Trainer of the Month Club

This 15-Minute Workout Proves You Don’t Need Weights To Build Upper Body Strength

Allie Flinn

Each month, a new trainer takes us through four of the most grueling workouts they have in their back pocket. Follow along weekly for new ways to sweat it out with us. See All

You don't need dumbbells or an hour of free time in order to get an effective upper body workout. Case in point: the killer, strength-building upper body workout in this episode of Trainer of the Month Club, which will get you on and off the mat in just 15 minutes.

In it, coach Kat Atienza, co-owner of Session, takes you through a a series of eight moves that'll have you feeling the burn before you even realize you're exercising. "We've got two sets of work, four exercises in each set, and you're going to be working for 30 seconds on and 15 seconds off," says Atienza. Ready to get started? Grab a towel and follow along to this quick upper body strength workout below.

Set 1

Go through the set twice before moving to set 2.

Hand release push-ups: Like normal push-ups, but harder. Get into a high plank position, then lower your body down to the ground with control. Release your hands up off of the floor, then exhale as you put them back on the ground and push yourself up. For a modification, go to your knees. Repeat until time is up.

Tricep dips: Sit on the mat with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Reach your hands back behind you, and lift your hips up like you're getting into a crab position. Inhale as you us your triceps to press down, then exhale as you use those same muscles to press into the floor and lift your body back up. Repeat until time is up.

Rotational push press: You should feel this in your obliques and your upper back. Get into a squat stance, then rotate your body as you reach one arm up toward the sky and the other down to the floor. Be sure to turn your toe for optimal rotation. "Keep your hand like you're raising the roof," says Atienza. Do the first round on one arm, and do the opposite arm on the second round.

Plank to downward dog toe touch: Start in a high plank position and send your hips up and back to go into downward dog. Touch your opposite hand to opposite ankle, then go back into high plank. Alternate sides until time is up.

Set 2

Go through the set twice.

Lat pull-downs: "This one is a lot harder than it looks," says Atienza. Grab your towel, one side in each hand. Go on your knees and reach your arms overhead. Keep your core tight as you bend your elbows pull the towel down behind your head, then bring it straight back up. Repeat until time is up.

Pike push-up: "We've got a push and a pull here," says Atienza. Get into downward dog position with your hands flat on the floor and hips pressed up toward the sky, and then bend your arms and lower down like you're doing into a push-up.

Plank row to rotational press: Start in your high plank with your feet slightly wider than your hips to give yourself a solid base. Row your hand inward, bending your elbow and bringing it up toward your armpit. Keep your feet where they are and rotate your body so your arm is pressing toward the sky. Bring your arm back down and reset. Repeat on the same arm until time is up. Switch to the opposite arm for round two.

Laying pullover: For the final move in your quick upper body strength workout, you'll want to grab your towel, lay on your back, and put your feet in tabletop position. Raise your arms straight up and create tension on the towel. Pull the towel back over your head, then bring it back up. Repeat until time is up.

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