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10 Upper Body Exercises to Do at Home + 2 Workouts to Try

In a world that's constantly on the move, finding time to hit the gym can often be a challenge. But worry not, because an upper body workout at home is not only possible , but it can also yield impressive results. Many skeptics might question whether training at home can truly deliver muscle gains comparable to traditional gym workouts, but science and practical experience are here to set the record straight.
Reading 10 Upper Body Exercises to Do at Home + 2 Workouts to Try 18 minutes

In a world that's constantly on the move, finding time to hit the gym can often be a challenge. But worry not, because an upper body workout at home is not only possible , but it can also yield impressive results. Many skeptics might question whether training at home can truly deliver muscle gains comparable to traditional gym workouts, but science and practical experience are here to set the record straight.

Can I Build Strength & Muscle Training at Home? 

One of the most remarkable aspects of training at home is the array of exercises available at your fingertips. Bodyweight exercises, such as push-ups, pull-ups, and dips, can form a solid foundation for building upper body strength. These exercises engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, ensuring a holistic approach to muscle development. Additionally, incorporating weights into your home routine can provide the necessary resistance to stimulate muscle growth. Dumbbells, resistance bands, and even improvised household items can all serve as effective tools for resistance training, allowing you to progressively challenge your muscles.

Central to muscle gains is the principle of progressive overload—gradually increasing the resistance placed on your muscles. Whether you're lifting weights or using your body weight, consistently challenging your muscles with higher loads is key to triggering growth. Equally important is maintaining proper form throughout your exercises. Proper form not only minimizes the risk of injury but also ensures that the targeted muscles are effectively engaged, maximizing your results.

It's time to dispel a common myth: bodyweight training is often underestimated when it comes to muscle development. Some mistakenly believe that only heavy lifting with barbells and machines can lead to substantial muscle gains. However, bodyweight exercises can be highly effective, especially when combined with progressive overload. These exercises leverage your own body weight as resistance, requiring you to engage in stabilizing muscles and resulting in a balanced and functional physique.

Research has increasingly shown the efficacy of home-based workouts in promoting muscle growth. Studies have demonstrated that resistance training, whether performed with weights or body weight, can lead to significant increases in muscle mass and strength. Furthermore, the convenience of training at home may actually improve adherence to your workout routine, leading to consistent progress over time. A study published in the "Journal of Sport and Health Science" by Silva et al. (2019) explored the impact of home-based exercise programs on adherence and physical fitness. The study concluded that participants who followed home-based exercise programs were more likely to maintain their routines and experience improvements in various fitness parameters.

How Long Does it Take to See Progress?

Embarking on a fitness journey, whether at home or in the gym, naturally comes with the anticipation of visible results. However, understanding the timeline for progress is essential to maintain realistic expectations and stay motivated throughout your training. The rate at which you'll see changes in your upper body strength and muscle mass is influenced by a combination of factors, including individual characteristics, tracking methods, and the nature of your workout routine.

Your consistency and dedication to your workout regimen play a pivotal role—regular engagement with your exercises is key to inducing muscle growth. Nutrition also holds a significant place in the equation, as a balanced diet that supports muscle recovery and growth is essential. Not forgetting, sleep, stress management, and overall lifestyle choices can impact the speed of your progress.

It's important to recognize that each person's body responds uniquely to training stimuli. Genetics can influence factors such as muscle fiber composition and metabolism, which in turn affect how quickly you'll see changes. Some individuals might experience rapid gains, while others might require more time. Don't be discouraged if your progress differs from someone else's; focus on your journey and the improvements you make.

Tracking your progress is crucial for optimizing your results. Keep a workout journal or use fitness apps to record your exercises, sets, reps, and weights used. Over time, you'll be able to track your progress and identify areas where you've made improvements. Taking progress photos and measurements can also provide visual evidence of changes that might not be immediately apparent.

Patience is key when it comes to building upper body strength and muscle mass. While it's tempting to seek rapid results, the process of muscle growth takes time. Generally, you can expect to start noticing small changes in muscle tone and definition within a few weeks to a couple of months of consistent training. Noticeable increases in muscle size and strength may take several months to a year, depending on your starting point, effort level, and genetics.

