The Arms and Abs Workout That You Can Do Anywhere
Multitask With This At-Home Arms and Abs Workout
Who needs a gym? This fast and effective arms and abs workout circuit doesn't require any gear. For best results, do this arms and abs workout on two or three nonconsecutive days per week, alternating with cardio and lower-body exercises.
How it works: Complete each set of exercises twice, moving quickly back and forth between the two moves, before moving on to the next set.
- Set 1: Push-ups and Planks
- Set 2: Dips and Sits
- Set 3: Side Press and Sweep
- Set 4: Shoulder Push-up and Reclining Circle
You'll need: Just your body weight—and a cushy yoga mat, if you're exercising on a very firm surface.
Arms and abs workout tip: There are a lot of push-ups and pressing moves in this routine, so if you experience any wrist issues, try placing a folded towel under your palms or perform the move while holding onto a dumbbell—or modify in another way that works for you.
1A: Tapping Push-Up
- Kneel on a mat or towel on the floor. Place hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, walk knees back behind hips, and shift weight forward into arms.
- Keep abs drawn in tight and lift shins off the floor, curling heels in towards body and staying light on knees by pressing chest forward between hands and lowering hips towards the ground (without letting lower back sag). Maintain a straight line from knees through the top of head.
- Bend elbows and lower chest all the way to the floor (maintaining a straight spine), lightly tapping chest on the ground at the bottom of push-up.
- Press away from the floor and extend arms, returning to starting position. That's one rep.
Do 10 reps. Then move into the plank knee twist [1B].
(DYK the number of push-ups you can do might be able to predict your heart attack risk?)
1B: Plank Knee Twist
- Start in a full plank position with both legs straightened, feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.
- Draw abs in tight and bend right knee in and across body towards left elbow, allowing hips to twist.
- Quickly step right foot back into plank position.
- Repeat with the left leg. That's one rep.
Do 10 reps. Do 2 sets, alternating between 1A and 1B before moving onto the next set of moves.
2A: Single-Leg Dip
- Start seated with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Place hands just behind hips, fingertips facing forward.
- Draw abs in tight while lifting hips up off the floor, pressing down through hands.
- Lift right leg and extend it straight up towards the ceiling.
- Bend elbows and lower body to just above the floor. Quickly press back up. That's one rep.
Do 10 reps on the right. Switch sides; repeat. Then move right into hovering sit up [2B].
(BTW, here's why triceps dips are THE upper-body move you should master, according to one trainer.)
2B: Hovering Sit-Up
- After the single-leg dips, lower hips back to the floor, bend knees in close to chest, lifting both feet off the ground and balancing on sit bones.
- Bring both hands together and clasped behind head, elbows bent out to the sides.
- Draw abs in tight and lean back and touch lower back on the ground, while extending both legs out, as straight as you can, away from body (shoulders should remain off the floor in this extended position).
- Squeeze abs tighter to engage core even more, and then sit back up to starting position, using abdominals, not momentum, to sit all the way up. That's one rep.
Do 10 reps. Do 2 sets, alternating between 2A and 2B before moving on to the next set.
Make this arms and abs workout move easier: Instead of putting hands behind your head, reach arms out towards feet, or even place hands on the floor lightly behind hips.
3A: Triceps Press
- Lie on right side with both legs bent and together and left arm bent in front of chest, left palm pressing into the floor in front of right shoulder.
- Bend right arm under left armpit and grab the outside of left shoulder with right hand.
- Tighten abs, and exhale, pressing away from the floor, lifting upper body off the ground with left arm.
- Bend left elbow and lower body back to the floor, but only until right shoulder lightly touches the ground. Press back up. That's one rep.
Do 10 reps on the left. Switch sides; repeat. Then move onto the side plank sweep through [3B].
3B: Side Plank Sweep Through
- From triceps press position, bend left elbow underneath shoulder, propping upper body up.
- Extend both legs out straight under hips and cross right leg over and slightly in front of the left, pressing the inside edge of right foot into the floor.
- Extend right arm straight up towards the ceiling and lift body off the floor, pressing up through the left side of body, into a side plank.
- Take right arm and sweep it under and behind body, reaching underneath the left side of ribcage. Exhale and squeeze abdominals in tighter and allow hips and feet to twist naturally into the movement.
- Open right arm back up towards the ceiling, returning to starting side plank pose. That's one rep.
Do 10 reps on the left. Switch sides; repeat. Do 2 sets, alternating between 3A and 3B before moving on to the next set.
4A: Shoulder Push-Up
- Start standing with feet hip-width apart.
- Fold body forward from hips, bending knees until both hands are flat on the floor in front of feet.
- Walk hands out and away from legs until body is in an upside-down "V" position, pressing chest back towards thighs, sharing weight between arms and legs.
- Extend left leg straight up towards the ceiling.
- Bend both elbows and bring top of head closer to the mat (be sure to keep chin tucked into chest to avoid straining neck).
- Press away from the floor and straighten your arms. That's one rep.
Do 5 reps on the left. Switch sides; repeat. Then move to move to the reclining circle [5B].
Make this arms and abs workout move easier: Keep both feet on the floor or make shoulder push-up smaller by only slightly bending your elbows. (Related: This 30-Day Push-Up Challenge Will Seriously Sculpt Your Arms)
4B: Reclining Circle
- From shoulder push-up, quickly lower body down onto the ground into a seated position, knees bent and feet flat on the floor in front of body.
- Lean back and shift weight onto forearms, keeping fingertips pointing towards feet, with lower back lifted off the floor.
- Draw abs in and lift feet off the floor, keeping knees bent.
- Maintaining a 90-degree angle with legs, trace a circle from the right around to the left. That's one rep.
Make 5 circles to the right. Switch sides; repeat. Do 2 sets, alternating between 5A and 5B, then move right along to a cooldown (don’t skip that part!).