Real Time Upper Body Workout


If you are looking for an upper body workout you can do at home with no equipment, this is it! I think a lot of people assume that you need weights to get in a good workout, or you need to be jumping around like a crazy person. This is not the case…your bodyweight is a great tool for workouts. In fact, if you can’t master a lot of body weight movements, you shouldn’t be adding weight to your workouts. Get the basics first, then start working up from there. Here are some of the basics, learn more about the form and breakdown, and then press play on this real time upper body workout!

Equipment You’ll Need

All you need for this workout is…your body. No equipment necessary! You may want a yoga mat or towel that you can lay down on if you want, but other than that your bodyweight is going to be the perfect resistance today!

Duration of Workout

My style of training/coaching is basically circuit training. I like to get in and get out, so I am always moving from one exercise to the next fairly quickly so I can get it done. I assume, if you are here, that you also like to get things done and not drag them out – so be prepared for an under 20 minute workout today. We are going to move quick, tax the muscles, raise the heart rate and then call it quits!

Fitness Level

This workout is for all fitness levels – beginner or advanced! I break down all movement patterns for you so you understand the form and can modify to fit your needs! They can be advanced, because I have been working out for over 5 years and can be pushed by these, or you can modify them and make them easy for a beginner level. It doesn’t matter where you are in your journey, make the workout fit your needs and progress (make it harder) from there.

At Home Workout

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Exercises and Modifications

Shoulder Pushups:

This is a take on the traditional pushup – to target more of the shoulder muscles instead of the chest muscles. If you are worried about being more upside down, please feel free to do a regular pushup.

Form: You want to start in a pushup position with your hands shoulder width apart. Slowly walk your feet out so they are wide, and then walk them 2 steps towards your hands. This should leave you in a V position with your butt in the air. From there you tuck your chin, and drop the crown of your head to the floor between your hands. Like I said, this targets the shoulders not the chest, so make sure you are lowering your head between your hands for the right angle.

Modifications: To make this easier you can do regular pushups. To make it harder you can elevate your feet on something for a steeper angle, and start to work towards your hips being over the top of your hands when pushing so you are going straight down instead of at an angle.

Superman with Back Extension:

This is a very simple exercise, but can be taxing if it is done correctly. Remember, even the simple movements serve a purpose.

Form: Start laying on your stomach with your hands above your head. Squeeze your glutes and raise all 4 limbs off of the floor (trying to get your knees off the floor and your entire arm), all while keeping your head neutral. Then you want to bend your elbows and pull them back towards your hips as you extend/bend your back more, and then relax and return to the starting position.

Modifications: There is no way to make this movement easier. To make it harder you can add a weight in your hands (something small like 1-2lbs) and perform the exercise.

Bear Crawl Kickback:

Another movement that looks easy, but turns out to be pretty difficult. The bear crawl position is one you want to master – it uses several muscle groups and is a great foundation for overall stability.

Form: Start on all 4’s – with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Make sure you flatten your back and engage your core as to replicate a table – very flat/stable back. Tuck your toes and elevate your knees about 2 inches from the ground..that is bear crawl. Now from there you are going to remain completely stable as you alternating kicking one leg straight back, and then switching sides. Trying not to create too much movement in the rest of the body.

Modifications: If this is too difficult, start on all 4’s with no elevation and kickback from there. You want to still make sure your back is flat and the low back does not arch. If you want to make this harder, try lifting opposite arm over your head as you also kickback, again, very little movement in the trunk.

Scapula Pushups:

This one can be a little harder to master just because it is a small movement that is rarely worked. So focus on feeling, and trying to control the body while mastering this small contraction.

Form: You want to start in a pushup position. This means on your hands and toes – wrists under your shoulders and back flat. From here you want to think about only moving the shoulder blades. Think about sinking down from your upper back, and then pushing up and rounding through the shoulder blades. This movement is better explained in the video, visual cues are best.

Modifications: There is no way to make this movement harder. If you want to make it easier, drop down to your knees instead of your toes.

Mountain Climbers:

This one is a difficult movement and is not for someone who make have poor core strength or bad knees. So please try this one out carefully and omit if it is too difficult.

Form: Start in a push up position – this means on your hands and toes, with your wrists stacked under your shoulders and your back flat. One at at time, bring your knee up towards your chest, and then switch. If you can, keep your foot off the floor when it comes up towards your chest and then jump and switch, you want to think of it as horizontal running.

Modifications: To make this easier, you can elevate your hands on something. Decreasing that angle will make things easier. There is no harder modification, just moving quickly and with intension.

Warmup and Cool Down

You want to make sure you are warming up before your workouts, and cooling down afterwords. This will help to prime you for the work you are about to do, and slow your heart rate down when you are done for better recovery. So many people say they don’t have time to warm up and cool down, but I am going to guess that you 2-3 minutes before and after your workout. Because that is a lot quicker than recovering from an injury is going to be. Be smart with your training, and be smart with your body. I know we all have specific goals and those don’t usually include “limit injury and be flexible” but they are important parts of your fitness game…as well as the health of your body as a whole. Here are a few videos you can check out to get ideas for your own warm up and cool down.

Here is a great warm up video!

And here is a great cool down video!

I hope you love this workout and come back for more sweaty at home workouts!

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Haley Rowe June 30, 2020