12 Upper Body Exercises With or Without Weights for Men & Women


When it comes to health, exercise is indubitably the most important factor to consider.

For different body parts, difference exercises are available which helps you make that particular body part the way you wish.

However among-st all those, upper body exercises are the most essential ones. They are actually such important for a few reasons like: weight loss, good posture, aesthetics, body balance and strength.

Upper body workout plan strengthen your back and shoulders. It besides, help you get a good posture. In addition to all this, upper body exercises contributes a lot to the muscle development, and in this way it ultimately target weight loss.

So, from the above discussion, it obviously becomes very clear that upper body workouts are literally important.

However its also the fact that crafting the upper body is not an easy task. If the case were so, everyone would be walking around with rockstar guns and performing everyday feats of strength.

But unfortunately that’s not true!!

The fact is that upper body exercises do requires a lot of physical as well as mental strength.

Majority of the upper body workouts include both push-ups and pull-ups. And it’s a fact which we think everyone is aware of that both these workouts are not easy at all to continue.

This factor might discourage the full body upper workout routine.

So, if you’re also among-st those who want to go with essential upper body exercises but unable to do the push-ups and pull-ups, then this blog is for you.


It do includes some upper body workout plans that can help you out build up even more muscle groups, creating the best full upper-body workout yet without push-ups and pull-ups.

Now before jumping directly onto the upper body exercises, have a look at how to build up upper-body strength, as it is very much important to have.

Upper body strength control your entire ability to perform everyday activities like pulling, pushing, reaching and lifting.

How to build-up Upper Body Strength?

To enhance your upper body strength, keep the below mentioned points in your mind. They will help you out build up bigger and stronger muscles.


Keep Challenging Your Muscles

This you can do by adding more weight, doing more reps, or decreasing rest periods between sets. In every workout, you’re not require to change a lot. Remember even minor tweaks can help you keep your muscles progressing.

Eat right

When it comes to muscle building, protein is indubitably very important. Ensure you are eating enough and at the right time. This helps you grow muscles and repair after a challenging workout.

Do more sets

Going harder and harder for just one set not always work.

Researches proof that,

Three to five set can provide you with more strength gains, muscle endurance and hypertrophy than all those who just did one set per exercise.

List of Upper Body Exercises for Muscles Building

The set forth list of upper body workouts will help you build up the upper body you’ve always dreams of. Besides, one of the main advantages of these workouts are that they are upper body exercises that you can perform at your home.

Yeah… so they are upper body exercises at home.

All you need for these full upper body workout routine is dumbbells and a bench or stability ball.

Bent-over row

Bent-over row is a upper body workout plan that no one can ever do enough.

Via offsetting numerous postural issues associated with sitting hunched over a computer all day, rows can help you out eliminate back pain and correct your posture. This ultimately provides your entire body with a visual lift.

bent over row

How to do:

  • Stand tall, holding up a set of dumbbells at your sides and your palms facing your body.
  • Now keeping your back flat, core braced and knees slightly bent, bend down at the waist in a way that your back is just above parallel with the floor. Remember your arms should hang toward the floor.
  • Next, row the dumbbells to the sides of your ribs, squeezing your blades together at the top of the movement. Now pause for a while and then very slowly lower your arms back down, and repeat.

Dumbbell bench press

All those for whom push-ups and pull-ups are difficult, dumbbell bench press are for you guys.

The Dumbbell bench press allows you to train the pecs, triceps and shoulders in a different way.

And for those who consider themselves push-up masters, bench press is for you guys also. As it allows you to use more than just body weight to work these muscles.

Dumbbell bench press

How to do:

  • Lay down with your back on a flat bench, holding up a dumbbell in each hand directly above your chest. Now raise your arms straight above your chest and palms facing forward.
  • Bend your elbows for lowering the dumbbells. Do this until your upper arms get parallel with the floor.
  • Now pause for a while and after that press up and slightly in, so that you end with your arms fully extended. Repeat this.

RELATED POST: V-Cut Ab Exercises

Arnold Press

It is one of the best upper body exercises for athletes, as it hits all the three sections of the deltoid muscle at one time:

  • The anterior (front)
  • Posterior (rear)
  • Medial (side)

Arnold Press

How to do:

  • Hold up two dumbbells in front of your chest with your palms facing toward your body. While doing this, remember to keep your elbows close to your body.
  • Pressing the dumbbells up above your head, rotate your palms out. Do this in a way that at time when you reach the overhead position, they face away from your body.
  • Now reverse the motion to lower the dumbbells back down. While doing this, corkscrew your hands in a way that your palms end facing your body. Repeat this.

Dumbbell rear-delt fly

Training the section of the delts you can see head-on, alter the shoulder positioning. This ultimately limits certain movements and causes the joint to work inefficiently.

Dumbbell rear-delt fly

How to do:

  • Stand tall, holding up a set of dumbbells down at your sides.
  • Next, keeping your back flat, push your hips back to hinge forward and lower your chest. Do this until your chest gets parallel to the ground. Now allow the weights to hang straight down at arm’s length and palms facing each other.
  • Keeping your back flat and maintaining a slight bend in your elbows, lift up the dumbbells to the side via squeezing the shoulder blades together. Stop at time when the dumbbells are in line along with your body.
  • Pause for a while. After this, slowly lower the dumbbells back to start, and then repeat.

