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7 Best upper body exercises without equipment

upper body

Surely you have found yourself without the possibility of training at a gym and with that, you find yourself having to train at home or on the street without access to any training equipment. Then the question arises, “what are the best exercises to do at home without equipment if I want to work my upper body?”

This article was made to help you understand what are the best exercises to train your upper body without additional weight, such as when you are at home without any equipment.

Types of Exercise: Pushing and Pulling

When you think of exercises to work the upper body, you should think of the motor actions that can be performed. In this case you have, pushing and pulling. In this article I will divide the exercises by these two motor actions.

Pushing Exercises, are intended to push a certain object away from you, you can push upward, forward, or downward. It is important to look for exercises that can work your muscles performing these tasks. Whenever you push the muscles involved are the pectoralis, triceps and the front of the shoulder.


This is the base exercise of the push upwards actions. Excellent exercise for working the chest, front of the shoulder and triceps. If it is too difficult for you to perform as the video shows, you can place your knees on the floor or your hands higher than your feet. If it is too easy, you can put your feet in a higher position than the position of your hands.

Hanging Dips

Hanging backgrounds. Another excellent exercise with a push-up function. Here the focus falls on the triceps, but there is also good work of the lower pectoral fibers, and a bit of the front of the shoulder. Before executing the excercise, make sure that the chairs you are using are strong enough not to put yourself at risk. This variation of bottoms requires some physical ability to perform: if it is too difficult for you, I advise you to perform the next exercise.

Chair Dips

This is an easier variation than the previous one. The target muscles are still the triceps with the highest incidence, followed by the pectoralis and then the front of the shoulder. Keeping the legs in flexion will make the exercise easier to perform. If you want a more difficult variation, then place your feet on another chair – it will be much more demanding.

Shoulder pin press

Another version of an exercise whose main action is pushing. Since you don’t have any braces or equipment for pushing, once again you will have to use your body weight to create resistance to the shoulder muscles, which are the target muscles in this exercise. In addition, triceps and upper pectoral fibers will play a good role in this exercise. If this variation is easy for you, you can also perform this exercise in full pin-up (with your feet against a wall, for example).


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Pulling exercises, in this case the goal is to make a certain object come closer to you. In these actions the main muscles to be involved are the dorsalis, trapezius, rhomboids, biceps brachii and the back of the shoulder. As with the pushing exercises, you should look for variations in angulation of pulling exercises.

Table Rowing

If you want to pull something and you don’t have any apparatus, or equipment, as in the pushing exercises, you will have to use your body weight. With this row, you can use a kitchen table or living room to create a point of support for you to pull your body around. The muscles with the most participation in this exercise will be the upper dorsal fibers, as well as the rhomboids, and the trapezius. With a little less participation, you have the biceps brachii and the posterior deltoid.

Rowing using a sheet

This is another variation of rowing. If you don’t have a table sturdy enough to do the previous exercise, you always have the option of using an old sheet. Tie a knot in the middle of the sheet, place the knot across the door, close the door, and you’re done: you have a homemade TRX. The closer the feet are to the door, the harder the exercise will be; the same happens with the length of the sheet, the longer the sheet, the harder the exercise will be.

Vertical pulling using a sheet

Because it is a vertical pulling, the participation of the vertical muscle fibers of the dorsalis will have a greater participation and the biceps will also participate more. However, the rhomboids, trapezius, and the back of the shoulder will participate less. The idea is to use leg strength as little as possible: you should try to use your arms as much as possible to raise your torso.

In my opinion, these are the exercises that you should include in a workout routine to do without equipment, using only your body weight, a table, chairs and an old sheet.

With these exercises you ensure that you are efficiently activating all the muscles in your upper body, as well as hitting them at many different angles.

I hope it can help you in the future, good training!


The information included in this article concerns the authors opinion only.

About João Silva

João Silva
João is part of Zumub Customer Service team. He is specialized in Supplements and Sports Nutrition and help customers achieve their goals daily!

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