Abs,  Arms,  Functional Exercise,  General

4-Step Functional Upper Body Workout

Always consult a doctor or other medical professional before starting any exercise program.
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As I’ve written in earlier posts (especially during the COVID lockdown), getting and staying fit does not require a gym membership or expensive equipment. Bodyweight exercises are an effective way to improve strength, function, and overall fitness, and can be done virtually anywhere. In this post, I detail a functional bodyweight routine for the upper body, engaging the back, triceps, chest, and abdominals. The combination of all four exercises below, will challenge your upper body to build strength, function, burn calories, and help improve your overall fitness.

1. Back Exercise: Pull-Ups


  • Function: Strengthens multiple muscles in the upper body, including the back, shoulders, and arms.
  • Benefits: Improves upper body strength, posture, and stability, which can help reduce the risk of injury and improve overall posture.

2. Chest Exercise: Push-Ups

  • 3 sets | 10-20 reps | 30-45 seconds rest between sets, you can also super set with tricep dips (below).
  • Function: Strengthens the chest, triceps, and shoulders.
  • Benefits: Improves upper body strength and stability and can also help strengthen postural muscles, thus reducing the risk of injury.


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3. Tricep Exercise: Tricep Dips


  • 3 sets | 8-10 reps | 30-45 seconds rest between sets.
  • Function: Strengthens the triceps, stretches the chest, and opens the shoulders.
  • Benefits: Improves arm and shoulder stability, reduces the risk of injury, and increases upper body strength.

4. Abdominal Exercise: V-sits (optional: use a stability ball or hand weight)

  • Function: Strengthens the muscles of the abdomen and improves core stability.
  • Benefits: Builds and strengthens postural muscles, thus reducing the risk of both upper- and lower-body injury.

Note: If the rep/set guidelines above feel too strenuous, start with a few reps of each exercise and gradually increase the number of reps and sets as you get stronger.

The above combination of exercises is curated to engage multiple muscle groups for synergistic movement that will in turn help improve overall functional fitness. Remember to always perform each exercise with proper form to avoid injury and ensure you can get the most out of every rep and set.

As an athlete for over 21 years and a broke single mom for most of that time, I created brokesinglemomfitness.com, now LLAFIT.com, to aid anyone who believes the road to fitness requires a lot of cash or time. In reality, the way to fitness is paved with knowledge and firm principles; teaching readers how to master both is the goal of this site. LLAFIT - Lifelong Applied Fitness

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