8 Upper Body Exercises that Don’t Require Any Weights

Strengthen your chest, arms, shoulders, and core right at home.

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Bench push-up

01-benchMichael Bambino & Co

  1. Assume a push-up position with your hands on a flat bench slightly wider than shoulder width apart and the balls of your feet on the floor, also slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Your back should be flat, and your neck should form a straight line with your back.
  2. Keeping your abdominals and rear end tight, slowly lower yourself toward the bench until your chest touches or nearly touches the bench, allowing your arms to tuck in slightly toward your sides.
  3. Push back up to the starting position, and repeat for the suggested number of reps.

What it does: Strengthens the muscles in your chest, the front of your shoulders, the back of your arms, and your core.

Form tip: If you have trouble touching your chest to the bench for the required number of reps, adjust your range of motion and don’t lower yourself down quite as far.

For a more extensive list of exercises like this, get my new book 60 Second Sweat.

Kneeling push-up

02-kneelingMichael Bambino & Co

  1. Assume a push-up position with your hands on the floor slightly wider than shoulder width apart and your knees on the floor about shoulder width apart. Your back should be flat, and your neck should form a straight line with your back. Your feet can be on the floor or in the air, and you can cross your legs or not, whichever is more comfortable.
  2. Keeping your abdominals and rear end tight, slowly lower yourself toward the floor until your chest touches or nearly touches the floor, allowing your arms to tuck in slightly toward your sides.
  3. Push back up to the starting position, and repeat for the suggested number of reps.

What it does: Strengthens the muscles in your chest, the front of your shoulders, the back of your arms, and your core. (Here are more ways to get strong arms without lifting weights.)

Form tip: If you have trouble touching your chest to the floor for the required number of reps, adjust your range of motion and don’t lower yourself down quite as far.

Push-up

03-push-upMichael Bambino & Co

  1. Assume a push-up position with your hands on the floor slightly wider than shoulder width apart and the balls of your feet about shoulder width apart. Your back should be flat, and your neck should form a straight line with your back.
  2. Keeping your abdominals and rear end tight, slowly lower yourself toward the floor until your chest touches or nearly touches the floor, allowing your arms to tuck in slightly toward your sides.
  3. Push back up to the starting position, and repeat for the suggested number of reps.

What it does: Strengthens the muscles in your chest, the front of your shoulders, the back of your arms, and your core.

Form tip: If you have trouble touching your chest to the floor for the required number of reps, you are not ready for this exercise. Instead, do bench or kneeling push-ups.

Feet-elevated push-up

04-feet-elevated-push-upMichael Bambino & Co

  1. Assume a push-up position with your hands on the floor slightly wider than shoulder width apart and the balls of your feet on a flat bench about shoulder width apart. Your back should be flat, and your neck should form a straight line with your back.
  2. Keeping your abdominals and rear end tight, slowly lower yourself toward the floor until your chest touches or nearly touches the floor, allowing your arms to tuck in slightly toward your sides.
  3. Push back up to the staring position and repeat for the suggested number of reps.

What it does: Strengthens the muscles in your chest, the front of your shoulders, the back of your arms, and your core.

Form tip: Don’t let your hips sag. If you have trouble touching your chest to the floor for the suggested number of reps, you are not ready for this exercise. Instead, do push-ups.

Piston bench push-up

05-piston-bench-push-upMichael Bambino & Co

  1. Assume a push-up position with your hands on a flat bench slightly more than shoulder width apart and the balls of your feet on the floor about shoulder width apart. Your back should be flat, and your neck should form a straight line with your back.
  2. Keeping your abdominals and rear end tight, slowly lower yourself until your chest touches or nearly touches the bench, allowing your arms to tuck in slightly toward your sides.
  3. Push back up while simultaneously flexing your right hip and driving your right knee toward your right shoulder.
  4. Lower back down and repeat with the opposite leg. Continue in this fashion, alternating legs, for the suggested number of reps.

What it does: Strengthens your entire core and the muscles in your chest, the front of your shoulders, and the back of your arms. (These tips can help you flatten your belly without crunches.)

Form tip: Come to a complete pause and check your form between reps; do not rush through this exercise.

Piston push-up

06-piston-push-upMichael Bambino & Co

  1. Assume a push-up position with your hands on the floor slightly wider than shoulder width apart and the balls of your feet on the floor about shoulder width apart. Your back should be flat, and your neck should form a straight line with your back.
  2. Keeping your abdominals and rear end tight, slowly lower yourself toward the floor until your chest touches or nearly touches the floor, allowing your arms to tuck in slightly toward your sides.
  3. Drive your hands through the floor and push back up while simultaneously driving your right knee toward your right elbow.
  4. Lower back down and repeat with the opposite leg. Continue in this fashion, alternating legs, for the suggested number of reps.

What it does: Strengthens the muscles in your chest, the front of your shoulders, the back of your arms, and your core.

Form tip: To avoid irritating your lower back and taking emphasis off your abdominals, don’t let your hips sag. These are more exercises to help ease lower back pain.

T-rotation push-up

07-t-rotation-push-upMichael Bambino & Co

  1. Assume a push-up position with your hands on the floor slightly wider than shoulder width apart and the balls of your feet on the floor slightly wider than hip width apart. Your back should be flat, and your neck should form a straight line with your back.
  2. Keeping your abdominals and rear end tight, slowly lower yourself toward the floor until your chest touches or nearly touches the floor, allowing your arms to tuck in slightly toward your sides.
  3. Drive your hands through the floor and push back up while simultaneously rotating to your right. Open up your right arm overhead and pivot onto the sides of your feet, balancing on your left hand, while you drive your right hip up. Both arms should be straight, creating a “T” with your body.
  4. Pause for one second in this position before rotating back onto the balls of your feet and placing your right hand back on the floor into the push-up position. Repeat for the suggested number of reps before switching sides and opening up to your left for an identical number of reps.

What it does: Strengthens the muscles in your chest, the front of your shoulders, the back of your arms, and your core.

Form tip: As you open up and rotate, really emphasize driving your hip up into the air to maximize the core strengthening effect of this exercise.

T-rotation

08-t-rotationMichael Bambino & Co

  1. Assume a push-up position with your hands on the floor slightly wider than shoulder width apart and the balls of your feet on the floor slightly wider than hip width apart. Your back should be flat, and your neck should form a straight line with your back.
  2. Rotate to your right, opening up your right arm overhead and pivoting onto the sides of your feet. Balance on your left hand while driving your right hip up. Both arms should be straight, creating a “T” with your body.
  3. Pause for a full second in the open position before rotating back in and onto the balls of your feet and placing your right hand back on the floor into the push-up position. Repeat for the suggested number of reps before switching sides and opening up to your left for an identical number of reps.

What it does: Strengthens the core and increases shoulder stability.

Form tip: Because of the complexity of this exercise, do not rush.

For more expert workout plans to help you at home or at the gym

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Get my book 60 Second Sweat to get a rock-hard body one minute at a time.

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