Build upper body strength with this six-move push-up workout

You'll work your chest, triceps, shoulders and core with this short, effective routine

A man performing a push-up
(Image credit: Future)

If you want to build muscle, you could target each area separately with moves like bicep curls. But if you're after a more time-efficient way to train, you can use this push-up workout to focus on your core, chest, shoulders and triceps simultaneously. 

Push-ups don't require any equipment at all, but when you're training at home it's usually a good idea to have one of the best yoga mats (opens in new tab) to hand. They provide better grip than your rug or carpet, so your hands and feet don't slip during certain moves, and will also provide extra cushioning to keep your spine and limbs comfortable. 

Now, if you've found a suitable space to workout, you're ready to take on fitness YouTubers Tiff x Dan's (opens in new tab) six-move push-up session. The push-up is already a multi-muscle compound exercise which works multiple areas of your body at the same time, and Dan uses several variations to hit the targeted muscles from different angles to stimulate growth. 

Dan demonstrates each of the moves in this short tutorial, so you can perfect your technique before getting started. You'll do 12-15 repetitions of each exercise, rest for 20 seconds, then move on to the next one. When you've finished all of them, go back to the start and repeat this six-move circuit to complete the workout — this should take you about 12 minutes. 

And, if you're still feeling super strong at the end of the second circuit, try adding another round to increase the difficulty of the session (this is an example of the muscle-building progressive overload (opens in new tab) principle). 

Watch Tiff x Dan's six-move push-up workout

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Although the focus is on your upper body pushing muscles (namely, the chest, shoulders and triceps) this push-up workout will still sculpt your core. As Dan says: "When you think about it, a push up is like a moving plank, so you can get a very concentrated burn in your abs, shoulders, and throughout your posterior chain as well."

Strengthening your core, which includes your rectus abdominis (otherwise known as the six-pack abs muscle), helps improve your balance, posture, workout performance and even boosts your circulation. You can use these core strengthening exercises (opens in new tab) if you want a dedicated workout. 

And if you want to build visible muscle around your arms, shoulders, and abs, Tiff x Dan's short session can help. The duo use a technique known as high-intensity resistance training (opens in new tab) (HIRT), similar to HIIT (high-intensity interval training) but focusing on strength-based moves rather than cardio. 

Exercising in short, intense bursts with minimal rest increases your heart rate and boosts your metabolism (the amount of energy you burn at rest) for fat-burning results. But you'll also need to couple your training with a post-workout shake using the best protein powders for weight loss (opens in new tab) to help your muscles recover and grow. 

James Frew
Staff Writer

James is a London-based journalist and Staff Writer at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.


In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.