Skull Crusher Press

Despite the fact that biceps get most of the glory when it comes to arm muscles, its also true that triceps are equally impressive upon being build up.

Skull Crusher press not only help you build up triceps, but also activates the shoulders at the same time.

Skull Crusher Press

How to do:

  • Holding up a single dumbbell, stand straight with both hands by the weighted ends at shoulder height and your elbows tucked.
  • Now press the weight straight overhead.
  • Without moving up your upper arms, lower the weight behind your head.
  • Lastly, reverse the movements to return to the starting position. Repeat this.

Standing Bicep Curl

Building up biceps is not the only thing which is only important. Aside, biceps curls are also very good to promote shoulder ability.

Standing Bicep Curl upper body workout plan mainly focuses on keeping your shoulders stationary.

Standing Bicep Curl

How to do:

  • Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding up your dumbbells at your sides and palms facing away from your body.
  • Next, keeping up your back straight and elbows locked at your sides, very slowly curl the weights close to your shoulders.
  • Now slowly lower back to start and repeat.

Floor Chest Fly

This upper body workout plan targets the chest muscles in ways other exercises like bench presses and push-ups can’t do.

To do Floor Chest Fly, you just need a set of dumbbells.

Floor Chest Fly

How to do:

  • Lay with your back on the floor, your knees bent and your feet flat, holding up a pair of dumbbells directly over your chest. While doing this, keep remember your palms must be facing each other. Slightly bend in your elbows.
  • Next, very slowly lower the dumbbells out to your sites, creating a wide arc with your arms. Do this until your upper arms lightly touch the floor.
  • Pause for a while. Now slowly reverse the movement to return to the top. Repeat this.

Seated overhead tricep extension

This full upper body workout routine round out the tricep exercises. It basically isolates the tricep muscles, making the most out of every rep.

Seated overhead tricep extension

How to do:

  • Be seated at the end of a bench, holding one end of the dumbbell. Remember while doing this, your both hands should be behind your head and arms bent at 90 degrees.
  • Further, keeping your back flat and your elbows ticked, very slowly push the weight up, stopping short of full extension.
  • Pause for a while. Now lower the weight slowly back down. Repeat this.


This workout is referred as the upper body exercises without weights.

Pullover is actually a workout which might look simple, however as a lot requires effort, as it contributes in building of your lats and pecs.

With this upper body workout men plan, you’ll feel core fire up with every rep.


How to do:

  • Start this body workout by laying with your back on a flat bench, holding up a set of dumbbells.
  • Now with your feet planted on the ground and your core engaged, extend your arms to the sky. While doing this, keep remember holding up the dumbbells together above your chest.
  • With a little bend in your elbows, very slowly lower your arms overhead. Do this until your biceps reach your ears.
  • Lastly, bring your arms back right above to your chest. Repeat this.

So, this was the list of upper body exercises which would surely help you out improving strength in your arms, back and chest.

One point that’s worth to be noted down here is that majority of the above mentioned upper body workout plans require some weight lifting, which might be not possible for everyone.

And this is the reason we have discussed here below some upper body exercises without weights.

Upper Body Exercises Without Weights

The upper body workout plans without weights discussed here below will surely help you hitting some key muscle groups at time when you don’t have access to equipment:

Plank Tap

Its indubitably one of the best arm exercises without weights.

This upper body workout helps you targeting your deltoids, triceps, glutes, latissimus and core.

How to do:

  • Start in a high plank with your palms flat and hands shoulder-width apart. While doing this, remember your shoulders should be stacking directly above your wrists, legs extended behind you, and your core and glutes must be engaged.
  • Now tap your right hand to your left shoulder while engaging your glutes and core, keeping your hips still.
  • Repeat the same thing with your left hand to your right shoulder.
  • Keep continue doing this, altering sides.
  • You can make this easier via separating your legs a bit more.


This upper body exercise without weights help you targeting your deltoids, glutes, latissimus dorsi and core.

How to do:

  • Start this upper body workout plan by placing your palms flat on the floor, hands shoulder-width apart, shoulders stacked right above your wrists.
  • Keeping feet hip-width apart, extend your legs behind you.
  • Tuck your tailbone, engaging your butt, core and quads.
  • Hold this position for a set amount of time.

Plank Up-Down

Alike several others, it also mainly targets the latissimus dorsi, deltoids, glutes, triceps and core.

How to do:

  • Start this body workout in a high plank with your palms flat, hands shoulder-width apart, shoulders stacked right above your wrists, your core and glutes engaged and the last but least your legs extended behind you.
  • Now lower your left arm in a way that your forearm lies on the floor. Do the same thing with your right arm. By this you would be in a forearm plank.
  • Reverse to return to a high plank. That’s 1 rep.
  • Remember, while moving during this workout, keep your hips content. You can do it easily by widening your legs a bit more.

So, these were the upper body workouts which you can do at your home to build up your upper-body and core strength, all in one.

Here the blog end!!

Hopefully you enjoyed reading the blog and it helped you out in shaping your upper body.

Maggie Herbert
Maggie is a certified personal trainer, yoga instructor, and sports nutritionists. She deepened her knowledge of nutrition after attending the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. Get Me on Social Channels: About Me | Facebook | Instagram | Google+  |  Quora

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