problems that can occur from hunching over your desk the entire day. When done right, the bent-over row can effectively reduce back pain and correct posture.
Begin by standing straight with a set of dumbbells at your sides and your palm facing towards you. (For added resistance, you can use a resistance band looped around each foot).
Then, keep your back flat, your core braced, and knees bent slightly, and bend at the waist. At this point, your waist should be slightly above parallel with the floor and your arms hanging downward.
Now, roll the dumbbells to the sides of your ribs and tightly squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of each movement. Pause, then followed by a slow lowering of your arms back down. Repeat the steps as much as you can 45-second reps and rest for 10.
While this highly engaging exercise is a weight room favorite among many gym-goers, you do not need to be at the gym to do it effectively. All you need are dumbbells. Arnold press is another type that can help build upper body muscles.
Start by holding them in front of your chest with your palms facing towards your body and your elbows also close to your body. Press the dumbbells above your head and rotate your palms out.
This way, when you reach the top, they “naturally” face away from your body. Lower the dumbbells back down by reversing the same movement but this curling in your hands, so the palms are facing your body then repeat.
Begin in a plank position, making sure that your head is in line with your heels, your shoulders over wrists and the feet hip-distance or little wider apart for additional stability.
Now, move your right hand towards the left shoulder, making sure your core is kept engaged to keep the hips stable. Then, gradually lower the right hand back to the ground and bring the left hand towards the right shoulder and the left hand back down.
In 40 seconds, try to do this movement as many times as possible switching sides while at it. Note this is an upper body workout for men, but can also be done by women.
This workout engages your core with every rep even though simple to do. This is a powerful upper body workout for men and women. Begin by lying flat on a bench with a set of dumbbells. Plant your feet on the ground and keep your core engaged. Extend your arms upward while holding the dumbbells together above your chest.
Now, with a slight bend to your elbows, gradually lower your arms until your biceps reach your ears. Then, bring your arms carefully back above your chest and repeat as many times as possible in 45 seconds. Rest for 10.
Upper Body Workout at Home: Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, upper body workouts are great if you're looking to build upper body muscles and strength and even tone up.
No, you don't. 3 to 4 days a week is perfect. You need a few days of rest to help your body rebuild those damaged muscles and grow bigger. But remember to carry on with the exercises, including arm workouts, after every rest.
There are so many of them, and some of the most effective ones as wells as upper body stretches are discussed in this article.
With consistency, you should notice a difference in your upper body muscles, tone, size, and strength in two weeks or less.
Fitness should be a lifestyle, and being at home should never get in the way of it. This includes trying to build upper body muscles and strength.
Besides, there are so many exercises, and upper body stretches that you can do, and all of them have been proven to be effective when done right and consistently. Start small, then work your way up, and in no time, you should see your desired results.
Combined with quality nutrition (this cannot be overemphasized; you need quality nourishment), rest, and sleep – the results will amaze you and even serve as extra motivation to continue.
Don’t push yourself at the beginning; only do the reps your body allows and build on your accomplishments as you go. Soon, your upper body workout at home becomes an enjoyable activity and something you genuinely look forward to, not a dreaded, tedious chore.