How to Build Upper Body Muscles Without Equipment

6 Upper-Body Exercises That Require No Equipment! — UNC Campus Rec

It’s very difficult to build a well rounded, muscularly balanced upper body workout without weights. There are some muscle groups that are very difficult to isolate without a dumbbell, but this workout does a very good job of targeting all of the muscles as well as many ranges of motion, all without a single piece of equipment.

Something important about this workout; this workout can be as easy or as difficult as you want it to be. It’s easy to look at the exercises and roll your eyes, but truly, if you try it, and you do it properly, you’re going to feel this in your muscles, no matter how strong or big you are. This is largely because you’re literally working against yourself. Keep your muscles contracted all the way through this routine, and you’re not only going to be surprised at the challenge, but you’ll likely earn some sore muscles.

Workout Structure
45 Seconds on, 15 seconds rest
Muscles targeted; arms, shoulders, chest, upper back, lower back
No equipment
Warm up and cool down not included; both strongly recommended

Printable Upper Body Workout
1 Walkdown Shoulder Slaps — Keep a slight bend in elbows and walk hands from the floor at feet to a tall plank; slap each shoulder — forcing your other arm to compensate the support — then walk back up to a standing position

2 Back Bow Pulls — Lie facedown and contract upper back, lower back, and thighs, lifting each off of the ground as far as possible without using jerking motions or momentum. Extend arms above head, then contract muscles and “pull” your arms back down so that are tucked into your sides, working against your own strength

3 Variable Bicep Curls — Standing tall with elbows pinned to sides, squeeze and contract biceps to complete a “curling” motion, working only against your own strength. For this particular variation, stop at three points during your curl to let the contracting of the muscles really burn; at the top of the curl, middle, and bottom

4 Traveling Rows — Standing tall with core pulled in tight and glutes/thighs lightly contracted, reach arms forward, then contract upper back muscles to pull arms back, at descending and ascending heights

5 Push Ups Reach — Complete the most advanced version of a push up that you can, then extend arm out forward in front of body so that you’re shifting your weight into one arm. This transfer of balance works the upper body in a slightly different way and also calls upon the core muscles for support

6 Tricep Dips Toe Touch Kick — With weight in feet and hands (similar to a “crab walk”), keep your elbows tucked in close to your sides, lowering your body towards the ground. Once you press your back body up and away from the ground, kick one foot out, and tap it with the opposite hand

7 Arm Circles — Extend arms directly out from shoulder joint and do small circles; switch directions halfway through

8 Overhead Press — Act as if you’re pressing a heavy ceiling up and away from your head. Make sure to squeeze and contract your muscles; done properly, this will make the strongest of arms and shoulders burn

9 Bentover Row {amp}amp; Extension — Bend at the waist and bring arms up to the sides, hold this position {amp}amp; extend the arms, then bend at elbows again, just before letting arms hang down straight again (while remaining bent forward)

10 Palm Presses — Stand tall and press palms together in front of chest; do repetitions or variables of pressing hands together as hard as you can, in between quick breaks of rest

Were you able to tap into the feeling of working “against” your own strength? Did you find it challenging to maintain the discipline to keep pushing yourself all the way through? Was it humbling? Let us know what you thought of this workout {amp}amp; what workouts you’d like to see filmed in the future.

Building upper body muscles without equipment — in other words, using your own body weight as resistance rather than using weight machines or free weights — is affordable, convenient, and most importantly, effective in building muscle. Body-weight training lets you vary your workouts, leaving little room for boredom or stagnation, and it can be safer than training with weights. Practice some foundational body-weight exercises to build your upper body muscles and increase your stamina.

June 21, 2016 by UNC Campus Recreation

Being away from UNC this summer, there are things that I miss about being on campus and others that I don’t. While I certainly don’t miss late night exam-cram sessions or 8 a.m. lectures, I definitely do miss some other aspects of being a Carolina student, like hearing the chime of the bell tower and people watching in The Pit. One of the things I miss the most, however, is having access to the plethora of exercise equipment at the Student Rec and Rams Head Rec Centers. While quite a few of the exercises in my exercise routine don’t actually involve any equipment, almost all of the upper body exercises I like to do require dumbbells. Unfortunately, I don’t have any dumbbells at my disposal this summer. However, I definitely don’t want to neglect my upper body, so I have scoured the Internet to find some upper body exercises that don’t require any equipment! After testing out several exercises, I have narrowed it down to my 6 favorites!

Photo credit: {amp}quot;Your Mildura{amp}quot; of Flickr Creative Commons

Photo credit: “Your Mildura” of Flickr Creative Commons

Tricep dips

This move will make the back of your arms burn! Place your hands flat on the floor, a chair, or a bench with your fingers pointing towards you. Also place your feet flat on the floor. Bend your arms at your elbows and drop your lower body simultaneously. Then straighten your arms and raise your lower body to complete 1 repetition.

