Holiday Fitness: Upper Body Workout

upper body workout

Holiday Fitness: Upper Body Workout

I hope you did your cardio workout yesterday! If not, you can still do it today and have a half-hour workout instead of just 15 minutes. You can do it!

This upper body workout will primarily engage your arms and your core, but will also activate some muscles in your legs.

Tip: Several of these moves are isometric – meaning, you hold a position instead of moving. Remember to breathe throughout isometric holds. It takes extra effort and concentration, but it’s better for you!

Upper Body Workout – 15 Minutes, NO EQUIPMENT!

This is going to be Tabata style – meaning, 20 seconds “on” followed by 10 seconds “off.” This interval-style workout will rev up your metabolism and keep your heart pounding, but will also give you brief breaks to recharge your energy between moves. Ready for the sequence?

Here is the overview: 

  • 3 minutes: warmup
  • 4 minutes: workout
    • Plank/Pushups
    • Side Plank
    • Chaturanga
    • Walk to Plank
  • REPEAT: 4-minute workout 3 times!
  • Cool down by gently stretching out your arms after the workout.

Here is the detailed sequence, broken down for you: 

3 minutes: standing warmup 

  • Let your arms hang loose, then gently rotate the trunk of your body back and forth so that your arms “flop” long, heavy, and relaxed against your body for one minute
  • “Swim” your arms in large circular motions like you are doing a backstroke for one minute 
  • Hold your arms up and to the sides (parallel to the floor on either side of your body) and do small circles forwards for 30 seconds than backwards for 30 seconds

1 minute: Plank or Pushups 

upper body workout

  • 20 seconds – perform plank or pushup
  • 10 seconds – rest
  • 20 seconds – perform plank or pushup
  • 10 seconds – rest

1 minute: Side Plank (shift your weight to one side of your body from plank, stack your feet, and lift your other arm high)


  • 20 seconds – side plank on your right side
  • 10 seconds – rest and shift your weight to your left side
  • 20 seconds – side plank on your left side
  • 10 seconds – rest

1 minute: Chaturanga (it is like a low pushup, except that your hand/arm/elbow placement is very close to the midline of the body)


  • 20 seconds – hold chaturanga (hold it very still and low)
  • 10 seconds – rest
  • 20 seconds – chaturanga
  • 10 seconds – rest

1 minute: Walk to Plank (as quickly as you can, start in standing, reach down to touch your toes, then walk your hands out until you are in plank, and then walk your hands back to your toes and return to standing… as many times as you can!)


NO TABATA – do this move for an entire 50 seconds! Then rest for 10. 

Once you have completed the four moves, start over and do the whole set two more times!

This is an effective, fast, killer upper-body workout that you can do in just 15 minutes! This sequence can be as easy as waiting for the coffee to brew!

Tomorrow, squeeze in a cardio day, and get ready for legs on Thursday!