5 Upper Body Cardio Exercises for Men to Burn Calories

Upper body cardio exercises are great for improving strength. (Photo via Pexels/Photo by Ketut Subiyanto)
Upper body cardio exercises are great for improving strength. (Photo via Pexels/Photo by Ketut Subiyanto)

If you are looking for a workout routine to help strengthen your muscles while getting your heart pumping and torching calories, upper body cardio exercises can help.

Cardio workouts are important for keeping the upper body muscles, including the arms, chest, shoulders, and back, strong and toned. In fact, incorporating these exercises into your regular workout routine offers several benefits.

They enhance heart rate, burn calories, reduce fat, challenge stability and strength, boost metabolism, and target different muscle groups at the same time.

The best part is that cardio workouts can be performed in the comfort of your own home with or without weights.

These can be done as part of a quick warm-up routine, standalone, or combined with any exercise schedule. You can even create a sequence of different exercises for an effective upper body cardio burnout.

Cardio Exercises for Your Upper Body

To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of five of the best upper body cardio moves that are sure to burn calories and promote fat loss:

1) Inchworm

Although inchworms are excellent full body cardio workouts, they particularly help enhance shoulder and core strength.

To do it:

Start the exercise in a standing position, with your back straight and feet at shoulder distance. Reach down with your hands to touch your toes briefly, and walk your hands out to a standard push-up position.

Complete one push-up, and walk back towards your hands. Raise your hips up; inch your feet as close as you can towards your hands, and walk your hands out to the push-up position.


2) Plank Row

Plank rows are another great exercise that works on retracting and squeezing your shoulders as you row. They also challenge shoulder stability and lumbopelvic rhythm.

To do it:

Start the exercise in a high plank position. Keep your shoulders directly above your wrists, hands at shoulder distance and legs straight behind you and placed wider than hip-width apart.

Keeping your glutes and core muscles engaged and elbows close to your upper body, pull your left elbow back to perform a row. Make sure to keep your butt and abs tight, and contracted to prevent your hips from moving.

Squeeze your shoulder blades together, and lower your arm to the start. Repeat the movement with your right arm, and continue alternating arms for another 30 seconds.


3) Wide Push-up

If you are well-versed with standard push-ups, adding wide push-ups to your upper body workout routine can be a good option to target your muscles differently.

To do it:

Start the exercise in a plank position with your legs straight behind you and hands positioned wider than shoulder width. Keep your fingers forward and slightly out. Engage your core, and bend your elbows out to your side as you lower your chest towards the floor.

Stop when your upper body reaches just below your elbows. Make sure your hips don’t point up or sag down. Press into your hands, and raise your body back to the starting position. Complete two sets of ten reps each.


4) Squat Jump

Squat jumps are an effective cardio exercise that challenges your workout intensity, targets several muscle groups, and also helps burn calories.

To do it:

Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and both arms by your sides. Squat down with your knees bent, and simultaneously jump as high as you can while extending your hips till your body is straight. Land back on the balls of your feet, and repeat the exercise with arm movements to manage the difficulty level.


5) Bear Crawl

Bear crawls are an amazing cardio exercise that challenges shoulder and arm strength while also elevating the heart rate.

To do it:

Start in a push-up position. Keeping your knees off the floor, bend down, and start to crawl forward by alternating between your arm and leg movements. Make sure to keep your abs tight and upper body straight throughout the exercise.



When practicing the aforementioned upper body cardio exercises, remember to start slow, and go at your own pace. Avoid overtraining your muscles to prevent pain.

Increase reps and resistance only when you feel strong and ready. Listen to your body at all times, and check with a doctor before beginning a new workout programme to avoid any adverse effects.

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Edited by Bhargav
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