30-Minute Upper Body PUSH Workout (Chest, Shoulders, Triceps + Cardio)

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 training plan” without even knowing it.

A “workout split” divides training sessions by muscle groups or body parts. For example, training legs on Monday and arms on Tuesday.

Today we are specifically targeting the upper body PUSH MUSCLES — chest, shoulders and triceps. 

Push Day Exercises| lateral raise with dumbbells

What are Push/Pull Workouts? 

A push/pull workout split breaks the muscle groups down into two categories, depending on whether the “work” of the exercise is happening when the muscle is lengthening (push) or contracting (pull).

The key difference between push workouts and pull workouts is the order in which the muscle contracts (shortens) and extends (lengthens).

  • During push exercises, the muscle starts short and ends the movement long.
  • During pull exercises, the muscle starts the movement long and ends shortened.

What is a Push Workout?

A push workout isolates the muscles that work in a “pushing” motion or 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.

An upper body push workout targets the:

  • Chest Muscles (Pecs)
  • Shoulder Muscles (Deltoids)
  • Tricep Muscles

What is a Pull Workout?

On the contrary, a pull workout or pull day focuses on muscles that contract when you pull the weight towards you; pulling movements.

Think of how your bicep flexes as you pull the weights up towards your shoulder in a bicep curl.

In my opinion, the best workout routines include training legs 1-2 days per week, one upper body push workout per week and one upper body pull workout per week. 

Push Day Workout Exercise | dumbbell chest press

What are the Benefits of Push Day Workouts?

  1. Efficiently Gain Muscle — push day workouts are focused on specifically building shoulder, chest and tricep strength.
  2. Movement Overlap — while the dumbbell chest press primarily works the chest muscles, the shoulders and triceps are also involved in the movement. Therefore, you are often working all three upper body push muscles throughout the entire push workout.
  3. Muscle Hypertrophy and Recovery — weight lifting to build muscle growth (muscle hypertrophy) happens with weight overload or working the muscles to fatigue. This push workout will work your chest, shoulders and triceps to fatigue and should only be done once a week so the upper bodypush muscles can rest, repair and recover.

What are the Best Upper Body Push Day Exercises?

  • CHEST EXERCISES: Push Ups, Chest Presses and Chest Flies
  • SHOULDER EXERCISES: Lateral Raises, Front Raises and Overhead Presses
  • TRICEPS EXERCISES: Tricep Dips, Triceps Extensions and Skull Crushers

For more of the best upper body push day exercises try these muscle-specific workouts: 

Best Upper Body Push Day Exercises | Chest Press

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!

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. 

Add this upper body push day workout to your workout routine once a week.

Equipment:

Medium-to-heavy set of dumbbells (5-30 lbs). 

I toggled between 12 lb dumbbells and 20 lb dumbbells during this push workout.

Instructions:

Follow along with the guided Push Workout video at the top of this post.  I’ll provide form cues for all six push day exercise.

The format looks like this:

  • 3 Circuits – each circuit is dedicated to one muscle group (chest circuit, shoulders circuit, triceps circuit)
  • 2 Dumbbell Strength Exercises Per Muscle Group — completed in 40/20 splits (40 seconds of work, 20 seconds of rest) x 3 sets
  • 2 Cardio Tabata Exercises in Each Circuit 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 for Women Pin for Pinterest

CIRCUIT ONE: CHEST and ARMS
Strength (40 seconds work/20 seconds rest, repeat x3 sets)
1. Alternating Dumbbell Chest Press
2. Narrow Chest Press + Chest Fly
X3 Sets
Cardio Tabata (20 seconds work/10 seconds rest, repeat x2 sets)
1. Lateral Heisman Runner
2. 4 Mountain Climbers + 1 Push Up
X2 Sets

CIRCUIT TWO: SHOULDERS and ARMS
Strength (40 seconds work/20 seconds rest, repeat x3 sets)
1. Neutral Press + 90 Degree Shoulder Press
2. Reverse Grip Lateral Raises
X3 Sets
Cardio Tabata (20 seconds work/10 seconds rest, repeat x2 sets)
1. Walk Out Plank + Hop Up + Shuffle Back
2. 1 Punch + 1 Jack
X2 Sets