Push up twist

This is quite literally a “twist” on a traditional push-up! Complete 1 regular push-up and at the top of the push-up in “plank” position, twist to the right, raising your right arm with fingers pointing towards the ceiling, keeping your hips as stationary as possible. Make sure to repeat the move using your left arm for the next rep!

Diamond pushups

To reap the benefits of this version of a push-up, get in push-up position and place your hands together with your index fingers touching each other and thumbs touching each other to from a “diamond” shape. Bend your arms and lower your body as you would when doing a traditional push-up, and then straighten your arms and raise your body to complete 1 rep.

Walk down plank shoulder slap

Start this move standing up. Place your hands on the floor, walking them out until you are in plank position. Pick one arm up and touch it to your shoulder. After doing this with both arms, walk your hands backwards up to a standing position to complete 1 rep.

Up-down plank

This exercise is not only a challenge for your arms but for your core as well! To complete an up-down plank, start in a high-plank position with palms on the ground. Move your right arm so that your forearm is resting on the ground, and then do the same thing with your left arm. Then bring your right arm back to high-plank position and follow by doing the same with your left arm.

Bicep curls pulse

Biceps are one of the most difficult upper-body muscles to work without weights. The easiest way to strengthen your biceps without weights, in my opinion, is to do bicep curls, focusing on creating resistance as you go through the motions. You can also pulse at the bottom, middle, and top of the curl to make this exercise more challenging. Finally, if you really want to get a great burn out of your bicep curls but don’t have any weights, you can get creative with items you have around your house! For example, you could use a can of soup or vegetables, a bag of potatoes, or a jug of water in place of weights.

If you don’t have any weights or other strength equipment at your fingertips this summer, I hope you give some of these exercises a try! While they won’t give you the upper-body of the Hulk, these exercises will make you stronger and make lifting your massive textbooks or jam-packed backpack a breeze!

You can do around 500–700 pushups each day. (Not necessarily to do in one go. 250 in the morning, 250 in the evening will work.) This will work upon your chest.

You can do diamond push ups which will work on your triceps.

You can do Dive push ups which will help you in building strong shoulders.

You can do reverse close-grip pull ups for biceps.

You can do Normal Pull ups for you back.

Now as you are not using any weight, you can Increase the no. of counts..

Each muscle everyday, and a good diet will work!

16 Equipment-Free Arm Exercises You Can Do at Home

While many upper-body exercises involve equipment like dumbbells and barbells, arm exercises without weights are a solid way to put your muscles to the test, too. After all, the weight of your body is equipment in its own right—you can use it to load your arm muscles and make ’em work. There’s no heavy lifting required, and a gym membership is totally optional.

To be totally clear, it’s hard to work all of the muscles in your arms without weights, so equipment-free arm exercises are only going to be able to target certain areas, primarily the tops of the shoulders (the deltoids) and the triceps. Other arm muscles, like your biceps, typically need some external resistance to work against. But the exercises listed here are definitely useful for hitting some key muscle groups when you don’t have access to equipment.

Most no-equipment arm exercises are some version of planks or push-ups, which means they also require you to engage your core, so you’ll work those muscles at the same time. This means you might not feel the same concentrated burn in your arms like you would with, say, a shoulder press, and that’s totally OK. Just because these equipment-free arm exercises don’t isolate the upper body doesn’t mean they aren’t working it. And trust us, you’ll feel the proof a few days later.

Next time you’re looking to get in an arm workout at home, try combining 4 to 6 of the 16 moves below to create a workout—doing 45 seconds of each move, with 15 seconds of rest in between, and then repeating the whole thing three times, is a good place to start. Some of these arm exercises focus more on specific muscles like the triceps, while others will really challenge the shoulder muscles (including the deltoids and rhomboids), the pecs, and latissimus dorsi (or the lats, the broadest muscles on each side of your back). These are all important areas to strengthen, not only so you can lift heavier weights, but also so you can comfortably perform activities of daily living like carrying grocery bags or lifting your suitcase.

While these exercises are useful for anyone, no matter your fitness level, they’re especially good for beginners. When you focus on just using your own body for resistance (and don’t add weights) it’s easier to learn proper form, which can help prevent potential injuries that arise when you start lifting heavier.

A few of these exercises do require a surface, like a box, bench, or step. Use a stair in your house, your sofa, a park bench, or any other similar and stable surface you can find.

Demoing the moves below are Crystal Williams, a group fitness instructor and trainer who teaches at residential and commercial gyms across New York City; Amanda Wheeler, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and cofounder of Formation Strength, an online women’s training group that serves the LGBTQ community and allies; Teresa Hui, a native New Yorker who has run over 150 road races, including 16 full marathons; and Cookie Janee, a background investigator and security forces specialist in the Air Force Reserve.

Ready to get started? Here are 16 arm exercises without weights you can do at home to help build your upper-body and core strength, all in one.

Ready to build full-body strength as you burn fat WITHOUT using any equipment?

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