The 6 Best Bodyweight Exercises for Your Upper Body

Even advanced heavy lifters should not discount bodyweight exercises. These six will challenge your body in a short amount of time.

Bodyweight exercises can be a great option while traveling, if you're short on time or after heavy strength work to build strength and size.

For experienced lifters, bodyweight exercises might seem like a waste of time. But trust me, they're an excellent way to challenge your body and continue pursuing your goals. Below are some of the best upper-body exercises for use in your next workout.

1. Plank Tricep Extension

This move is tough. Get into a perfect plank position with your body flat, glutes squeezed tight and core engaged. Extend your arms to a tall push-up position without using any other part of your body. Try to keep your elbows in tight throughout the whole movement and hold the Plank.

RELATED: 6 Side Plank Variations for a Killer Core

2. Bodyweight Skullcrusher

For this one, all you need is a barbell on a rack, a dip bar or a railing outside. Set up in a kneeling position with your hands on the bars about shoulder-width apart. Keep your body flat and start to bend at the elbows. Bringing your hands back toward your head, tuck your head under the bar until your elbows are fully flexed with your hands toward your shoulders. Extend your arms up at the elbows until they are locked out at the top. Keep a flat back the entire time and to allow your feet to come up off the ground as your body travels forward.

3. Inverted Row

Set up a set of parallel bars close together and lie underneath them on your back with your legs straight out. Reach up, grab the bars and row your body to the bars, keeping your body flat the entire time. Lower yourself under control and repeat. To make the movement a bit easier, move your feet in closer and raise your hips as you row. This can also be performed using a barbell in a rack with palms facing your feet.

RELATED: Improve Your Back Strength with the Inverted Row

4. Inverted Hinge Row

Set up as above for the Inverted Row. Row your body halfway up, stop and hinge at the hip. Keep your hips at the halfway point but continue pulling with your upper body. The hinge should allow your chest to come forward as you pull. Reverse the hinge when you reach the top and lower yourself back down to the ground under control. This variation will blast your upper back in comparison to the regular inverted row.

5. Pull-Up

The classic Pull-Up. You can't discuss bodyweight exercises without mentioning it. Grab the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width, pull your chest to the bar and lower yourself under control back to the starting position. Keep your abs squeezed tight, shoulder blades pulled back and feet below you or just slightly in front of your body. Avoid kipping and swinging.

RELATED: How to Master the Pull-Up

6. Push-Up

Another classic bodyweight upper-body move. When done correctly, Push-Ups hit your triceps, shoulders and pecs hard. Set up in the push-up position at the top, with your back flat, chin tucked slightly and abs and butt squeezed tight. Keep your elbows in slightly to the sides; don't allow them to, "chicken wing" out to the sides. Reverse the motion and press yourself to the top, remembering to actively squeeze your butt and abs tight throughout the motion. Vary this movement by moving your hands closer together for a Close-Grip Push-Up to work your triceps even more.

Check out my YouTube and Instagram for daily tips, technique, and workouts.


Topics: PULL-UP | PUSH-UP | UPPER BODY | PLANK | ROW