Upper Body Cardio Circuit Workout

Have Fun, Blast Calories, and Tighten Your Upper Body

If you don't have time for long workouts at the gym but you need to burn calories and tighten your upper body, then this upper body circuit workout is for you.

This circuit workout can be performed at home in about 30 minutes. The workout targets the chest, back, shoulders, and arms to help you get a stronger leaner and tighter upper body.

In addition, each upper body exercise includes whole body movements that help to elevate your heart rate. These intense aerobic intervals elevate your heart rate and help you to burn more fat and calories.

The workout moves quickly so you get more accomplished in less time.


See your doctor before trying this workout if you have any injuries, illnesses or other conditions.

Equipment Needed

Dumbbells in a variety of weights, a barbell, resistance band, a weighted med ball, and a step or platform. Timer or stopwatch (such as the timer on a smartphone or fitness watch).

Pro Tips:

  • Warm up for 5-10 minutes with light to moderate cardio activities.
  • Try to perform the exercises without taking breaks between each activity.
  • If you are a beginner, complete one complete circuit as your workout. If you have more time or you are an intermediate to advanced exerciser, complete up to three complete circuits as your workout.
  • Try to use enough weight or resistance so that you can only complete the suggested number of reps. If the exercise feels too easy, add more weight.
  • Finish the workout with a few minutes of easy activity such as an easy jog, a walk, and some stretching.

Mountain Climbers

Mountain Climbers

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Start in a pushup position on the floor. Alternate bringing the knees toward your chest in a running motion. Move as quickly as you can. Repeat the movement for 60 seconds.

Med Ball Push Ups


Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Start in a pushup position. Beginners can lower the knees to the floor. Intermediate to advanced exercisers should be elevated from the hands to the toes. Place a medicine ball under one hand.

Now lower your body into a pushup. As you push back up, roll the ball across the floor and place it under the other hand. Complete another pushup and continue to alternate sides. Do as many reps as you can in 60 seconds.

No med ball? Don't skip this movement! Simply do pushups without the med ball.

Front Lunge With Chest Press

Begin standing with a resistance band secured at chest level from behind. Step forward into a lunge as you press one arm forward in a chest press. Step back to your starting position. Repeat 20 times, alternating sides.

No band? No problem. Simply do lunges to keep the heart rate elevated.

Jumping Jacks With Lat Pulls

Hold a resistance band in both hands overhead and prepare to perform jumping jacks. As you jump the feet out, bring the arms down and wide, out to your sides. You'll feel the muscles in your back (the latissumus dorsi) squeezing to perform this exercise. Jump the feet back together, and return the arms overhead. Repeat the sequence for 60 seconds.

Barbell High Row

Begin standing with feet hip distance apart and knees slightly bent. Hold a barbell with hands shoulder distance about and relaxed below your shoulders. Bend forward at the hips, until the upper body is parallel to the floor. Keep the abs engaged and try to keep your back long and flat. 

Keeping the upper back strong, pull the barbell towards the chest. Lower the barbell and repeat. Keep the abs tight and knees bent (as needed) to support the lower back. Repeat 15 times. 

No barbell? No problem. Do this exercise holding a dumbbell in each hand.

Side Lunge With Arm Row

Begin standing with feet hip distance apart. Place a dumbbell in each hand. As you take a big step to the right into a side lunge position, pull the weights up in a rowing motion ending at chest level. Step the right foot back to meet the left as you return your arms to the starting position. Repeat 20 times alternating sides.

Side Squat With an Shoulder Press

Begin standing with feet hip distance apart. Place a dumbbell in each hand and lift the arms to shoulder level so that elbows are in line with the shoulders and hands are facing forward (similar to the shape of a goal post).

Take a wide step out to the right into a squat holding your goal post position. As you step the right foot back to center, press the arms overhead. Lower the weights as you step out to the left and then press the weights overhead again as you bring the legs back to center. Complete 20 reps, alternating sides.

Squat With Iron Cross

Start standing with feet hip distance apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with arms extended in front of the chest, palms facing each other. Now extend the arms out the sides, keeping the elbows soft but extended. Your body should be in a T position.

Hinging at the hips, lower the body into a squat position. As you lower your hips return your arms to the front of your chest with palms facing each other. Now bring your body back to standing, and return your arms to the T position. Repeat the movement, closing and opening the arms with each squat. Repeat 15 times.

Over-the-Step Biceps Curl

Stand next to a step or platform. Put the right foot on top. Place one dumbbell in each hand, arms extended down at your sides with palms facing front.

Jump or step over the platform moving to the right as you complete a biceps curl. You should now be on the other side of the bench with the left foot ready to step over the platform. Continue going over the top, completing biceps curls with each repetition. Add a jump for more intensity if desired. Repeat for 60 seconds.

Hammer Curl With Power Squat

Begin standing with feet hip distance apart. Hold a heavy weight in each hand, palms facing in towards your body.

As you lower your body into a squat, powering the weights forward into a hammer curl, keeping the palms facing in and the elbows close to your torso. Stand up as you lower the weights and repeat for 12 reps.

Triceps Dips With Leg Extensions

Sit on a step or chair, keeping the hands close to your hips. Slide the hips off the surface so that you have to steady your weight with your arms.

Extend the right leg (taking the foot off the floor). Now bend the elbows to lower the body a few inches. Press up. When you reach the starting position, switch legs and repeat. Alternate sides for 30-60 seconds.

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