CIRCUIT THREE: TRICEPS and ARMS
Strength (40 seconds work/20 seconds rest, repeat x3 sets)
1. Skull Crushers
2. Tricep Dips
X3 Sets
Cardio Tabata (20 seconds work/10 seconds rest, repeat x2 sets)
1. Sprinter Sit Ups
2. Army Crawl Burpee
X2 Sets

6 Essential Push Day Exercises

1. Alternating Dumbbell Chest Press or Bench Press

Muscles Worked: Primarily targets the chest muscle or pectoralis major. This chest exercise also engages the deltoids (shoulders) and triceps.

dumbbell chest press

How to do an Alternating Dumbbell Chest Press:

  1. 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. Holding one dumbbell in each hand, elbows bent at a 90 degree angle. Overhand grip on dumbbells.
  2. Activate your core by pressing your lower back into the ground.
  3. Exhale as you push the dumbbelll in the right hand overhead, finishing 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. 
  4. Lower back to starting position and repeat on the left hand.
  5. Repeat for 40 seconds of work.

2. Narrow Chest Press + Chest Fly

Muscles Worked: The combination of a narrow grip chest press and wide fly hits the chest from two different angles. The narrow grip chest press also engages the shoulders and triceps.

push day chest press and chest fly

How to do a Narrow Chest Press + Chest Fly:

  1. 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.
  2. Activate your core by pressing your lower back into the ground.
  3. Exhale as you push both dumbbells up in a straight line, ending with your arms straight overhead, wrist over shoulders. This is a narrow chest press.
  4. 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.
  5. Exhale as you pull the dumbbells back to starting position. Keeping your chest puffed out and your elbows slightly bent. This is a chest fly.
  6. Repeat these two movements for 40 seconds of work.

3. Neutral Press + 90 Degree Shoulder Press

Muscles Worked: 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

Overhead Shoulder Press

How to do a Neutral Press + 90 Degree Shoulder Press:

  1. 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).
  2. Press the dumbbells straight overhead, keeping elbows narrow. This is a neutral press.
  3. 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.
  4. Push dumbbells overhead, then lower the dumbbells back down with control, elbows at 90 degrees. Rotate palms to face each other to return to the start of a neutral press.
  5. Repeat these two movements for 40 seconds of work.

4. Reverse Grip Lateral Raises

Muscles Worked: 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). And the abs and core work to stabilize the body during this shoulder exercise.

Lateral Raises

How to do a Reverse Grip Lateral Raise:

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, slight bend in your knees, holding a dumbbell in each hand at hip level, palms facing out.
  2. With 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 right hand and left hand.
  3. With control, return to starting position, palms facing outward.
  4. Repeat this movement for 40 seconds of work.

5. Skull Crushers

Muscles Worked: the back of the arm, the triceps! Working the long head and lateral heads of the tricep mucles from the elbow up to the latissimus dorsi of the back muscle.

Skull Crushers Tricep Exercise

How to do Skull Crushers:

  1. Lie flat on the ground or on a bench or stability ball.
  2. With one dumbbell in each fully extend your arms so the dumbbells are directly overhead.
  3. Bending at the elbows slowly lower the dumbbells towards your head (just bending at the elbows).
  4. Then push the dumbbells back overhead to return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for 40 seconds of work.

6. Tricep Dips

Muscles Worked: one of the best exercises to increase arm strength and build lean tricep muscles. Working all three tricep muscles, as well as engaging the shoulders and core.

Tricep Dips | Best tricep exercise

 

How to do Tricep Dips:

  1. Grip the edge of a chair or bench, fingertips pointed toward 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).
  2. Keeping your back close to the chair, lower yourself, bending at the elbows until your elbows reach a 90 degree angle.
  3. Press through your palms, using your triceps to push you back up to starting position.
  4. Repeat for 40 seconds of work.

More of the Best Upper Body Workouts for Women:

Pin this 30-Minute Upper Body Push Day Workout

Push Day Workout: Shoulders, Chest and Triceps

8 comments
  1. Hi Lindsey!

    Thank you so much for your great workouts! I love the variety and how challenging you make them. Do you know where you got the top you are wearing in this video?

    Thanks again!
    Sara

  2. I do your workouts every week! Love them. This one killed me. So weak in my arms. Love the encouragement and direction you give! Thanks for helping me get strong!!