Fitness,  Workouts

“Quick Win” Upper Body Workout

No equipment and under 20 minutes

When I’m short on time and there’s no gym in sight, this is one of my favorite upper body workouts. Other than a chair or a bed, I don’t need any equipment – even shoes are optional (but preferred for stability). This routine is especially useful when I’m travelling or have a hectic morning at home and know I won’t be going to the gym. For example, I’ll definitely be using this workout during the upcoming spring break, when my family will be staying in Airbnbs.

The workout below is meant to be done exactly as listed. Take breaks only as needed – we are trying to be quick about it after all! I’ll list some notes and modifications below the image.

If any of the exercises below are unfamiliar to you, please consult Google.

Quick Win Upper Body Workout
  • If you need to be super quiet (eg, in a hotel room next to your sleeping spouse), make the jumping jacks and high knees low impact.
  • It takes me ~35 minutes to go through the routine twice through – forward and backward.
  • Take rests only when needed. Pushing through muscle fatigue will save time and build strength.
  • This workout is plank and push-up-intensive! Feel free to modify your planks and push-ups by dropping to your knees in order to keep moving through the exercises.
  • For the tricep dips, keep your legs straight for more intensity; bent with feet flat on the floor for less resistance.

Did you try this workout? If so, please tell me what you think!

I’ve been doing this one for years, so it’s pretty solid in my mind, but if you have any questions, please post them!

This workout is a modification of a routine I found many years ago online at olivetorun.com. It doesn’t look like the site is up anymore, but I want to give the original author credit!

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. The information I provide is based on my personal experience, education and study of dietetics, human nutrition, and biochemistry; and my experience as a runner and athlete.  Any recommendations I may make about exercise, nutrition, supplements or lifestyle; or information provided to you in person or on this website are for information purposes only and do not take the place of professional medical advice.