Remember, the journey towards a stronger, more muscular upper body is a marathon, not a sprint. Celebrate each small victory and stay committed to your routine, even during times when progress seems slower. The cumulative effects of your hard work will become increasingly evident over time.

What You'll Need to Workout at Home

Creating a dedicated workout space and having the right equipment can significantly enhance the quality of your training. Designating a specific area for your workouts can be beneficial for consistency and focus. Choose a space that offers sufficient room to move and stretch comfortably. Keep it organized and free from distractions, ensuring you have enough space to perform exercises without hindrance. Adding motivational elements, such as a sound system or mirrors, can create an environment that motivates and energizes you. If it’s a space you enjoy being in then you’re more likely to stay consistent. 

While bodyweight exercises alone can deliver impressive results, incorporating a few key pieces of equipment can take your home workouts to the next level.

  • Sturdy Pull-Up Bar or TRX Suspension Trainer: Installing a pull-up bar or using a TRX suspension trainer opens up a world of versatile exercises. Pull-ups, chin-ups, and various hanging exercises engage multiple upper body muscles, providing a comprehensive workout.
  • Stability Ball: A stability ball isn't just for core exercises; it can also enhance upper-body workouts. By introducing an unstable surface, you engage more muscles to maintain balance, thereby intensifying your movements.
  • Resistance Bands: These versatile bands offer adjustable resistance and are excellent for targeting specific muscle groups. They can be anchored to doors or other sturdy objects, allowing you to perform a wide range of pulling and pushing exercises.

Prioritizing safety is paramount during home workouts. Ensure your workout space is well-lit and free from clutter to minimize the risk of accidents. When using equipment like pull-up bars or suspension trainers, ensure they are securely installed. Proper warm-up and cool-down routines are essential to prevent injuries. If you're new to exercise, consider consulting a fitness professional to learn proper form and technique.

The Best Upper Body Exercises to Do at Home

10. Overhead Slams 

Overhead slams are a dynamic and explosive exercise that engages your upper body, core, and cardiovascular system. This high-intensity movement not only helps build upper body strength but also adds an element of cardio to your routine, making it a perfect addition to your home workout regimen. By using slam balls you’ll be training fast twitch muscle fibers, which are key to generating forces rapidly, and fundamental to many sports including basketball and baseball.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and a slam ball or medicine ball in both hands.
  2. Hold the ball at chest height and engage your core muscles.
  3. In one explosive motion, raise the ball overhead while extending your arms fully.
  4. Simultaneously, rise onto your toes and contract your glutes.
  5. Forcefully slam the ball down to the ground in front of you, using your entire upper body.
  6. Catch the rebound and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
  7. Maintain a controlled rhythm, focusing on power and proper form throughout the movement.

9. Resistance Band Shoulder Press

The resistance band shoulder press is a versatile and effective upper body exercise that targets the shoulders, triceps, and upper back muscles. This exercise mimics the traditional shoulder press with the added challenge of variable resistance from the bands, making it a fantastic option for building upper body strength without the need for heavy weights or gym equipment.

  1. Step onto the middle of a resistance band with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold the handles of the band at shoulder height, with your palms facing forward and elbows bent at 90 degrees.
  3. Engage your core and maintain a stable stance throughout the exercise.
  4. Push the handles of the resistance band overhead, fully extending your arms while avoiding locking your elbows.
  5. Slowly lower the handles back to shoulder height, controlling the resistance as you go.
  6. Perform the desired number of repetitions, focusing on maintaining proper form and controlled movements.

8. TRX Assisted Chin-Ups

TRX-assisted chin-ups offer an excellent way to strengthen your latissimus dorsi (lats) and biceps while mastering the art of chin-ups. By utilizing the TRX suspension trainer, you can customize the level of assistance, making it suitable for all fitness levels. This exercise not only builds upper body strength but also lays the foundation for performing unassisted chin-ups in the future.

  1. Set your suspension trainer straps to over short 
  2. Sit on the ground below the anchor point with the straps above your head. 
  3. Grabbing the handles, with your palms facing you
  4. Pull yourself up bringing the elbows to your sides and your chin higher than the rubber handles. 
  5. Your foot placement can be altered to provide assistance or add a challenge. Keep your legs bent with your feet on the floor as you begin to use the legs to provide some assistance. As you keep getting stronger, try straight legs for a harder option, to advance further sit cross-legged and pull your whole body away from the floor with each rep. 

