The upper body ( arms, shoulders, chest, back, and abdominal) is important in carrying out day-to-day activities. In fact, enjoying some of your favorite hobbies depends on how balanced, strong, and injury-free your upper body is.
Also, the upper body is responsible for your posture. Upper body strength helps you maintain good sitting, standing, and walking posture. Improving your posture could be beneficial in several ways like alleviating migraines, better neck health, and strong social presence.
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Exercises For The Best Upper Body Workout
Having realized how important the upper body is, it is important to build and maintain your upper body strength. This you can achieve through some targeted upper body workouts. The usefulness of a great upper body strength can not be overemphasized. These days you don’t even have to leave your house to get fit, you could simply use a home gym like the X3 Bar or Tonal.
Here’s a list of upper body workouts that you could choose from:
The push-up has a basic concept, still, a lot of people find it difficult to do. It takes time, practice, and gradual progression to do appropriately. If done the right way – with a fine form and full range of motion, it works on your upper body muscles such as your chest, shoulders, triceps, and abdominals. Push-ups effectively maximize your body weight to help you gain strength.
- The pushup is an example of functional movement training. That means it mimics your everyday movements. Hence, it makes performing daily tasks like vacuuming easier to do.
- It’s also a weight-bearing movement, which means it helps build stronger bones by increasing bone density.
- It’s a great exercise to start with, especially for those hoping to improve their bench press.
- Go down on all fours, making sure hands are slightly wider than your shoulder width.
- Assume a plank position i.e. straighten your arms and legs.
- Now lower your body uniformly until your chest almost touches the floor.
- Pause, then push yourself back up using only your arms
- Repeat this sequence of movements 5-10 times. (Gradually increase reps over time.)
This workout will increase your mobility and strength and all you need is a dumbbell and a bench. This exercise works on your chest and triceps.
- The dumbbell pullover is effective for fast muscle gain, it loads your muscles under stretch and induces what’s referred to as stretch-mediated hypertrophy (increase in body mass).
- It decreases your chances of having shoulder injuries by increasing your shoulder’s flexibility and mobility.
- It also improves core stability, because you engage your abdominal muscles as well.
- Lay with your back flat on a bench while holding a dumbbell of suitable weight.
- Cup the dumbbell with both hands, extending your arms horizontally above your head.
- Now with your feet on the floor and core committed, begin to lift your arms vertically above your chest.
- Without lifting your back from the bench, return your arms to the horizontal starting position.
- Repeat sequence of movements 5-10 times.
if you would to know more information about how to choose dumbbell, please read more.
This exercise will work on the largest muscle in your back – the latissimus dorsi. The exercise is specific in that it affects primarily your back and chest muscles without tiring your biceps and triceps. It’s a nice and a little bit easier substitute for pullups but with this, you can increase the intensity by adding more resistance (heavier weights).
- It builds the muscle surrounding your backbone thereby improving your stability and posture.
- It translates into increased efficiency in performing tasks that involve the pulling motion like pulling the lawnmower along your yard.
- A cable pulley helps generate muscle and strength-building tension.
- Reach over your head and with your knuckles up grasp the bar. Let your arms be slightly wider than your shoulder.
- Keep your feet on the floor, keep your upper torso stationary. Then while exhaling, pull down till your elbow can no longer move downward without you adjusting backward. This should relatively be at your chin level.
- Now while holding onto the bar gradually guide its ascent back to the starting position. Make sure not to crash it into the weight plates by releasing it too quickly.
- Repeat the sequence 12 times.
The bench press and all its variants (incline, decline, close grip, and the floor press) are barbell movement exercises, that is, they allow you to use a heavier load than you could achieve with dumbbells or kettlebells. It works on the muscles of the shoulder, triceps, and chest. The bench is a useful training regime for powerlifters.
- Significant increase in shoulder, tricep, and chest mass. Useful If bodybuilding is your cup of tea.
- It’s a heavy load exercise, therefore, it increases bone density
- Lay on the bench and adjust your shoulder blades back behind, so you don’t bench press with rounded shoulders.
- Grasp the barbell with an overhand grip, your knuckles facing up. Keep your arms slightly wider than your shoulder.
- Lock your elbows while removing the barbell from the rack.
- Inhale as you lower the bar to your chest (the nipple line)
- Exhale as you lift the bar above your chest by extending your arm.
- Repeat 5-10 times.
The pull-up is great at strengthening your biceps, lats, and upper back. Mix-Grip is a variant of the regular pull-up and a nice alternative. It strengthens your core as a result of uneven grip, and it’s also a lot less intense.
- Alternating grip prevents overuse injuries that come from using one grip too much.
- Improves anti-rotational strength.
- Grab the chin-up bar with an alternating grip – one knuckle facing you (underhand grip) and the other facing forward (overhand grip).
- Engage your core, pull yourself up until your chest reaches the bar then pause.
- Then lower yourself extending your arm
- Repeat the sequence 5 times
- Then switch your grip on both hands and repeat for 5 times again.