6 Exercises That Target Your Upper Body

Upper body strength is important for performing everyday activities, such as carrying groceries, picking up a child or even working at your desk all day. It is important to include a balance of upper and lower body exercises in your workout routine, but if your upper body workout is a bit lacking, consider adding these six exercises. 

1. Overhead Press

The overhead press works out your entire body but particularly targets the shoulders, upper chest, back and arms. To perform this exercise, you will need a weighted barbell. In addition to improving strength, this is a great exercise for improving your overall balance and body control. You can boost the effectiveness of your workouts by using Tony Horton’s supplements

2. Pushup

The pushup works your arms, shoulders, chest and back muscles and can be performed without any equipment. To perform the exercise, put your hands on the floor, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and place your legs behind you. Lower your body close to the floor in a controlled manner and then push back up to your starting position. You can do different variations of this exercise by adjusting your hand positioning, using one hand instead of two, positioning your legs differently or resting your weight on your knees instead of your toes. 

3. Dumbbell Curls

This exercise is primarily for your biceps. You will need at least one weighted dumbbell. If you want to work both arms at the same time, you will need two. If you want to do the exercise while seated, you will need a workout bench. To perform the exercise, sit or stand with a dumbbell in one or both hands. With your elbows close to your torso, curl the weights upwards, while flexing your biceps. Pause at the top of the movement and then return the weights to their starting position. 

4. Pull-up

The pull up is a great workout for your back, arms and shoulders. You will not need any weights for this exercise, though you can add weight to make the exercise more difficult.  You will need a pull-up bar. If you have space in your home, you can install a bar that attaches to the wall or ceiling. Door frame models are also available for home use. To do the exercise, grasp the bar with both hands, about shoulder-width apart and allow your body to hang under the bar. Using your core and biceps, pull yourself up until your chest is level with the bar. Hold for a second before returning to the starting position. To get the most out of the exercise, lower yourself back down in a controlled fashion, rather than letting gravity do all the work for you.

5. Bent-over Row

The bent-over row mostly works your shoulders and back. To do this exercise, you will hold a weighted barbell, using an overhand grip, with your hands placed just outside of your legs. Flex your knees slightly and then bend forward at the hips, while keeping your shoulder blades back. Pull the bar upwards towards your chest, leading with your elbows and then return it to the starting position, being sure to maintain control on the way down. 

6. Bench Press

This exercise works the chest muscles and can be performed with either two dumbbells or a weighted barbell. You will need access to a weight bench to perform this exercise properly. Lie with your back flat on the bench. If performing with dumbbells, hold them in each hand. If you are using a barbell, you will need to lift it off the bench. Lower the barbell or dumbells until your upper arms are parallel with the floor, pause and then push the weight back to the starting position.

Whether you have access to the latest fitness equipment or just a handful of free weights and your body weight, you can get a great upper body workout. Do these exercises consistently to get the best results. 

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