Build upper body strength in just 15-minutes with this no-equipment bodyweight workout

You don't need gym equipment to train your upper body - just give this short bodyweight routine a go

Man does a side plank
(Image credit: Getty)

Building strength and muscle with weights is extremely popular, especially when it's so easy to buy your own weights for home gym use. However, bodyweight exercises are great at improving muscle strength and this 15-minute upper body workout is a perfect example of this.

Not all of the best workouts for arms have to include dumbbells or machines to get results. If you're looking to develop upper body strength and create some definition around your arm, shoulders, and back then workout instructor Gains by Brains has you sorted.

Gains by Brains (opens in new tab), also known as Sophie van Oostenbrugge, creates fitness routines suitable for home and gym use. This particular routine relies fully on your own body weight and will have you pack in 12 upper body moves into a quarter of an hour.

It's a HIIT style workout so you will work on each exercise for 45 seconds each with 15-second rest periods between. This style of workout is not only good at building up strength but it is also excellent if you want to burn fat as you try to gain lean muscle mass. 

For such a short session there are a variety of different moves to power through. We've listed all the moves you will need down below so that you can use them as and when you wish to get an upper-body pump on.

  • Pike shuffle
  • Single arm push up
  • Shoulder taps
  • Rolling plank
  • Supermans
  • Prime arm circle
  • Push ups
  • Plank
  • Plank opener
  • Tricep dips
  • Commandos
  • Side plank reach

As there aren't a set amount of reps to complete for each exercise you will want to ensure you are performing each move with the correct form and letting your muscles feel the tension as you work against your own body weight.

Jessica Downey
Jessica Downey

Jessica is Staff Writer at Fit&Well. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition. 


When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.