Full Upper Body Workout

Full Upper-Body Workout

I remember doing my first ever shoulder press on a bench in the gym. That was sooo embarrassing! I could hardly press an empty 20kg barbellΒ with my skinny arms. It must have looked hilarious! Fortunately I was there with my husband and we just had a laugh.

Arms are my biggest challenge as it comes to workout. They’ve always been very slim and for a very long time I really didn’t like them. I know the potential is there because even being very slim I could do pull-ups, push-ups and all sorts of different arm exercises as a kid, but that was a very long time ago when I was training acrobatic gymnastics… Now those are one of the most hated exercises I do. They costs me a LOT of self-discipline and determination (i.e. sweat and bad language…).

*This post contains affiliate links. Please ready my Disclosure page for details.

My latest full upper-body workout

This is only an inspiration for you. It’s my latest upper-body workout, slightly modified. Originally I started off with a set of burpees but I’ve decided to add a lying chest fly exercise instead. The whole workout took me about 40 minutes. Please remember that each workout should be preceded by at least 5 minutes of good warm-up and finished with a 5-15 minutes of cool-down stretching exercises to avoid potential injuries and minimise the possibility of doms the day after.

So here’s the plan:

The whole workout is divided into 4 sets (each with 2 exercises). In each of those sets we focus on arms + one more muscle part (mainly). Make sure you lift heavy! It’s supposed to challenge you. Speed is not important. It’s more about the quality of the exercises (contract your muscles, keep your core tight and don’t forget to breath).

Do both exercises from one set with no break in between, one after another. Then take a short break. Repeat 3 times.


  2. LYING CHEST FLY – 12 reps

Short break (I took 1 minute).

Repeat all: 3 times.


  1. ALTERNATING PLANK ROW – 8 reps each arm
  2. SINGLE ARM BENT-OVER ROW – 8 reps each arm

Short break.

Repeat all: 3 times.


  1. PULL-UPS – do as many as you can, but 8-10 is just enough I think (I did 5 with a jump, held for 2 sec at the top and slowly went down… I totally suck at pull-ups! But practice makes perfect so I hope with time I’ll get better and better).
  2. RESISTANCE BAND BICEP CURL – 12 reps (if you don’t have any resistance bands at home, you can do this exercise with dumbbells or a barbell instead)

RELATED ARTICLE: Resistance Band Booty & Thighs Workout

Short break.

Repeat all: 3 times.


  2. TRICEP DIP – 8 reps

Oh, this is going to hurt… Take a short break.

Repeat all: 3 times.

I did this workout after quite a long break from typical arm exercises and it gave me pretty painful doms (in spite of a 15 min stretching cool-down afterwards). I did it on Saturday. Three days later I’m writing this post and my muscles are still sore. Especially chest and… ABS (surprise!) Let me know if you try it!

*Since I’m not a coach but only a former acrobat and a fitness addict, please treat this workout as an inspiration. Hope it helps you stay motivated and active.

InfiDeals Amazon Dumbbell with PlatesA mini home-gym?

As you see, with a small-ish budget and a bit of creativity, you can organise a mini gym at your home! All you need is a mat, a set of weights, a pull-up bar at the door frame and a chair… and perhaps resistance bands – they don’t take much space but they add some variety and intensity to your usual workouts. I strongly recommend you get a set of those if you don’t have them yet. I write about 7 benefits of adding resistance bands to your workout in THIS ARTICLE so have a look if you’re not sure yet.

Set of Dumbbells Neoprene

Amazon Neoprene Dumbbells Set

Tell me now…

Do you do any exercises with weights? What’s your most hated exercise (any type, not necessarily with weights)? The one you have a love-hate relationship with? As I mentioned earlier to me those are push-ups and pull-ups. I feel that I’m very slowly getting better at push-ups but those pull-ups….!? OMG… it’s better that I work out at home now where nobody can watch my futile attempts of pulling my whole self up on my skinny arms… I’ll keep pushing though because I know that with perseverance and persistence anything is possible! I hope you do the same.

Hope my post has inspired you a little and you’re going to get those fitness goals fulfilled! I keep my fingers crossed. In the meantime if you liked my post, please feel free to leave a comment below and/or share it with your friends. Thanks!

All the best,



*DISCLAIMER: I’m not a personal trainer or a physical therapist. I take no responsibility for pulled muscles, sprained legs, or ligament tears. Exercise at your own risk. Always consult your doctor or a fitness professional before doing exercises from my blog.

Full Upper-Body Workout

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9 Comment

  1. Reply
    January 31, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    I have no upper body strength at all LOL. But how do you stay occupied while working out? Boredom is my biggest thing. I listen to music and try to just zone out but I could never get into weights because I get so bored! Any tips?

    1. Reply
      January 31, 2018 at 8:15 pm

      Thank you for your comment, Keri. If I were to suggest something that could help: if you work out in the gym, find yourself a fitness buddy, perhaps ask one of your friends to start working out with you. Having nice company while exercising makes it so much more pleasurable and makes the time go faster. Another thing that comes to my mind is a fitness challenge app. There’s loads to choose from and perhaps it could work for you so you might want to give it a go. What you need most of all however is a very strong motivation and a clear goal in your head. I have an article about 12 super-easy ways to stay motivated to workout. Perhaps you could find some tips there. And last but not least, perhaps simply lifting weights is not your type of workout. You need to find yourself something that you really like doing because fitness should be fun. Apart from lifting I really enjoy my Zumba classes because it’s so much fun and you don’t really feel that you’re exercising. So try different things and see what is most attractive to you.
      Good luck, girl!

  2. Reply
    Lori | Choosing Wisdom
    January 31, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    Upper body workouts are the hardest for me too! My upper body strength totally needs this workout. The plank row looks like a killer!

    1. Reply
      January 31, 2018 at 8:20 pm

      You’re right, that plank row is quite demanding, especially because you also feel your ABS working. But that’s what makes it so great, isn’t it πŸ™‚

  3. Reply
    January 31, 2018 at 6:57 pm

    This is a great set of workout that I think I can manage. I might have to start with lower weights but i’m sure I can slowly work my way up. I have super weak triceps and my wrists always seem to have issues (they feel like they’re sprained sometimes)

    1. Reply
      January 31, 2018 at 8:32 pm

      Jolene, I totally feel your pain. I also have problems with my wrists. I had to immobilise my right wrist for a month because it was so painful. It’s much better now and I’m glad I can slowly start doing those exercises which involve my hands. I’m still very cautious though. If you haven’t had that checked yet, I advise you do that. My doctor prescribed me an anti-inflammatory ointment and I had to keep my hand in this wrist brace day and night for four weeks. (that’s an affiliate link but this is exactly the same wrist brace I had) Perhaps it could help you too. It gave me so much relief! In the meantime, I think you should avoid exercises which put pressure on your wrists. Hope it gets better soon. <3

  4. Reply
    Jessica | PetiteStyleScript
    February 1, 2018 at 1:03 am

    Great workout routine! I love targeting my triceps with reverse push ups!

  5. Reply
    February 1, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    I want to be fit, yet I sit here on the couch instead. You’ve given me motivation to go find my dumbbells.

  6. Reply
    Neoprene Dumbbells set
    January 26, 2019 at 10:45 am

    Hay, nice workout content, cool info you have here I could really learn something from you especially about neoprene dumbbell set.

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