Viktor E. Frankl
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.-Viktor E. Frankl

Detailed Upper Body Without Equipment

This upper body routine requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. The routine includes exercises for the following muscle groups:

  • Chest
  • Back
  • Arms
  • Core

The full routine takes 23 minutes.


Before you Begin

Warm up


Detailed Instructions

Perform the number of repetitions indicated and then repeat for the number of sets, with 30 second rest between sets.


1. Pushup (10 reps, 2 sets)

Pushup 3 OR Modified Push up

Type of exercise: Chest

Benefits: Works the chest, arms, shoulders, core and legs.


1. Get down on the hands and knees, positioning the hands a bit wider than the shoulders.

2. Push the knees up so that you're resting on the hands and toes. Keep the abs engaged and make sure your body is in a straight line.

3. Bend the elbows and lower down until your elbows are at about 90 degrees or as far as you can go.

4. Then press back to starting position.

5. Do 2 sets of 10 repetitions.

Beginner Modification -Pushup on knees: After pushing up to hands and toes, drop your knees down (knees will be back a bit from starting hands and knees position)


2. Back Extensions (10 reps, 2 sets)

Back extensions


Type of exercise: Back

Benefits: Targets the lower back (the lats, the largest muscles in the back)


1.    Lie face down on a mat and place your hands behind the head (or on the floor if you are a beginner).

2.    Contract the abs and keep them contracted throughout the exercise.

3.    Squeeze the back to lift the chest a few inches off the floor.

4.    Lower and repeat for 2 sets of 10 reps.



3. Tricep Dip (10 reps, 2 sets)



Type of exercise: Triceps

Benefits: Compound move, involving both the elbow and the shoulder joints


1.    Sit on a bench or chair.

2.    Begin with the hands next to or slightly under the hips.

3.    Lift up onto the hands and bring the hips forward.

4.    Bend the elbows (no lower than 90 degrees) and lower the hips down, keeping them very close to the chair. Keep the shoulders down.

5.    Push back up without locking the elbows

6.    Repeat for 2 sets of 10 reps.



4. Tricep One-Armed Pushup (10 reps, 1 set per side)

Tricep one-arm pushup


Type of exercise: Triceps

Benefits: Works triceps and chest


1.    Lie down on left side, hips and knees stacked.

2.    Wrap the left arm around torso so that left hand is resting on the right waist.

3.    Place the right hand on the floor in front of you, palm parallel to the body.

4.    Squeeze the triceps and push your body up.

5.    Lower and repeat for 1 set of 10 reps.

6.    Then switch to the right side and repeat exercise.



5. Plank (hold for 60 seconds, 2 reps)


Type of exercise: Abdominals

Benefits: Builds endurance in abs and core


1.    Lie face down on mat resting on the forearms.

2.    Push off the floor, raising up onto toes and resting on the elbows.

3.    Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels.

4.    Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your rear end from sticking up or sagging in the middle.

5.    Hold for 60 seconds, lower and repeat for 2 reps.


6. Pushup with side Plank (10 reps, 2 sets)

Pushup with plank


Type of exercise: Full Body

Benefits: Works arms and core


1.    Get into pushup position on knees or toes.

2.    Do a pushup and, as you come up, rotate to the right into a side plank (keep knee down on the floor or balance with feet stacked for advanced), taking left arm up to the ceiling.

3.    Come back into pushup position and do another pushup followed by a side plank to the left side and right arm up.

4.    Continue alternating pushups then right and left side planks for all 2 sets of 10 reps.


7. Bird Dog (10 reps, 2 sets)

Bird dog


Type of pose: Full Body

Benefits: Overall core exercise that also strengthens the abs, back and glutes while improving balance and stability.


1.    Begin on hands and knees with the back straight and the abs pulled in.

2.    Lift the right arm up until it is level with the body and parallel to the floor.

3.    At the same time, lift the left leg up and straighten it until it is also parallel to the floor.

4.    Hold for a moment, lower and repeat on the other side, this time lifting the left arm and right leg.

5.    Keep the move slow and controlled and try to keep your body straight throughout the movement.

6.    Continue alternating sides for 2 sets of 10 reps.


8. Roll Ups with Burpees (8 reps, 1 set)

Rollup with burpee


Type of pose: Full Body

Benefits: Challenges almost every aspect of fitness - strength, power, endurance, agility and balance. It takes strength and flexibility to jump the legs back, so feel free to slow the move down and walk the feet back rather than jumping if you're new to this exercise.


1.    Begin from a standing position and then squat to the floor.

2.    Roll back, tucking the knees in towards the chest.

3.    As you roll forward, cross the legs and use your momentum to continue forward, bringing the hands to the floor.

4.    Then jump the feet back into a plank position. For beginners walk the feet back rather than jumping.

5.    Jump or walk the feet forward between the hands, stand up and, for more intensity, add a jump.

6.    Repeat 8 times.



After You Finish

Cool Down