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Building a perfect upper body is easier said than done. Everyone will give you “the best advice”, but when push comes to shove, only a handful know what they’re talking about. And they’re the ones who have done it themselves. When you have been trying pushups and pull-ups for a while without the expected results, it can be discouraging. Could it be that you’re not doing it right or you’re too ambitious?
The good news is that you can choose from several upper body exercises that suit you best. Upper body exercises can help you get that defined back, arms, shoulders, and chest. However, you must not neglect legs workout. A balanced body ensures the best fitness, which can be built by incorporating a mix of the best exercises for the upper body and lower body. Checkout FITCOACH that offers smart instruction videos for dynamic workout routines based on personal needs. Get access to personalized fitness routines to get and stay fit.
Tips to Build Upper Body Strength
Don’t restrict yourself to a small list of upper body exercises; you can choose bodyweight exercises that build muscles, strength, and stability. However, the benefits of added weights to build the upper body cannot be ignored.
- Challenge your muscles – keep adding weight with every consecutive set, do as many reps as you can, and reduce the rest period between sets. Even the smallest tweaks can challenge your muscles
- Eat well – the body needs protein to build muscles. Eating the right foods in the right proportions at the right time (post-workout) help your muscles repair themselves and grow after an intense workout
- Do more – don’t overexert yourself but make sure you reach your potential. Performing 3-5 sets will give you improved muscle endurance, strength gain, and hypertrophy
5 Exercises for Upper Body Workout
There’s no such thing as too many bent-over row repetitions. The exercise helps improve posture problems caused by sitting hunched at a desk. Bent over row helps reduce back pain, correct posture, and improve the overall shape.
How to do Bent Over Row - Stand straight and hold a set of dumbbells in your hands at your sides (palms facing the body). It can be done with a resistance band as well – loop the band around your feet and hold the handles in the opposite hands so that the band forms an ‘X’. Keep your back flat, knees slightly bent, back straight, and the waist bent so that the back is parallel to the floor. The arms should hang towards the floor. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you row the dumbbells to the sides of your ribs. Pause for a few seconds at full stretch and then let your arms back down. Finally, repeat.
Dumbbell punches work as a great warm-up exercise; they work all the muscles in your arms. After a good dumbbell punches workout, your arms will be prepared for an intensive strength training session. They also work as a cardio move and heat the body quite well.
How to do Dumbbell Punches – lift a dumbbell in each hand and place your hands near your shoulders. Your elbows should stick out – assume a boxer’s position. Punch with each hand alternately by straightening the elbow. Continue it for 1 to 2 minutes.
Yes, named after Arnold Schwarzenegger, the exercise was invented by the famous personality and to this day it is one of the staple exercises for upper body workout. It works all there sections of the deltoid muscle – front (anterior), side (medial), and posterior (rear) – together.
How to perform Arnold Press – with your palms facing toward your body, hold two dumbbells in front of your chest and keep the elbows close to your body. Rotate your palms outward as you press the dumbbells up above your head. When you reach the overhead position, the palms will face in the opposite direction to the body. Follow the reverse motion as you lower the dumbbells back down, finally assuming the original position. Then, repeat. The Arnold Press can be performed seated (in which you can press more weight) or standing.
Usually considered better than the barbell bench press, this exercise is a staple among the training routines of athletes, especially those who need to use their front body strength. One of the main benefits of dumbbell bench press is improved functional strength. It increases the range of motion and the best part is that you do not need a spotter to perform this exercise.
How to perform dumbbell bench press – lay down on a flat bench (on your back) with a dumbbell in each hand just above your chest. The palms should face forward. Lower the dumbbells by bending your elbows until the upper arms are parallel to the floor. Pause at a maximum stretch and then fully extend your arms upwards.
Bicep curls provide stability to the shoulders apart from building biceps. The bicep curl is one of the most common upper body strength building exercises; everyone wants strong biceps.
How to do standing bicep curl – stand straight with your feet at shoulder-width. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing away from the body. Keep your back straight and elbows locked at the sides as you lift the weights towards your shoulders with your forearms. Slowly lower your arms to the original position and repeat. With each rep, your shoulders should stay stationary.
As mentioned earlier, you can do pushups and pull-ups for an overall upper-body workout. Once you’re done with these exercises, you can add others like the dumbbell pullover, dumbbell rear-delt fly, skullcrusher curl, floor chest fly, and triceps extensions. In any case, do not perform these exercises without the advice and supervision of a trainer if you’re not sure. Weighted exercises, irrespective of the body part, can cause injuries quite easily.