A 15-Minute Beginner-Friendly Upper-Body Workout You Can Do at Home

When you think "upper-body workouts," you likely picture doing bench presses, biceps curls and shoulder presses in the weight room at the gym. But for beginners, stepping into the weight room for the first time can be a bit intimidating.

Build foundational strength at home with this upper-body workout. (Image: Shestock/Tetra images/GettyImages)

So if you're just starting out on your fitness journey and want to work out from the comfort of your own home (it's cheaper that way too!), start with this 15-minute upper-body workout for beginners from Amanda Dale, ACE-certified personal trainer and Precision Nutrition-certified nutrition coach. Your arms, shoulders, chest and upper back will definitely feel the burn!

Warm-Up

Do: 30 seconds of each of the following exercises for a total of two rounds.

  • Push-ups
  • Crab walk
  • Forearm plank
  • Reverse plank

Move 1: Push-Up

  1. Start in a high plank with shoulders over wrists.
  2. Bending your elbows, lower your chest toward the floor. Your elbows should point out at a 45-degree angle.
  3. Push through your palms back to the start.

Move 2: Crab Walk

  1. Sit with your knees bent and feet fat on the floor. Place your palms down next to either side of your butt with your fingertips facing your glutes.
  2. Press through your hands and feet to raise your thighs and torso a few inches off the floor.
  3. Take a "step" forward, moving your left hand and right foot art the same time.
  4. Repeat on opposite side without letting your glutes touch the floor.

Move 3: Forearm Plank

  • Set yourself in a low plank, with shoulders directly over your elbows, and hold for 30 seconds.

Move 4: Reverse Plank

  1. Sit with your legs extended in front of you. Place your hands a bit behind you.
  2. Lift your body off the floor so that you're in a flipped-over plank position.

Circuit #1

Do: 15 reps of each of the following four exercises. Repeat the same exercises for 12 reps each, then nine, and finally, six reps for a total of four sets.

  • Push-ups
  • Forearm plank to high plank
  • Bent-over rows
  • Triceps dips

Move 1: Push-Up

  1. Start in a high plank with shoulders over wrists.
  2. Bending your elbows, lower your chest toward the floor. Your elbows should point out at a 45-degree angle.
  3. Push through your palms back to the start.

Move 2: Forearm Plank to High Plank

  1. Start in a high plank with your shoulders over your hands.
  2. Slowly lower your right arm until your forearm and elbow are resting on the ground.
  3. Carefully lean on that forearm, and bring your left arm down to rest on the ground in the same way. You should now be in a low plank.
  4. Hold the plank for one count, and then slowly return to the push-up position, one arm at a time.

Move 3: Bent-Over Row

  1. Stand on the middle of a resistance band with both feet. Spread your feet approximately shoulder-width apart. Hinge forward at the hips, and hold one end of the band in each hand.
  2. Begin with your arms resting at your sides and palms facing you. Rotate your thumbs slightly forward.
  3. Pull your elbows up toward the ceiling. Stop when your elbows reach shoulder height.
  4. Hold for two to three seconds, then slowly lower your arms back down.

Move 4: Triceps Dip

  1. Sit on the edge of a bench with your heels on the floor. Place your hands behind you so that your fingers face forward.
  2. Raise yourself up so that your arms are straight and scoot your butt off the bench. This is the starting position.
  3. Bend your elbows and lower yourself until your arms are at a 90-degree angle.
  4. Pause for a second, then press back up to the start.

Circuit #2

  1. Set a timer to go off every minute for six minutes.
  2. During each odd-numbered minute (1, 3, 5), try to complete five burpees (take out push-ups and/or jump if needed).
  3. During each even-numbered minute (2, 4, 6), aim to hold a high plank until the timer goes off.

Move 1: Burpee

  1. Stand with your feet together.
  2. Squat down and place your hands flat on the floor in front of you.
  3. Jump both feet back so you land in a high plank. Your body should form a straight line from your feet to head.
  4. Lower down into a push-up. Press back up to high plank.
  5. Jump both feet back to return to a squat.
  6. Immediately jump straight up, land with knees slightly bent and repeat.

Move 2: High Plank

  • Set yourself up as if you were at the top of a push-up, with shoulders over wrists and core engaged, and hold this position.
Load Comments
PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.