Chest, shoulders, triceps AND cardio; you get it all in this 30-Minute Upper Body PUSH WORKOUT for women. The perfect mix of strength and cardio at home — six push day arm exercises paired with cardio Tabata intervals to build muscle and burn calories.
If you’ve tried my free home workout plans, you’ve likely been following a “5-6 day workout split” without even knowing it.
A “workout split” divides training sessions by muscle groups or body parts (typically push-pull-legs). For example, Monday might be a leg day while Tuesday is an arm day. This is efficient training for athletes who are building muscle while also getting proper recovery time.
If you want to try more split training workouts, I highly recommend our FREE 2-Week SplitStrong Program. It’s our most popular workout plan, and can be completed entirely at home.
Push Workout FAQs
What Are Push-Pull Workouts?
Push-pull training structures workouts based on your muscles’ movement patterns. The key difference between push workouts and pull day workouts is the order in which the muscle contracts (shortens) and extends (lengthens). During push exercises, the muscles starts short and ends the movement long. During upper body pull exercises, the muscle starts the movement long and ends shortened.
What Is A Push Workout?
A push workout isolates the major muscle groups that work in a “pushing” motion (when weight is being pushed away from your body). Think of how your pecs or chest muscles flex as you push the weights overhead in a dumbbell chest press.
What Are The Benefits Of Push Day Workouts?
Push day workouts have several benefits. You’ll efficiently gain muscle since they are focused on specific large muscles in your upper body. Push workouts are all about weight lifting to build muscle growth (muscle hypertrophy). You’ll achieve that in this workout with weight overload or working the muscles to fatigue. These workouts also include movement overlap through compound exercises, meaning you often work all three upper body push muscles throughout a push workout. For example, while the dumbbell chest press primarily works the chest muscles, the shoulders and triceps are also involved.
30-Minute Upper Body PUSH Workout
Test your upper body strength and endurance with this at-home push workout targeting your chest, shoulders and triceps.
You don’t need a barbell or fancy gym equipment — try these six upper body push exercises with dumbbells to build strength, paired with cardio Tabata intervals to raise your heart rate and burn calories.
The combination of strength and cardio makes this a 30-minute upper body HIIT workout for women that can be scaled for beginner or advanced lifters.
Medium-to-heavy set of dumbbells (8-30 lbs).
I toggled between 12 lb dumbbells and 20 lb dumbbells during this push workout.
3 Circuits – each circuit is dedicated to one muscle group (chest circuit, shoulder circuit, tricep circuit).
2 Dumbbell Strength Exercises Per Muscle Group – 40 seconds of work, 20 seconds of rest, repeat x 3 sets.
2 Cardio Tabata Exercises in Each Circuit– 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest, repeat x 2 sets.
Alternatively, work through the push day exercises below at your own pace. I’ve included GIFs of the six upper body push day strength exercises below.
Push Workout At Home: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps and Cardio
CIRCUIT ONE: CHEST 1. Alternating Dumbbell Chest Press 2. Narrow Chest Press and Chest Fly Cardio Tabata 1. Lateral Heisman Runner 2. 4 Mountain Climbers and 1 Push Up
CIRCUIT TWO: SHOULDERS 1. Neutral Press and 90-Degree Shoulder Press 2. Reverse Grip Lateral Raises Cardio Tabata 1. Plank Walk Out and Hop Up and Shuffle Back 2. 1 Punch and 1 Jack
CIRCUIT THREE: TRICEPS 1. Skull Crushers 2. Tricep Dips Cardio Tabata 1. Sprinter Sit Ups 2. Army Crawl Burpee
6 Essential Push Day Exercises
Alternating Dumbbell Chest Press or Bench Press
Targets: The chest or pectoralis major, deltoids (shoulders) and triceps.
