As spring approaches, some of us cringe at the very thought of exposing our arms in tank tops and short sleeves. But if saggy upper arms or a little back fat rolling over your bra has got you down, fear no more! This upper body workout at home is just the solution to get you moving toward a toned, sculpted and strong upper body that is ready to bare all!
When you think of a great upper body, you might conjure up a vision of a muscle-bound personal trainer helping people push barbells around or an intense group fitness class swinging kettlebells while the instructor yells to “push harder”. On the other hand, most of us just need something we can do at home without too much equipment or too big of a time commitment. So what exactly can you accomplish without heading to the gym or hiring a trainer? Well, the below upper body workout at home uses a simple pair of dumbbells and your own body weight to give you everything you need to strengthen and tone your arms, shoulders, chest and back without ever driving to a gym. Score! Plus, after the workout we have ideas for at-home videos you can get right on your computer.
BODYWEIGHT FOR STRENGTH
So you know dumbbells are a good idea, but are bodyweight moves really worth your time? Absolutely! The fact is that you will probably find the bodyweight moves in this workout to be far more challenging than the dumbbell exercises. Pushing and pulling your own bodyweight remains one of the top exercise choices for trainers. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of training with bodyweight.
Benefits of Bodyweight Training
- More Muscle Recruitment: You’ll likely agree the most commonly used upper body strength exercise is the basic push-up. Why? Because it works! Push-ups use your biceps, triceps, shoulders, chest and back muscles all while engaging your core strength to keep your back strong and stable. This is a common theme in most bodyweight moves. Rather than focusing on just one muscle, you recruit multiple. And when you recruit more muscles you recruit more oxygen, which makes you work harder and burn more calories!
- Anytime, anywhere! If you are searching for equipment or depending on weights for your workout, you are limited to wherever that equipment is or can be. With bodyweight you can do what you need to do at home, in a hotel room, at the park with your kids or anywhere! Your workout is wherever you are. This increases the likelihood of success because there are fewer excuses for skipping!
- Training for Life. Bodyweight training moves generally mimic moves you do in every day life. Pushing, pulling and moving your body around in a functional way is beneficial for real life. One of the most important things you can accomplish as you get older is the basic yet challenging ability to lift your own bodyweight off the ground. That might seem too simple, but this capability means one thing: independence. Do you want to be the person asking for help to get up, or do you want to be the one helping?
Be Realistic with Your Goals
Before we get to this amazing workout, let’s take a quick reality check. The pictures in the magazines can be deceiving. There are 3 things that will determine the shape of your body, including your upper body:
Your eating, your exercise and your genetics!
If your arms are not shapely or sculpted the way you would like them to be, part of the solution is to remove the fat that is covering the muscles beneath. This means strengthening those muscles you want to see (see the workout below!), but it also means removing some of the fat with cardio exercise and eating good, nutritious food. It also reminds you to take a look at family genetics and remember there are certain things you can improve but not always eliminate entirely.
EATING: What you put in your mouth is a very big deal. Your food intake is far more of a determining factor toward the extra fat on your body than anything else you do. It’s time to eliminate all that extra sugar and other processed foods that are only adding to your problems. Think of your body as a car and the food as the fuel. Whatever you put in should have value and allow it to run at it’s best. Lean protein builds muscle. Veggies and fruit give you carbohydrates for energy as well as fiber and lots of vitamins. Healthy fats keep you full and fuel your brain. Get smart about your eating and use it to your advantage for a change!
Related: 5 Ways to Simplify Healthy Eating
CARDIO: We’ve incorporated some simple cardio moves in your workout today to help get your heart rate up and burn a few more calories. The strength moves are important, but so is your cardio. Plus, a healthy heart needs to pump. So pump out a good cardio workout a few times a week.
GENETICS: Take a look at your family. If you are a woman, look at your mom and your grandmothers. Chances are your body shape is going to copy one of them. Some people naturally carry more weight in their thighs and some carry it in their upper arm. Don’t be too hard on yourself, but DO take charge to be the best YOU that you can be!
Let’s do this thing! Here is your At-Home Upper Body Workout! If you’re able, get yourself a pair or two of medium dumbbells (anywhere from 8-12 pound weights depending on your capability), but like we talked about above, it isn’t necessary if you don’t have them. Just do the moves without weights or grab whatever objects you have lying around, a couple heavy books, a bag of produce, some canned goods, whatever! Moving through this workout you’ll get a great combination of strengthening the upper body muscles and pushing your heart rate of with bodyweight moves that help burn off those extra layers that are hiding what you really want to show! Follow the number of reps listed for each strength move, then do each cardio move for one minute.
15 minutes is all you need!
Warm-Up: Inchworm : 4-5 reps. Get your blood pumping with this active stretch
Walking Push-Up – 16 Total Push Ups (with movement in between)
Plank Jacks – 1 Minute
Overhead Pull – 12 reps
Plank to Upright Row – 1 Minute
Upright Rows – 12-15 reps
Punching – 1 Minute
Side Plank with Arm Extension – 10 reps per side
Side to Side Squat and Swing – 1 Minute
Tricep Side Push-Up: 10 reps per side
Squat Bicep Curl – 1 minute
Shoulder T – 8 reps
Army Crawl Plank – 1 Minute
For more fun and variety of things you can do at home, check out some of our 10-minute workouts and follow along!