Bodyweight exercises are movements that help build strength and fitness, without the need for additional weights. In many cases, they don’t need any other equipment at all. These exercises focus on simply using the weight of your own body to challenge your muscles, so are easy to do wherever you are, whether that’s at home, on your lunch break or at the gym. Yes, absolutely. Many of the best bodyweight workouts include exercises that target the whole body, so you’ll be able to see results in your arms, back and chest with these movements. If you’re aiming to bulk up these upper body areas, we’d generally recommend incorporating some additional weight as you progress, using dumbbells, kettlebells or weighted plates. However, this isn’t always possible, so if you need to keep your upper body bodyweight exercises completely equipment-free, then it’s worth building in more reps, extending the duration of each movement or trying more challenging variations of each exercise.
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5 beginners upper body bodyweight exercises
An excellent all-round exercise, planks will boost your arm, back, chest, shoulder and upper body strength whilst also targeting your core and glutes. Check out more variations of planks here:
- Lie on a mat with your forearms on the floor just under each shoulder and feet hip-width apart
- With your toes on the floor, lift up so your bodyweight is balanced on your forearms and toes
- Focus on keeping your core engaged and your shoulder blades relaxed
- Hold for as long as you can, working on increasing the time as you get stronger
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