7. Pike Press

Pike presses are a fantastic way to cultivate robust shoulder strength and stability. This bodyweight exercise not only targets your deltoids and triceps but also engages your core and builds control through your entire upper body. Experiment with different variations, such as increasing the range of motion or adding resistance, to challenge yourself further.

  1. Start in a push-up position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lift your hips, forming an inverted V shape with your body.
  3. Lower your head toward the ground by bending your elbows, 
  4. Push through your palms to return to the pike position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions, focusing on controlled movement and proper form.

6. Pushups

Push-ups are a quintessential exercise that forms the cornerstone of any effective upper-body workout. Mastering this fundamental movement offers a myriad of benefits, including engaging your chest, shoulders, triceps, and core muscles. Beyond the standard push-up, there are various challenging variations that target specific muscle groups, such as diamond push-ups and decline push-ups. Incorporating push-ups into your routine provides a versatile and efficient way to enhance upper body strength and definition. To maximize the benefits of push-ups, consider incorporating variations that emphasize different muscle groups. Diamond push-ups place greater emphasis on your triceps and inner chest. Decline push-ups target your upper chest and shoulders by elevating your feet. These variations not only add variety to your routine but also enable you to target specific areas of your upper body. Push-ups can be seamlessly integrated into a well-rounded upper-body workout routine. You can perform them as part of a circuit or superset, alternating with other exercises that target different muscle groups. By combining push-ups with other upper body movements, you create a comprehensive workout that promotes balanced strength development.

  1. Start in a plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Keep your body in a straight line from head to heels, engaging your core and glutes.
  3. Lower your body by bending your elbows, until your chest is just above the ground, or as far as your strength allows.
  4. Push through your palms to extend your arms and return to the starting position.
  5. Perform the desired number of repetitions while maintaining proper form.

5. Supermans

Supermans are renowned for their ability to strengthen the muscles that support your lower back and promote proper spinal alignment. This exercise targets the erector spinae muscles along your spine, as well as your glutes and hamstrings. A strong posterior chain contributes to better posture and overall back health. Supermans can be seamlessly incorporated into a full-body bodyweight workout routine. Pair them with exercises that target the front of your body, such as push-ups or planks, for a balanced training session. By alternating between opposing muscle groups, you create a well-rounded workout that addresses multiple aspects of strength and stability.

  1. Lie face down on the ground with your arms extended in front of you and legs straight.
  2. Simultaneously lift your arms, chest, and legs off the ground, engaging your glutes and lower back muscles. Maintain a neutral neck position.
  3. Hold the lifted position briefly, then lower your limbs back down with control.
  4. Perform the desired number of repetitions, focusing on controlled movement and proper form.

4. Tricep Dips

As you lower and raise your body, your triceps work to extend your arms, engaging both the long and lateral heads of the triceps. Incorporating dip exercises into your routine can contribute to well-defined arms and improved functional strength. To perform tricep dips effectively, use parallel bars or a stable surface that can support your body weight. Maintain proper form by positioning your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, your elbows should track backward as you lower yourself down, ensuring that your triceps are engaged throughout the movement. Tricep dips are suitable for various fitness levels due to the potential for modifications. Beginners can start with their feet on the floor with bent knees for more support, gradually progressing to straight legs and deeper dips. For advanced practitioners, performing dips on parallel bars to elevate the feet off the floor will increase resistance, then progression can be made by adding weights to increase the challenge. Adjusting the angle of your body also influences the intensity of the exercise.

3. TRX Face Pulls

TRX face pulls specifically target the muscles that support your shoulders and upper back, helping to counteract the effects of forward-leaning postures that are common in our daily lives. By strengthening the rear deltoids and upper back muscles, face pulls contribute to improved posture and shoulder stability.

