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Upper Body Workout At Home: Build Strength & Mass


Staying in shape or building upper body strength is not impossible without a gym, especially not with this upper body workout at home.

Even if you are just using your bodyweight, strength training, gaining mass, or enhancing fitness is still highly possible.

Studies show that bodyweight workouts are just as effective as conventional training.

After all, there is a whole type of strength training called calisthenics that relies solely on body weight.

The results of calisthenics are absolutely phenomenal given no equipment is used.

Anyway, back to the workout at hand. An upper body workout at home is an effective way to build or maintain gains.

So, if you’re someone short on time, traveling, or if gyms are unavailable, then this workout is just what you need.

Bodyweight workouts can be further enhanced to reap more benefits, you just have to get creative.

For example, you can double up the repetitions, add a resistance band to the mix, or up the tempo of the movements to increase your gains. But more on this below.

For now, let’s take a closer look at the setup and how to do the exercises with the right form.

Upper Body Workout At Home

This upper body workout at home consists of 6 exercises with 4 sets each. The repetitions will vary from exercise to exercise.

Now, it has three different variations of push-ups because they are a top-tier exercise.

Push-ups are efficient and versatile as they work different muscle groups all at the same time, king of exercises for a reason.

Just by changing the angle, you can activate various upper body muscles.

Along with push-ups, there are dips, twists, and taps, so your whole upper body will be in motion.

In short, everything from your shoulders, chest, biceps, triceps, and core will be worked out.

Now, the effectiveness of this upper body home workout depends on the frequency, consistency, muscle strain, and recovery.

However, with the right dedication and intensity during the workout, you can easily build up strength and gain mass over time.

The Set-Up

This upper body workout at home requires mainly your body weight and an elevated platform.

The elevated platform can be a step, a sturdy box, or anything that can support your weight.

However, make sure the height isn’t too much as you’ll have to do decline push-ups. Also, make sure the object is wide enough for you to grip to do dips.

You’ll also need a yoga mat or a towel to sit on, this is just to make your workout experience more comfortable and for grip.

The Exercises

Decline Spider Push-ups

Muscles Worked: chest, triceps, shoulders, and core

Sets: 3

Reps: 15

Step-by-step Instructions:

  • Place your feet on an elevated structure
  • Get into a decline push-up position
  • Your hands should be wider than shoulder-width apart
  • Hands should be placed parallel to your chest
  • Now, do a decline push-up
  • While going down, bring your right knee out and up towards your elbow


Pike Push-ups

Muscles worked: shoulders, upper back, and triceps

Sets: 4

Reps: 10

Step-by-step Instructions:

  • Place your feet on a step
  • Your hands should be wider than shoulder-width apart and placed a few in front of your feet
  • With your head downwards and arms straight, you should make a downward V shape
  • Now, lower yourself down until your head just touches the floor
  • Hold for a moment before raising yourself back up


Forward Taps

Muscles worked: core, abs, shoulders, and triceps

Sets: 4

Reps: 20

Step-by-step Instructions:

  • Place the step a full-arms reach in front of you
  • Get into a push-up position
  • Your feet should wider than hip-width apart
  • Now, extend your right arm out and place it on the step
  • Hold for a moment
  • Return to the push-up position
  • Repeat with the other arm



Muscles worked: triceps, chest, and shoulders

Sets: 4

Reps: 15

Step-by-step Instructions:

  • Place your hands on an elevated step with your arms kept straight
  • Your feet should be stretched out and resting on your heels
  • Now, lower yourself down till you touch the floor
  • Hold for a second before pushing yourself back up


Russian Twist

Muscles worked: obliques, abs, hip flexors, and erector spinae

Sets: 4

Reps: 20

Step-by-step Instructions:

  • Hold a weighted object in your hands like a dumbbell, or a bag full of books
  • Sit on your butt with your legs in the air and knees slightly bent
  • Now, twist to the side completely and then to the next

Decline Push-ups

Muscles worked: upper chest, triceps, shoulders, and core

Sets: 4

Reps: 15

Step-by-step Instructions:

  • Place your feet on an elevated step
  • Your feet should be hip-width apart
  • Place your hands a bit wider than shoulder-width apart and keep them straight
  • Now, lower yourself down until your elbows make a 90-degree angle
  • Hold for a moment before pushing yourself up


Power Up Your Workouts

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How To Get The Most Out Of This Upper Body Workout At Home


Up The Intensity

The more you push your limits, the more your muscles strain, and the stronger they will recover. This is the key to building strength and mass.

