Building a lean upper body doesn’t require expensive gym equipment or complicated workouts. In fact, you can achieve a stronger and more sculpted upper body using just your bodyweight. Bodyweight exercises are not only effective, but they can also be done anywhere at any time. Whether you’re at home, in a park, or traveling, these exercises will help you build a lean and toned upper body. In this article, we’ll explore the 10 best bodyweight exercises to help you achieve your fitness goals.
Push-ups are one of the most effective bodyweight exercises for building a lean upper body. They target the chest, shoulders, and triceps, as well as your core muscles for stability. To perform a push-up, start in a plank position with your hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Lower your body until your chest almost touches the ground, then push yourself back up to the starting position. To make push-ups more challenging, you can try different variations such as diamond push-ups or decline push-ups.
Pull-ups are a great bodyweight exercise for targeting the back, shoulders, and biceps. You can perform pull-ups using a pull-up bar or a sturdy branch. Grip the bar with your palms facing away from you and your hands shoulder-width apart. Pull yourself up until your chin reaches the bar, then slowly lower yourself back down. If you’re new to pull-ups, you can start with assisted pull-ups using a resistance band or a supported machine at the gym.
Dips are an excellent bodyweight exercise for building strength in the triceps, shoulders, and chest. You can perform dips using parallel bars at the gym, or two sturdy surfaces such as chairs or countertops. Start by gripping the bars or surfaces with your arms fully extended, then lower your body until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. Push yourself back up to the starting position and repeat. For a more challenging variation, you can elevate your feet on a bench or perform weighted dips.
4. Handstand Push-Ups
Handstand push-ups are an advanced bodyweight exercise that targets the shoulders, triceps, and upper back. To perform a handstand push-up, start in a handstand position against a wall or use a handstand push-up bar. Lower your body until your head almost touches the ground, then push yourself back up to the starting position. If you’re new to handstand push-ups, you can start by practicing against a wall or use a resistance band for assistance.
5. Bodyweight Rows
Bodyweight rows, also known as inverted rows, are a great exercise for targeting the back, biceps, and shoulders. You can perform bodyweight rows using a suspension trainer, a low bar, or a sturdy table. Lie underneath the bar or the suspension trainer and grip it with your palms facing you. Pull your body up until your chest reaches the bar, then lower yourself back down. To increase the intensity, you can elevate your feet on a bench or add weight to your body.
6. Pike Push-Ups
Pike push-ups are a challenging bodyweight exercise that targets the shoulders, triceps, and upper back. Start in a downward dog position with your hips lifted and your hands and feet on the ground. Lower your head towards the ground by bending your elbows, then push yourself back up to the starting position. Pike push-ups are a great alternative to handstand push-ups for those who are new to this exercise.
7. Plank Variations
Planks are a great bodyweight exercise for strengthening the core, shoulders, and chest. You can perform different plank variations such as side planks, forearm planks, and plank leg lifts to target different muscle groups. To perform a plank, start in a push-up position with your body in a straight line from head to heels. Hold this position for a designated amount of time, making sure to engage your core and keep your body stable.
The superman exercise is a bodyweight exercise that targets the lower back, glutes, and shoulders. To perform a superman, lie face down on the ground with your arms extended in front of you. Lift your arms, chest, and legs off the ground, then lower them back down. This exercise is great for improving posture and strengthening the muscles of the upper back.
9. Diamond Push-Ups
Diamond push-ups are a challenging variation of the traditional push-up that targets the triceps, chest, and shoulders. To perform diamond push-ups, start in a push-up position with your hands close together in a diamond shape underneath your chest. Lower your body until your chest almost touches your hands, then push yourself back up to the starting position. This exercise places more emphasis on the triceps and helps to build strength and definition in the arms.
The L-sit is a bodyweight exercise that targets the core, shoulders, and triceps. To perform an L-sit, sit on the ground with your legs extended in front of you and your hands placed on the ground by your hips. Lift your body off the ground by pushing through your hands and engaging your core, holding this position for a designated amount of time. You can start with bent knees and gradually work towards straightening your legs to increase the intensity of the exercise.
In conclusion, incorporating bodyweight exercises into your fitness routine can help you build a lean and toned upper body without the need for expensive gym equipment. These 10 best bodyweight exercises target all the major muscle groups of the upper body, helping you to build strength, improve muscle definition, and enhance overall fitness. Remember to perform these exercises with proper form and technique, and gradually increase the intensity as you get stronger. With consistency and dedication, you can achieve your fitness goals and build a lean upper body using just your bodyweight.