5 Equipment-free Exercises for Your Upper Body and Core

A strong upper body and core can make you look and feel good. It can also help you prevent back pain and gives you many other benefits. To do these exercises, you don’t even need any special equipment ― your body offers all of the resistance you need. You can do these exercises anywhere you have a little free space, and you can get the same great workout that you can get in your local gym. Try these exercises and see for yourself.

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#1 – Traveling Push-up

Begin in a four-point position, with your knees under your hips and your hands beneath your shoulders. Move into a plank position, maintaining proper alignment with your head, shoulders, hips and knees. Walk one arm out to one side, and then pivot at your knees and bend your arms to lower your upper body to the floor.  Straighten your arms to rise back up, completing the pushup movement. Return to the starting position and repeat the sequence of movements on the opposite side.

Traveling Push-up

Start with one set of 5 repetitions on each side. The intensity of this exercise is light to moderate.


#2 – Traveling Row

Begin in an upright, standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart, maintaining proper alignment in your upper body. Bend your knees and hinge through your hips, crossing your arms in front of your body. Tighten your core, and then pull your arms back in a rowing motion, keeping your elbows 30 to 45 degrees away from your body. Lower your arms down to return to the starting position, crossing on the other side. Repeat the movement.

Traveling Row

Start with one set of 5 repetitions on each side. The intensity of this exercise is light.


#3 – Shoulder Taps

Begin in a four-point position, with your knees under your hips and your hands beneath your shoulders. Walk your hands forward to move into a straight arm plank position, maintaining proper alignment with your head, shoulders, hips and toes. Engage your core, and then bring one hand up to tap the opposite shoulder. Repeat the movement on the opposite side.

Shoulder Taps

Start with one set of 5 repetitions on each side. The intensity of this exercise is light to moderate.


#4 – Plank Up/Downs

For this exercise, you can either perform your push up from your knees or toes.

Move into a straight-arm plank position, maintaining proper alignment with your head, shoulders, hips, `and knees. Contract your core and bend one elbow to lower your body down to the floor, and then follow with your other elbow to move your upper body into a forearm plank position. Raise your upper body up, leading with the same arm to return to the starting position. Repeat the movement, leading with your opposite arm.

Plank Up/Downs

Start with one set of 5 repetitions on each side. The intensity of this exercise is light to moderate.


#5 – Downward Dog to Plank

Move into a straight arm plank position, maintaining proper alignment with your head, shoulders, hips, and toes. Contract your core, push back with your arms and lift your hips toward the ceiling. Return to the starting position and repeat the movement.

Downward Dog to Plank 

Start with one set of 5 repetitions. The intensity of this exercise is light to moderate.

Give these five exercises a try and see how much stronger you feel throughout your core.

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