When it comes to exercise, we all have slightly different goals. Maybe your focus is on building, strengthening and toning your lower body. Who doesn’t love leg day? Or you could be working on achieving solid core strength! 6 pack abs, here they come! But, if your focus is building up your upper body strength then listen up!
We all know that squats, lunges and deadlifts help build, shape and tone your lower body. But when it comes to your upper body, do you know what kind of exercises really build up which areas? There are so many different muscle groups, some large and some smaller, located in your upper body, and there are so many different exercises you can do to work them! But how do you know where to start?
Well, if you’re really looking to build your upper body strength, the most effective strategy is to combine these various arm, chest, shoulder, and back exercises into your routine. So, to help you out, we’ve put together some ideas of these kinds of exercises to help you build up your upper body strength. If you want bulging biceps, or to rock that tank top with confidence, this is the place to be!
1. Dumb Bell Bicep Curl
Sound a bit familiar? This one’s a crowd favourite and one of the more well-known arm exercises. It mainly focuses on building the strength in your biceps, while still engaging your triceps and core. It’s a winner exercise for creating strong and toned arms.
You’ll need a few dumb bells for this exercise, but don’t stress if you don’t have any. You can always get creative. A couple of filled water bottles should do the trick.
To perform the movement, start by standing straight with your feet placed hip width apart, holding two dumb bells in either hand. Next, engage your core and roll your shoulders back making sure you’re comfortable. Keep your arms relatively straight in front of your body and moving slowly, bend your elbows and bring the dumb bells towards your chest while keeping your core locked in. Slowly release and bring the dumb bells down to the starting position. This is 1 rep.
Make sure you keep your torso as straight as possible, as there’s often the tendency to throw your back into the move in an attempt to help get the weights up.
2. Tricep Bench Dips
Tricep dips are another one you’ve probably heard of (and possible avoided!). This upper body exercise seems intimidating but is great for targeting your triceps - as the name suggests.
It’s perfect for building lean muscle for nicely toned arms and the best of all you only need bench or chair!
To get dippin’, start by sitting at the edge of a bench or chair and place both hands next to your hips with your hands facing forwards and your elbows pointing out straight behind you. While keeping both of your feet flat on the floor with your knees bent, slowly take your weight on your hands.
Now, lower yourself down by bending at the elbows making sure your butt stays nice and close to the bench or chair. Just before your glutes hit the ground, push yourself back up into the starting position. Repeat and feel the burn!
If you’re more advanced, feel free to pop a weight on your lap as you perform this exercise
Loved by some, feared by many, everyone knows what these bad boys are. Pushups are one of the best upper body exercises you can do to build up your strength in your chest, shoulders and arms. They can seem daunting to start off with, but there are a few different pushup variations you can choose to either advance the movement or make it a bit easier if you’re just a beginner!
For a traditional pushup, firstly place your hands on the floor slightly wider than your shoulders and extend your legs out behind you, so you’re in a plank position. While engaging your core and bracing your lower body, push through your arms and chest until your chest is hovering just above the floor. Take a few seconds and slowly raise yourself back up, and repeat.
Easier option? Instead of extending your legs out into a full plank, prop yourself up on your knees instead. But remember to keep a flat back throughout the movements.
4. Overhead Press
The overhead press is front-runner for building your shoulder strength. You’ll need a bar bell for this one but if you don’t have one handy, get creative again and use whatever is lying around the house.
If you’re using a heavy enough weight, this move is a lot tougher than it looks – but don’t be fooled! So if you’re new to these kinds of exercises, start with a lighter weight before building yourself up to something heavier.
To begin, grasp the bar bell with both hands just slightly wider then shoulder width. With a quick motion, bring the bar up to shoulder level with your forearms vertical and facing forward. Squeeze the bar tight and engage your core. Then press the bar over your head whilst locking in your traps, and slowly lower the bar to shoulder level again.
Ensure you’re engaging your core throughout this move and keep your back strong to avoid bending it, as this will simply cause discomfort in your lower back.
If building a lean and toned upper body is your next fitness goal, then give these 4 exercises a go and start working towards it! Now remember, these are just a hand full of the many upper body exercises you can do to strengthen your arms, shoulders, chest and back. There are so many targeted exercises to help you achieve a nice strong, lean and toned upper body so try a few out and see what works best for you.
If you’re still not sure where to start on your fitness journey to building up your strength, then give us a call at 30 Minute Personal Training. Our talented and friendly Personal Trainers are always here to assist you with any health and fitness advice, and to help you achieve your goals.