While your entire body is important to your health and fitness, it’s often neglected when it comes to working out. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you want an upper-body workout that will target every muscle from head to toe in just 20 minutes, try this 4-series upper-body workout . It consists of four different exercises, which can be done as a circuit or individually, depending on how much time you have at the gym or elsewhere.
To warm up your upper body and pre-exhaust a few muscle groups, use an exercise that raises your heart rate but isn’t particularly taxing. Try jumping jacks. They’re safe for most people and get blood pumping fast to prepare you for strength training. Jumping jacks will also raise your core temperature, making your muscles more pliable for toning exercises that come later in this workout series.
Chest and Triceps
After warming up, perform a set of pushups and then move on to another upper-body exercise. For chest, you can do a variety of different bench presses or flyes; for triceps, you can use a pair of dumbbells to perform one arm rows. Complete 3 sets for each exercise, resting in between each set for about 1 minute. At the end of your workout, finish off with another full body stretch for about 15 minutes. If you want to mix things up, consider performing exercises like lat pulldowns or machine rows instead of using free weights—the key is that you get all of your upper-body muscles working.
You’ll want to focus on these muscles throughout your workouts if you’re looking to add definition without adding bulk. And remember: as always, it’s important not to overdo it! Take frequent breaks during your workout so that your body has time to recover and avoid injuries.
Biceps, Forearms, and Shoulders
This is a great workout for your upper body, especially if you’re new to exercising or are coming back from an injury. You’ll get in a good strength workout, and it will build muscle tone. This plan calls for 4 days of training over 2 weeks, but once you feel comfortable with it, you can move on to our 5-day version for better results.
The workouts are challenging enough as they are—you don’t want to try adding more sets or exercises until you know what you’re doing! If that sounds like you, check out our 5-Day Upper Body Workout Plan instead. In order to make sure that you stay safe while performing these moves, we recommend working with a personal trainer who can help show you how to do them properly. Also remember: listen to your body! Pushing yourself beyond what feels right may result in injuries. We’ve outlined each exercise below; after each one, we explain how many reps (or rounds) should constitute one set and how long those sets should last.
Remember: always complete all of your reps before moving on to another exercise. And when you’re done with your first circuit, rest for 1 minute before starting again. Repeat each circuit 3 times per week on nonconsecutive days.