You need all types of exercise for all parts of your body. Some people think they’ll get fit just by running. What they forget is that running just works the lower body and does nothing for strength or flexibility. You need upper body workouts and complete fitness training. While I work with people at various levels of fitness, both in person in Denver, CO and online, I try to create workouts that benefit people both with and without equipment. The person who wants to lose weight and get fitter might not have all the equipment that the person who competes has, so I created upper body home workouts for them.
Do circuit training at home.
You can create a workout that offers cardio, strength and flexibility by doing circuit training. Adjust your workout to your fitness level by controlling the number of repetitions, speed and length of rest between exercises. Finish the workout off with a round of burpees for a total body benefit. Do push-ups and if you’re fitter, raise one hand to the sky as you hold yourself in upright position, turning your head to look at the hand, lower yourself and do the same with the other hand. Follow it with a set of superman holds. Rest. Do a set of inchworm, followed by a set of plank walkdowns. Rest. Do tricep dips, followed by downward facing dog and rest. Finish the workout off by doing as many burpees as you can in one minute.
Planks are great upper body and core strength builders.
There are a of ways to do planks. All of them build upper body strength, plus benefit the core and workout the total body. You can do planks in various positions to target different muscle groups. Laying on your back and doing an upper facing plank, lifting one leg, dipping and raising works the wrists, shoulders, neck, back, hamstrings and core muscles. Rolling side planks increase core strength plus shoulder and back strength. A walkdown plank with a shoulder tap helps your biceps, wrists, shoulders, and glutes.
An old favorite, push-ups, are still great for upper arms.
It might seem old fashioned by I always say you should do things that work, not just do things that are fashionable. Push-ups work to help build upper body strength. Just like the plank, there are many different ways to do push-ups and each works different parts of the upper body. The basic push-up is my all time favorite. Push-ups work chest muscles, shoulders, triceps, abs and the serratus anterior. You’ll work a new area with a wide push-up, where your hands are placed further out. It works the chest and shoulders more. A narrow push-up works triceps. Pike push-ups work serratus anterior, shoulder, upper back and triceps.
If you’re a beginner, you can do both push-ups and planks from kneeling position until you get stronger. Always start slowly and make sure you have the form down before pushing yourself too hard.
You can do weight exercises at home even if you don’t have weights. Use soup cans or put sand in detergent or plastic milk cartons or drink containers and add more sand as your strength improves.
If you are limited on space and/or money and want some home equipment, resistance bands are inexpensive and easy to store. They’re great for working out the upper body.
Be aware that Pike push-ups are tough and not for the beginner trying build some muscle strength. Completing a set of pike push-ups should be on your goal list as you progress.