30-Minute Upper Body Challenge

Challenge yourself to transform!

upper body challenge

Although your lower half has the largest muscles in the body, most of their daily work involves walking and sitting. Your upper body on the other hand, pushes, pulls, turns, lifts and gets quite a bit of work all day long. While we tend to place a lot of focus on the appearance of our legs and butt, our upper half certainly deserves some respect and attention too. Additionally, your upper body is what people see the most. When worked properly, your arms, back, chest, and shoulders can not only improve the look of your upper body, but the functionality as well! This 30-minute upper body challenge is all you’ll need to tone and strengthen your top half.

Reshape and Tone with This 30-Minute Upper Body Challenge

This 30-minute upper body challenge is all you'll need to tone and strengthen your top half.

Strong arms are the standard for building and sculpting the rest of your body as increased strength will allow you to lift heavier. In turn, lifting heavier allows you to build more muscle and building more muscle allows you to burn more fat! This 30-minute challenge allows you to reshape and redefine your entire upper body with a mix of fun and isolated workouts.

From fun cardio dumbbell punches to multi-muscle work like renegade rows, each exercise in this challenge is meant to rebuild, tone, and strengthen every muscle in your upper body.

The Routine

For this workout, you’ll need light and medium dumbbells (anything below 15 lbs), a yoga mat, and an interval timer, which most phones have.

Note: The advanced version of this workout takes 30 minutes. Beginner and intermediate can be completed in less time.

Beginners: Perform each exercise for 30 seconds with a 30 second break after each move. Complete 3 rounds total.

Intermediate: Perform each move for 40 seconds with a 15 second rest after each move. Complete 4 rounds total.

Advanced: Perform each exercise for 50 seconds with no rest in between each move. Complete five rounds, resting one minute in between each round.

Perform this workout two times a week and try to rest a minimum of two days between each workout. Your arms are going to be blasted, so rest is important!

  • Dumbbell Punch: Grab a pair of light dumbbells and punch away! Be sure to follow through all the way with each punch.
  • Reverse Dumbbell Fly: A perfect exercise to isolate your back muscles. Squeeze at the top!
  • Dumbbell Chest Press: Counter back work with chest work. If a bench isn’t available, use a yoga mat on the floor. As soon as your triceps hit the ground, press up to keep your triceps fully engaged.
  • Renegade Row: A perfect full-purpose exercise to sculpt your arms, back, and shoulders. You’ll also get some ab work in since you’re in a plank position.
  • Bicep Curl to Overhead Press and Triceps Extension: These are a fun, multi-purpose exercise that involves your entire upper body. Grab light to medium dumbbells.
  • Push-ups: Push-ups are always necessary for building amazing arms. If you’re unable to perform traditional push-ups, try variations with your hands on chairs or from your knees.
  • Hammer Curl to Press: Another multiple muscle exercise, these target the biceps, triceps and shoulders. Grab light to medium dumbbells.

Enjoy any of these 15 Healthy Snacks That Can Help You Lose Weight to get the most of this workout challenge.

Instructional Videos

Dumbbell Punch

Reverse Dumbbell Fly

Dumbbell Chest Press

Renegade Row

Bicep Curl to Overhead Press and Tricep Extension


Hammer Curl to Press

Have another 30 minutes to spare? Try our 30-Minute Booty Blast & Thigh Workout to round out this upper body challenge during the week.

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Trainer Clifford

Clifford is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and a lover of all things health, fitness, personal development, and community. When he's not cycling, hiking, or exploring new food recipes, he works to help others achieve personal growth.

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