When it comes to toning, bodyweight exercises can go further than you probably think. They're fantastic both in and out of the gym, and you can do a lot of them pretty much anywhere, any time. Bodyweight exercises are a great way to get in your training easily without extra equipment or putting a strain on your body, which is always a plus. Although they can only take you so far, they'll be useful tools in toning up.

We’ve already looked at lower body bodyweight exercises, but your upper body is more than able to receive the benefits of bodyweight exercises too. Callisthenics are highly thought of for a reason after all. Here are seven exercises to get you started and cover your whole upper body.


Woman doing push ups

First up, push-ups. They're one of the most popular exercises there are. The exercise is a staple of upper body strength, and they'll put your chest, shoulders and triceps to work in one workout. They're great, and there are so many different ways to do them! If you have trouble doing them, you can always use your knees to build up strength first. Once they get too little for you, you can try decline or incline push-ups to mix things up.

Tricep Dips

Man doing tricep dips at home

You might not hit your triceps to the extent they need just from push-ups, and that's where you need dips. They hit the triceps hard and fast, and they're perfect for this. Use a chair or anything elevated and bend your arms to a 90-degree angle, lowering yourself to the floor. Press back upwards and go again for a full set.


Couple performing pull-ups

Pull-ups are by no means an easy feat, and that’s why there are so many different types. When you do master them though, they are awesome back builders and help most of the muscles in your upper and mid back, as well as your upper body as a whole. They're probably the most effective upper body toning exercise out there.


Woman performing chin ups

Similar to pull-ups, chin-ups are a challenge too. When you get them right though, they're one of; if not the single best bicep exercise out there. They might even be better than the bicep curl! You can use a neutral or an underhand grip depending on how confident you are, and your biceps will thank you for it in no time.

Shoulder press-up

Man performing shoulder push ups

Your deltoids are bigger than you may think, and they are responsible for a lot of your upper body strength. They need to be treated like it too. Shoulder press-ups are a great way to make sure your deltoids are working as hard as they need to be. The idea is to keep your hands and your feet on the floor and push your glutes upwards until your body is in kind of an upside-down V shape. Then do a press-up like motion, lowering your shoulders to the floor and back up.

Bicycle Crunches

Woman performing bicycle crunches

You can't forget about your abs when you're looking at toning your upper body, and few ab exercises are better than bicycle crunches. They are fantastic and incredibly effective, hitting the upper, lower and mid abs all at the same time, as well as your obliques. What more could you ask for! Make sure you keep your elbows outwards and twist your torso so that they touch your knee in the middle.

Inverted Row

Man performing inverted rows

Finally, another big back hitter is the inverted row. You need ropes or a stationary bar to do them, but they are awesome for your upper and your mid back. Simply grab on to a bar that is above you and lower yourself onto an angle, almost like an upside-down push-up. Then, pull yourself toward the bar and contract your lats as you do so!

These seven exercises should be enough to give you a seriously effective upper body workout without the need for any weights. They’re amazing for every muscle group you could need in your upper body, and you can even do them together in one workout!

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Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.