The upper body workout

Build strength in your shoulders, back and chest with this upper body circuit workout. Use your own body weight and free weights to build stronger muscles and sculpt your upper body.

Upper body workout video tutorial


  • Squat (30 seconds)
  • Reverse lunge reach back (30 seconds)
  • Wide hands pushup (30 seconds)
  • Mountain climbers (30 seconds)
  • Walking high knees (30 seconds)
  • Repeat the full list once

Main upper body workout (circuit)

  • Perform each upper body exercise back-to-back - that's one round of the circuit.
  • Rest 30 seconds and repeat 3 more times.

1. Dumbbell press x 12 reps

The dumbbell press is a great upper body exercise. It targets your pecs, triceps and deltoids.

How to perform a dumbbell press

Start off sat down on your exercise bench, lift the dumbbells up through your shoulders keeping the heels down and brace your core. Keep the palm and hands facing out and from that position lift the dumbbells up above your head, keeping the arms level with your ears. Inhale back down pressing the core and lift them back up.

2. Spiderman push-ups x 12

Push-ups help you to build upper body strength and power in your shoulders, chest and back.

How to perform a spiderman push-up

To perform a spiderman push-up start off in a push-up position so the hands are just underneath the shoulders, the back's nice and flat and the feet are just hip distance apart. From here we're going to stagger the hands then we're going to lower the torso down to the ground and bring the right knee up to the hip level making sure the hips don't hit the ground, keeping your abs nice and braced. Now we're going to do the opposite side - we're going to make this a little bit easier by dropping the knees down to the ground and bringing that knee right up to the hip, still bending the arms.

3. Chin ups x 12 (close grip variation)

Chin ups are a great upper body strength exercise and work your back, biceps and core.

How to perform a close grip chin up

The close grip chin up is an easier version of the wide grip pull up. For close grip chin ups begin by taking hold of the bar with an underhand grip and the arms extended. Keeping the core tight and the glutes (buttocks) squeezed, draw the shoulder blades down and back and pull yourself up to the bar and slowly release yourself back.

4. Dips x 12

Dips are a versatile upper body exercise. A dip uses your own body weight to strengthen your triceps, chest and shoulders.

How to perform a dip

For a suspended dip begin supporting yourself on the dip station with your arms straight, your chest lifted and your core tight. Lower yourself down and drive back into your start position keeping your core tight and your shoulders squeezed as you push.


  • Jog (5 mins)
  • Thoracic Rotation (30 secs)
  • Cat camel (30 secs)
  • Hamstring stretch (30 secs each side)
  • Lying glute stretch (30 secs each side)
  • Side Hip and Quad Stretch (30 secs each side)
  • Straight-leg Calf Stretch (30 secs each side)
  • Standing IT Band Stretch (30 secs)

Last updated Monday 30 March 2020

First published on Wednesday 30 September 2015