Forget dumbbells – This 15-minute bodyweight workout will help build muscle in your arms, chest and shoulders

Get your upper body pump with this no-equipment exercise session

Shirtless male athlete practicing plank position on mat against plants in yard
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Training the upper body, especially the core, back, shoulders and wrists, is vital to stay healthy. Bodyweight workouts such as this 15-minute blast can help you become stronger and even improve joint health in your wrists, thanks to the (gradual) increased load on the joints. And sure, these exercises also enhance body composition, which can boost confidence.

'Does resistance training improve joint health?' you might ask. With many complaining about wrist pain during push-ups and other bodyweight exercises, it's hard to imagine workouts can improve joint strength. Research proved that "exercise, in general, seems to improve overall function in rheumatoid arthritis [RA] – a condition causing pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints – without any proven detrimental effects to disease activity." And if exercise is good for people suffering from RA, it's even more beneficial to people with healthy joints.

This is a no-repeat, no-exercise, low-impact bodyweight workout. You'll be working on the floor, so an exercise mat is highly recommended (see also: best yoga mats). You'll perform each exercise for 45 seconds, followed by a 15-second rest. This is one set only, but feel free to repeat the workout as many times as you wish if you're up for it. Adjust the length of the exercises and rest according to your fitness level. The exercises are:

  • Pike shuffle
  • Single arm push-up (left)
  • Single arm push-up (right)
  • Shoulder taps
  • Rolling plank with reach
  • Superman
  • Prone arm circle
  • Push-up
  • Low plank
  • Side plank opener (left) 
  • Side plank opener (right)
  • Triceps dip
  • Commandos
  • Side plank reach (left)
  • Side plank reach (right)

For more upper-body workout action, check out these other workouts on T3. Try this dumbbell upper-body workout to build muscle in your arms, pecs, back, and core or this 5-minute bodyweight workout to build muscle up top. Should you have a barbell at home, we can wholeheartedly recommend this beginner barbell strength workout for strength.

Matt Kollat
Section Editor | Active

Matt Kollat is a journalist and content creator who works for and its magazine counterpart as an Active Editor. His areas of expertise include wearables, drones, fitness equipment, nutrition and outdoor gear. He joined T3 in 2019. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and more. Matt also collaborated with other content creators (e.g. Garage Gym Reviews) and judged many awards, such as the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance's ESSNawards. When he isn't working out, running or cycling, you'll find him roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment.