Forget weights – This no-equipment upper body workout is all you need to build muscles in your arms

Improve arm definition and strengthen your shoulders in just four moves

Shot of a young athletic black woman doing a plank exercise outdoors.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When time is of the essence, workouts are the first thing people will cut back on. You don't have to be that person, as with this short-and-sweet upper body session, you can maintain and even build muscle in your arms, shoulders and core. Better still, you won't need any equipment to complete this circuit; as long as you have an exercise mat, you are good to go!

Training your delts will not only give you what we in the business call 'boulder shoulders', but it can help reduce pain, too. "By strengthening the muscles surrounding the shoulder, the joint becomes more stable," says information website Arthiritis-health, "This stability can help prevent bone dislocation as well as protect bones from impact and friction, thereby reducing pain."

So, grab those gym water bottles and let's get down to business!

This quick circuit uses only four compound exercises to train your entire upper body, including your arm, shoulders, abs and core. Compound moves such as these work multiple muscle groups simultaneously, which burns more calories and helps muscle coordination. The instructor recommends completing the circuit three times, but we'll say do it as many times as you wish/feel comfortable with. The exercises are as follows:

  • Commando dolphins (10 reps) – Best exercise name ever!
  • Push-up shoulder taps (8 reps)
  • Side lift triceps press (6 reps each side)
  • Triceps dips (4 reps)

Hungry for more workout content? You can improve mobility in just 10 minutes with this beginner upper-body workout and build muscle with this 6-move dumbbell upper-body workout. How about this dumbbell arms, pecs, back and core workout? No? Try this 15-minute resistance band arm session instead.

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.