Since this upper body workout at home is only working with body weight, you have to think out of the box to increase the tension on your muscles.

Because free weights are not used, the variables that you can play with are set, repetitions and tempo.

Again, growing muscles with just bodyweight exercises is totally possible. As we can see some of the most aesthetic bodies are built from just calisthenics.

So, to get more out of this workout at home, try:

Increase the number of repetitions and sets as you progress week by week

Increase time under tension by stressing your muscles more. This can be done by holding the strong point of the exercise or by doing the exercise faster.

Increase Rest Time

Not quite what you expected?

Well, recent studies have proven that shorter rest periods do not help with muscle growth. Despite age-old gym myths, the truth is, the more you rest, the more you can lift.

A 3-minute rest period can help increase muscle growth as compared to a 1-minute rest period when doing sets between 8 to 12 repetitions.

There is also a study that promoted a 5-minute rest period between sets.

So, how long should you rest for?

This upper body workout at home starts with an average of 12 reps per set for each exercise.

If you decide to increase the sets and repetitions, then you should also increase your rest time. A general rule of thumb is, wait until your breathing returns to normal.

Longer rest periods help our muscles work just hard each set. This increased or maintained mechanical tension is just what you need to strain your muscles to grow back even stronger.

Train To Failure

Your last set of each exercise should be to failure. As the great Arnold Schwarzenegger said “the last 3 or 4 reps is what makes your muscle grow.”

Training to failure can increase lactic acid in the muscles. This helps muscle growth by triggering intramuscular growth factors.

While it sounds lucrative, training to failure should not be overused. It can lead to excess central fatigue and increase the rest period for the following exercises.

Since the exercises in this upper body workout at home are all compound ones, it can drastically affect your performance.

Therefore, incorporating just one failure set per exercise is more than enough to help maximize your gains.

Benefits Of This Upper Body Workout At Home


Increased Functional Strength

One of the major benefits of an upper body workout is that it helps build muscles that you use on a daily basis. This isn’t limited to just workouts.

Think a bit more diversely.

Opening or closing doors require your biceps, pecs, and back muscles. Playing sports, doing chores at home, and even sitting in an office chair for long hours use your upper body muscles.

So, to live a healthy life, you need developed and healthy muscles.

When it comes to weightlifting, muscles are interconnected.

You’ve most likely noticed when you bench press or pull up, the targeted muscles take support from other muscle groups. Chest exercises usually engage triceps and biceps.

When doing upper body workouts, you’re not only strengthening multiple muscle groups at once, but you’re also building coordination between them.

This helps you lift more when you are doing isolated workouts.

Improves Running

Okay, this one may come as a shocker for many. But there is new research behind this statement.

A study looked at the neuromechanical link between the head and the arms while running.

This link provides synchronization between the brain, CNS, and muscles responsible for contraction and movement.

The results suggested that training your upper body can help improve your running.

All great runners know that movement is key to conservation of energy while running.

The less energy you spend, the less fatigued you get. Working your shoulders, arms, and erector spinae can help improve form for your runs.

Since this upper body workout at home also works your core, you’ll also increase your overall stabilization. This in turn boosts your spatial awareness which again helps with movement.

Lastly, training your upper body also increases the body’s potential to hold more glycogen.

Consider glycogen as fuel for all your fast-paced motions. The more you can store, the more you can run.

Good Posture

Since this upper body workout at home targets your core, shoulders, and back, it will help fix your posture.

Working these main muscle groups is essential to building stability and balance in the body.

Poor posture can lead to back pain, spine curvature, headaches, and heartburn. Plus, with desk jobs, your back is really taking a toll.

Hence, you need to counteract this slouching with a proper workout to get your body back in shape.

Also, poor posture really takes a toll on your mental health as well.

A study reported that sitting in an upright position increased self-esteem and a positive mood. The participants also felt more powerful, confident, and less sleepy.

So, if you are a high-performing individual who is stuck behind a desk all day and short on time, this upper body workout at home is a must to keep your performance on song.

Key Takeaway

This upper body workout at home is optimal for individuals short on time.

The versatility of this workout ensures all your major upper body muscles are engaged.

From the comfort of your living room, not only can you maintain your gains but also amplify them.

Bodyweight workouts are just as effective for building mass and strength.

Plus, the benefits are definitely worth the time investment.

In no time at all, you can increase your functional strength, fix your posture, and lift heavier in other isolated workouts.

Try this workout at home and tell us about your fitness journey in the comments below.

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