A 20-Minute Workout for a Sculpted Upper Body, No Push-Ups Necessary

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Grab your dumbbells and skip the push-ups for this upper-body workout.
Image Credit: Westend61/Westend61/GettyImages

Push-ups: You've been doing 'em since grade school. You didn't like them then, and you don't like them now. They can be difficult for many people who experience joint pain or instability, muscle tightness, imbalance or weakness.

But here's some good news: You don't need to do a single push-up to get a sculpted upper body. This simple five-exercise workout will have you rummaging through your drawers for tank tops to show off your arms.

Check out more of our 20-minute workouts here — we’ve got something for everyone.

Try This 20-Minute Upper-Body Dumbbell Workout With Zero Push-Ups

All you'll need is a set of light to medium dumbbells (or a creative alternative) and a chair or bench.

Do: 12 reps of each of the following exercises. Repeat for 4 total rounds.

Move 1: Lateral Raise

Sets 4
Reps 12
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Body Part Shoulders
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Lift your arms straight out to your side, until they're parallel with your shoulders. Keep your elbow straight but not locked.
  3. Return back to the starting position with control (don't just drop them to your sides).

Move 2: Triceps Dips

Sets 4
Reps 12
Activity Body-Weight Workout
Body Part Arms
  1. Sit on the edge of a chair. Place your hands on the chair with your fingertips pointed toward you, elbows at your sides.
  2. Walk your feet forward until you're no longer sitting on the chair.
  3. Bend your elbows 90 degrees to lower yourself down.
  4. Press through your palms to return to the starting position.

Move 3: Uppercut

Sets 4
Reps 12
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Body Part Arms and Shoulders
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Bend your arms with your palms facing you, and raise your arms until the dumbbells are chin height but several inches away from your face. This is the starting position.
  3. Lift both arms together, punching up toward the ceiling, until your elbows are just above shoulder height.
  4. Lower the weights back down and return to the starting position.

Move 4: Biceps Curl

Sets 4
Reps 12
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Body Part Arms
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand at your sides with elbows close to your body.
  2. Keep your shoulders down away from your ears and your chest open. Bend your elbows, lifting your hands until the dumbbells reach your shoulders.
  3. Lower back down with control to return the starting position.

Move 5: Chest Fly

Sets 4
Reps 12
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Body Part Chest
  1. Lie down on the ground with your knees bent, feet planted firmly and a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Start with your arms above your chest, making sure your wrists are in alignment with your shoulders.
  3. With your elbows slightly bent, open your arms up until they're about once inch from the ground.
  4. Press your arms back up to the starting position, focusing on using the muscles in your chest.
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