How To Do An Alternating Dumbbell Chest Press
Lay flat on your back (on the ground, on a bench, incline bench, or on a stability ball) with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold one dumbbell in each hand, elbows bent at a 90-degree angle with an overhand grip on the dumbbells.
Activate your core by pressing your lower back into the ground.
Exhale as you push the dumbbell in the right hand overhead, directly above your shoulders. Make sure your wrists are strong and in line with shoulders. Note, if you’re lying on the ground, the back of your arms should always hover off the mat to keep constant tension on the chest muscles.
Lower back to the starting position and repeat on the left hand, alternating the chest press.
Narrow Chest Press And Chest Fly
Targets: The chest, shoulders and triceps.
The combination of a narrow grip chest press and wide fly hits the chest from two different angles while the narrow grip chest press also engages the shoulders and triceps.
How To Do A Narrow Chest Press And Chest Fly
Lay flat on your back (on the ground, on a bench, or on a stability ball) with one dumbbell in each hand, elbows glued to your sides, dumbbells at mid-chest point, and palms facing in toward one another. Press your feet firmly into the floor.
Activate your core by pressing your lower back into the ground.
Exhale as you push both dumbbells up in a straight line until arms are straight overhead, wrists over shoulders. This is a narrow chest press.
From the top of your chest press, inhale as you slowly open your arms, lowering the dumbbells in a wide arc until they reach shoulder level (or the ground). Your elbows should remain soft and not over-extended.
Exhale as you pull the dumbbells back to starting position. Keep your chest puffed out and your elbows slightly bent. This is a chest fly.
Neutral Press And 90-Degree Shoulder Press
Targets: Shoulders; mostly the anterior head of the deltoids, but the overhead press also hits the lateral head of the deltoid. Also engages the abs and core muscles as you press overhead.
How To Do A Neutral Press And 90-Degree Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart, slight bend in your knees. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, elbows in line with your shoulders, palms facing in towards each other (neutral grip).
Press the dumbbells straight overhead, keeping elbows narrow. This is a neutral press.
Lower the dumbbells, bringing them in line with your shoulders. Then “goal post” your arms to 90 degrees, elbows going wide. Keep your elbows in line with your shoulders, rather than letting them drop down.
Push the dumbbells overhead, then lower the dumbbells back down with control, elbows at 90 degrees. Rotate the palms to face each other to return to the start of a neutral press.
Reverse Grip Lateral Raises
Targets: All three heads of the shoulder muscles — primarily the lateral head of the deltoid, but also engages the anterior and posterior heads (or rear delts).
The abs and core work to stabilize the body during this shoulder exercise.
How To Do Reverse Grip Dumbbell Lateral Raises
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, slight bend in your knees, holding a dumbbell in each hand at hip level, palms facing out.
With a slight bend in each arm at the elbow, squeeze to lift the dumbbells, in an arc shape. Lift just to shoulder height. Option to lift both dumbbells at the same time or alternate reps on the right hand and left hand.
With control, return to the starting position, palms facing outward.
Targets: Both the long head and lateral heads of the tricep mucles from the elbow up to the latissimus dorsi of the back muscle.
How To Do Skull Crushers
Lay flat on your back (on the ground, on a bench, or on a stability ball).
With one dumbbell in each hand, fully extend your arms so the dumbbells are directly overhead.
Bending at the elbows, slowly lower the dumbbells towards your head (just bending at the elbows).
Then push the dumbbells back overhead to return to the starting position.
Targets: All three heads of the tricep muscle, shoulders and core.
One of the best exercises to increase arm strength and build lean tricep muscles.
How To Do Tricep Dips
Grip the edge of a chair or bench, fingertips pointed towards your butt or toes, elbows bent. Note, you can also perform tricep dips sitting on the ground with your knees bent at 90-degrees and your hands behind you (fingertips facing your butt).
Keeping your back close to the chair, lower yourself, bending at the elbows until your elbows reach a 90-degree angle.
Press through your palms, using your triceps to push you back up to starting position.