Top Upper Body Bodyweight Exercises
My personal training routine focuses around only a few core exercises that are proven to drive serious results. Those exercises are pull ups, push ups, sit ups, and dips. The beauty of these exercises is that they require very little equipment and you can work just about every muscle in your upper body. There is also a limitless list of ways that you can tweak these exercises to have a different focus and target a different part of the body, but we’ll save that for another post. For this post, we’ll focus just on these 4 key exercises, the muscles they work, and a few of my personal favorite workouts.
Pull ups are a foundational pulling exercise. These are non-negotiable in any comprehensive training program. Whether you're into CrossFit, bodybuilding, military training, or general fitness, the ability of pull ups to build strength, endurance, and mental toughness are unparalleled. The primary muscles engaged are the Latissimus dorsi (lats), biceps, and the upper back muscles (rhomboids and trapezius).
Push ups are perfect for building chest and shoulder strength and are a staple in my training programs. They too develop muscular strength, endurance, and mental resilience. Primary muscles worked include the Pectoralis major (chest), deltoids (shoulders), and triceps brachii.
Sit ups are your primary core exercise when it comes to bodyweight training. Acknowledged by high-performing athletes worldwide, a strong core provides stability, enhances balance, and facilitates the efficient transfer of power between the upper and lower body. Primary muscles worked during sit-ups are the abdominal muscles and hip flexors, with variations allowing engagement of the obliques.
Dips are considered to be the heavyweight pushing exercise in bodyweight training. When doing this exercise you are bearing a substantial percentage of your body weight (80-90%) compared to push ups (50-60%). This makes dips my go-to exercise for sculpting a strong, developed chest. Primary muscles engaged in dips include the triceps brachii, Pectoralis major (chest), deltoids (shoulders), Latissimus dorsi (lats), and upper back muscles (rhomboids and trapezius).
My Favorite Upper Body Bodyweight Workouts:
20-30 Rounds: I personally do 20-30 rounds, however it takes time to build up to this number. If you are starting out, try shooting for 5-10 rounds and build from there.
- 5x Pull Ups
- 10x Push Ups
- 10x Sit Ups
- 5x Dips
Pyramid 1-10-1: If you can’t get all the way up to 10, then go as high as you can. Once you hit failure at an exercise, do 1-2 more rounds with negatives, then work back down the pyramid.
- 1x Pull Up
- 2x Push Ups
- 3x Sit Ups
- 2x Dips
Chipper: Complete each exercise in as few sets as possible.
- 100x Pull Ups
- 200x Push Ups
- 300x Sit Ups
- 200x Dips
Incorporate these fundamental exercises into your training routine, and experience the amazing results for yourself! After only a few weeks you will have noticeable changes in your strength, endurance, and overall athleticism with minimal equipment and maximum efficiency.Interested in incorporating bodyweight training into your routine? Email us at email@example.com and we will share our full bodyweight training program with you. This is a $50 value but we are giving it away to our first 10 customers free.