  1. Adjust the TRX straps to fully lengthen
  2. Hold the handles with an overhand grip, palms facing down.
  3. Step back, leaning your body away from the anchor point.
  4. Start with your arms extended and pull the handles towards your face by squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  5. Keep your elbows high as you pull the handles towards your face 
  6. Control the movement as you extend your arms back to the starting position.
  7. Perform the desired number of repetitions, focusing on controlled movement and proper form.

2. Planks

Planks are a foundational exercise celebrated for their exceptional ability to strengthen the core and its various muscle groups. Planks engage not only the rectus abdominis, but also target the transverse abdominis, obliques, and lower back muscles. This exercise, known for its simplicity, packs a powerful punch contributing to improved stability, posture, and functional fitness. By incorporating variations such as side planks, forearm planks, and plank leg lifts, you can diversify the challenge and stimulate different muscle groups within the core. Executing planks with proper alignment and technique is crucial for optimal results. Avoid arching your lower back or raising your hips too high, and aim for a neutral spine alignment.

  1. Begin in a push-up position with your hands directly under your shoulders.
  2. Extend your legs behind you, balancing on your toes.
  3. Keep your body aligned in a straight line from head to heels, engaging your core.
  4. Hold this position, ensuring your hips don't sag or rise too high.
  5. Maintain steady breathing throughout the exercise.
  6. Aim to hold the plank for a specific duration, gradually increasing over time.

1. TRX Single-Arm Row

The TRX single-arm row is a powerful exercise that zeroes in on your back and biceps, promoting a strong and well-defined upper body. By employing a single-arm rowing motion with the TRX suspension trainer, you engage the muscles responsible for pulling and stabilizing, the unilateral nature of this exercise also allows for muscle imbalances between each side of the body to be addressed and improved upon. Mastering the proper setup and execution is key to maximizing muscle engagement and reaping the full benefits. This exercise offers versatility, allowing you to adjust difficulty levels to accommodate a range of fitness levels.

  1. Adjust the TRX to the short strap.
  2. Hold one of the TRX handles with one hand, pulling the strap tight to lock it into place with the palm facing inward.
  3. Step the feet wider than shoulder width apart for a larger base of support to resist rotation, walk in towards the anchor point to increase resistance, and move back to decrease the resistance
  4. Lean back maintaining a plank position, fully extending your arm. Keep your shoulders and hips square to the anchor point to avoid twisting
  5. Squeeze your shoulder blades together to pull your elbow back, bringing your chest past the rubber handle. 
  6. Extend your arm to lower your body with control to return to the starting position.
  7. Perform the desired number of repetitions, then switch to the other arm.

Try This 10-Minute Upper Body Workout at Home

Remember to warm up before starting the workout and cool down afterward. Adjust the intensity, sets, repetitions, and rest intervals based on your fitness level and goals.


Sets: 2

Repetitions: 10-15

Rest: 30 seconds

TRX Assisted Chin-Ups

Sets: 2

Repetitions: 8-10

Rest: 30 seconds

TRX Single Arm Rows

Sets: 4 (two sets per arm)

Repetitions: 8-10

Rest: 30 seconds

TRX Face Pulls

Sets: 2

Repetitions: 12-15

Rest: 30 seconds


Sets: 2

Duration: 30-40 seconds

Rest: 30 seconds

Resistance Band Shoulder Press


Repetitions: 12-15

Rest: 30 seconds

Pike Press

Sets: 2

Repetitions: 10-12

Rest: 30 seconds

Tricep Dips 

Sets: 2

Repetitions: 10-15

Rest: 30 seconds


Sets: 2

Repetitions: 12-15

Rest: 30 seconds

Overhead Slams

Sets: 2

Repetitions: 10-12

Rest: 30 seconds

Final Thoughts

In this article, we've explored the incredible potential of bodyweight training. With exercises, ranging from push-ups and planks to TRX movements, offer a comprehensive approach to building strength and muscle in your upper body. By understanding the importance of progressive overload, proper form, and consistent effort, you've unlocked the pathway to achieving your fitness aspirations.

Consistency is the cornerstone of progress. Dedication to your home workouts, no matter how busy life gets, will undoubtedly yield results over time. As you embrace these exercises, remember that incremental improvements accumulate into remarkable transformations. Your home can be your gym, creating a dedicated space and training schedule will help you to remain consistent. Stay accountable and watch your upper body strength grow!