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The question

Can you suggest a few upper body strength exercises that can be done without equipment?

The answer

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Push-ups are the most obvious answer, but perhaps also the most boring. In an attempt to spice up your exercise routine, I have included a variation on the basic push-up.

If the variation is too challenging, or if you want to go old school, simply do not lift your hand off the ground and perform a push-up.

Push-up and hand hover

Start in a push-up position on your hands and toes. Your hands should be slightly wider apart than your shoulders, and your body should form a straight line from your feet to your shoulders.

Bend your elbows and lower yourself down toward the ground. As you push yourself back to the starting position, lift your right hand and hover the hand slightly above the ground. Lower the arm and repeat the motion 10 times, alternating which hand comes off the ground. To make it easier, drop to your knees.

Plank stair walk

Start in a plank position on your hands and toes. Place yourself at the bottom of a set of stairs. Your body should be perpendicular to the step so from a bird's-eye view you make a T with the stair. Keep your hips as still as possible as you place your right and then left hand on the step. Hold for two seconds and then walk yours hands back down to the ground. Do five reps, alternating which arm you initiate with.

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To make it easier, keep your legs wider. To make it even easier come down onto your knees.

Trainer's tip: To really challenge yourself do 10 reps of each exercise back to back with no rest. After you have finished both exercises rest for 30 seconds and then repeat one to two more times.

Send certified personal trainer Kathleen Trotter your questions at trainer@globeandmail.com . She will answer select questions, which could appear in The Globe and Mail and/or on The Globe and Mail web site. Your name will not be published if your question is chosen.

Read more Q&As from Kathleen Trotter

Click here to see Q&As from all of our health experts.

The content provided in The Globe and Mail's Ask a Health Expert centre is for information purposes only and is neither intended to be relied upon nor to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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