Arm Day Up Next? Try This 8-Minute Bodyweight Sequence

This isn’t your standard New Year’s plan. No restrictive diets, no weekly weigh-ins, no “whole new you” for this new year—because, hey, you’re pretty great already. These four expert-led plans—designed to help you move your body, eat more veggies, get a better night’s sleep, or show yourself some loving care—are all about developing healthy habits that better align with your goals.

No matter what your activity level is, everyone can benefit from strengthening their upper body. With strong arms and shoulders, everyday movements like carrying a heavy purse or having proper posture while working are much easier. And this equipment-free arm workout, which comes to you from trainer Ashley Joi as part of our 2021 ReNew Year Movement Program, will help you do both those things...and more.

The eight-minute series will work every part of your upper body, sans weights, which means you can do it anywhere, any time (though, there's no time like the present!). You'll cycle through all of the essentials, including planks, jumping jacks, and everyone's quarantine favorite: push-ups. And if that sounds a little intimidating? Not to worry. “If you’re afraid of push-ups,” Joi says, “Training with me, you’re going to be able to do them by the end of this!” Here's to facing your fitness fears in 2021. Now let's get started.

Experts In This Article
  • Ashley Joi, CPT, six-year fitness industry veteran who currently works with Centr

Try this 8-minute upper-body workout

1. Jumping jacks with overhead press: This move will get your heart rate up to have you feeling warm in no time.  Start by hopping your feet in and out, like a regular jumping jack, and reach your arms up to the sky as you hop out and back down to your chest on the way in. If you have a light or medium weight, feel free to grab it for your overhead press for an extra challenge, but you'll still get a solid burn without one.

2. Plank up-downs: Set up in a classic high plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your feet back behind you, core tight. Next, come down to your forearms one arm and a time, then back to your hands one arm at a time. To give yourself some extra stability, bring your knees to the ground.

3. Bear shoulder taps: Get ready to say hello to those shoulder muscles. Come into a bear plank by starting on all fours and hovering your knees slightly over the ground. Then, fire up your upper body by bringing one hand to tap the opposite shoulder, alternating one side at a time.  Engage your core to prevent your body from swaying back and forth as you move.

4. Supermans: If you ever wanted to feel like a superhero and work out your back at the same time, this move is for you. And, bonus, it helps to improve your posture. Lay on your stomach with your arms and legs outstretched, like a starfish, and bring your head, arm, and legs off the floor. Squeeze your back-body at the top of the move, and hold for a few seconds before coming back down to the floor.

5. Push-up to renegade row with extension: Yup—it's push-up time. Either on your feet or knees, place your hands on the floor slightly wider than your shoulders. Engage your core (think about keeping a straight line from your head to your toes or your knees the same way you would in a plank), bring your body down to the ground, and push yourself back up. Once you're in the “up” position, raise one hand off the ground to bring your elbow parallel to your chest, and extend your hand back behind you. Switch sides. If you’re looking to level up this move, grab a weight for your renegade row.

6. Crab toe touches: This is another move that will feel great if you spend a lot of time hunched over a computer. Sitting on your butt, place your hands behind you, your feet bent out in front of you, and alternate coming up to tap your hand to opposite toe. You should feel a nice stretch in your chest.

7. Eccentric push-ups: Fear of push-ups, be gone! Now that you’ve already had a chance to master your push-up form, you’re going to hit a classic push-up with one slight change. Instead of going up and down at the same pace, this move requires you to lower your body to the ground in three slow counts, then push yourself back up with one. If this move is too intense for your shoulders, take a break in child’s pose, then challenge yourself to one more rep.

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