The Insider’s Guide to Healthy Hawaii: No Equipment Upper Body Exercises

These simple exercises help tone your arms, chest and shoulders.

Medically reviewed in February 2022

Here are two great exercises to tone your upper body. The best part is that these two moves require only your body weight and a chair. Since they don’t require fancy equipment or a gym membership, you can do them anywhere, anytime!

Personal trainer and strength and conditioning expert Tim Rabetoy suggests these basic moves to tone your upper body. 

Chair/Bench Dip 
Targets: Arms 

Technique: Sit on a bench or a chair with enough room for your arms to be on the bench or chair right next to your hips. Place your thumbs just underneath your bottom, walk your legs away from the bench, keeping your upper body straight. Slowly lower yourself to the ground and then press back up, straightening your arms. Hold for 1 second and repeat. Inhale on the way down and exhale on the way up.  

Tip: To prevent pain or injury, keep your body as close to the bench as possible (almost touching) when performing the exercise.  

Push-Up or Modified Push-Up 
Targets: Chest and shoulders  

Technique: For a standard push-up, start on your hands and knees and place your hands shoulder-width (or a little wider) apart. Come off your knees and straighten your legs and back. Slowly lower your chest toward the ground and then press back up to full extension. For modified, do the same movement, but stay on your knees with a flat back. For both versions, inhale on the way down and exhale on the way up.  

Tip: For a standard push-up, keep your trunk tight to keep your body straight throughout the exercise. For modified, you can make it easier by keeping your eyes on your knees as you go down and focusing on touching your forehead to the ground before pushing back up to a full extension.  

This content originally appeared on Well-Being Hawaii.

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