Creative Chest, Shoulders, and Arms Workout

If you want a strong, fit upper body, this creative fitness plan could be perfect for you. This workout includes three circuits of three exercises, each focusing on different muscle groups for the chest, shoulders, biceps, and triceps. Make the workout your own by doing one circuit or up to three circuits for a longer, more intense workout. Many of the moves work more than one muscle group, making this a functional and effective workout.

Equipment Needed

An exercise ball, a bench or step, various weighted dumbbells, and a kettlebell (use a dumbbell if you don't have a kettlebell)

How To

Do these exercises circuit style for 10 to 12 reps each, using enough weight so that you can only complete the desired reps with proper form. Rest and either repeat each circuit 1 to 3 times or move on to the next circuit of exercises.


See your doctor before trying this workout if you have any injuries, illnesses, or other conditions. Modify the exercises as needed to fit your fitness level and goals.

Let's get started with your first exercise.


Circuit 1: Walking Pushup

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

How To: Begin in a pushup position with the left hand on a paper plate or band. Perform a pushup and, as you press up, walk the hands to the left until the right hand is on the paper plate. Continue pushups, alternating walking the hands to either side. One rep includes a pushup with each hand on the plate.

Reps/Sets/Duration: 10-12 reps

Change Intensity: Do the pushups on your knees for a beginner modification. Do them with your feet on a chair or bench for more intensity.


Circuit 1: Front Raise with Triceps Extensions

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

How To: Sit tall and hold weights at your sides. Sweep the arms up to shoulder level and then continue overhead until the arms are next to the ears. Bend the elbows and lower the weights behind the head to about 90 degrees. Straighten the arms and sweep them back down with control.

Reps/Sets/Duration: 10-12 reps

Change Intensity: Use heavier or lighter weights.


Circuit 1: Clean and Press

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

How To: Begin with weights in front of thighs, palms in. Raise the weights up to chest level in an upright row and in a smooth move, flip elbows down and weights up so that they're over the shoulders. Press the weights up overhead and lower back down, flip the arms back to upright row position, and lower.

Reps/Sets/Duration: 10-12 reps

Change Intensity: Use heavier weights and add a squat.


Circuit 2: Y Chest Press

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

How To: Lie on a bench and hold medium-heavy weights with elbows bent. Straighten the arms and press the weights up and out at an angle into a Y-shape. Bring the weights together over the chest, lower back down, and repeat.

Reps/Sets/Duration: 10-12 reps

Change Intensity: Do regular chest presses if these feel too difficult.


Circuit 2: One-Arm Arnold Press

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

How To: Hold a moderate weight or kettlebell in the left hand and lower into a squat while taking the right arm out for balance. Keep the torso upright, with the abs braced, and make sure the knees are behind the toes.

Keeping this position, begin with the palm facing the shoulder and push the weight up as you rotate the palm out. Take the arm back down, rotating the hand so that the palm faces in. Continue pressing the weight up and down as you stay in the squat position for all reps before switching sides.

Reps/Sets/Duration: 10-12 reps

Change Intensity: Do the move standing instead of in a squat.


Circuit 2: Side Squat with Kettlebell Curl

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

How To: Hold a  kettlebell in the right hand by your side. Step to the right and lower into a squat, swinging the weight between the knees. As you step the feet back together, swing the weight up into a biceps curl, ending with the weight straight up. Repeat all reps and then switch sides.

Reps/Sets/Duration: 10-12 reps

Change Intensity: Take out the squat, or use a dumbbell instead of a kettlebell.

Repeat Circuit: 1-3 times


Circuit 3: Chest Circles

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

How To: Lie on a bench and hold weights over the chest, palms facing forward. Circle the weights around in a wide circle as you rotate the hands.  End the circular movement just over the hips, with the pinkies facing each other while squeezing the chest.

Rotate the hands back as you circle the weights up over the chest so that the thumbs face each other. Continue the wide circles, alternating the thumbs facing each other and the pinkies facing each other.

Reps/Sets/Duration: 10-12 reps

Change Intensity: Change your weights or do regular chest flies.


Circuit 3: Incline Front Raise

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

How To: Sit on an exercise ball and roll forward so that you're at an incline, weights in each hand. Keeping the arms straight, lift the arms straight up to shoulder level. Lower and repeat.

Reps/Sets/Duration: 10-12 reps

Change Intensity: Do the move while sitting or standing, without the incline.


Circuit 3: One-Arm Triceps Pushup

One Arm Triceps Pushup

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

How To: Lie on your right side with your knees bent and hips stacked. Wrap your bottom arm around the waist and place the left hand on the floor in front of you (the fingers should point towards the right). Contract the triceps to push the body up and off the floor, straightening the left arm as much as you can without locking the elbow. Lower a few inches and continue pushing up and down.

Reps/Sets/Duration: 10-12 reps

Change Intensity: Keep the bottom arm on the ground for more support.

1 Source
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Institute on Aging. 3 questions to ask your doctor about exercise.

By Paige Waehner, CPT
Paige Waehner is a certified personal trainer, author of the "Guide to Become a Personal Trainer," and co-author of "The Buzz on Exercise & Fitness."