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Strength training, is an essential component of any fitness routine, especially for your upper body. Regularly working out muscles in your arms, back, chest, and shoulders is vital to keeping your upper body strong and giving your muscles definition, and it won’t give you huge, oversized, bulging muscles. If you are interested in bodybuilding that’s fine, but this article is not about it.
This article is focused on the upper body workout at home with the aim of being fit and healthy. So, you can start on toning and strengthening your upper body, with some exercises (or all of them) that will be described below, which you can do in the comfort of your own home with just basic equipment.
Why Is Building Strength In Your Upper Body Important
Regularly working out muscles in your arms, back, chest, and shoulders is vital to keeping your upper body strong and giving your muscles definition. The benefits of strength training extend far beyond toned, defined muscles, it’ll make your daily tasks easier to perform, you can add significant muscle mass across your torso, while the higher/high-intensity weights workouts will also strip away excess body fat.
But besides that, strength training also helps to improve your posture and to ward off osteoporosis.
And yes, you’ll look and feel great!
Don’t Forget To Warm Up First
Do you know that feeling when everything hurts and you are unable to lift your arms above your shoulders? To prevent that from happening, and to get the maximum benefits of your workout, a proper warm-up is necessary.
Since this an upper-body focused workout start with a range of dynamic stretches that get muscles all over the body moving, doing exercises that increase your circulation and target the muscles you’ll be working. For an upper-body workout, this could mean doing arm circles, windmills, arm swings, and spinal rotations. Also, performing light cardio movements such as walking or jogging in place can boost your heart rate and get your blood flowing.
- Dumbbell biceps curl – targets biceps
- Equipment: two or three sets of dumbbells that are different weights
How to: Stand with a dumbbell in each hand, arms at your side, feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your elbows close to your body. Arms straight, palms facing forward. This is your starting position. Keeping your chest up, core braced and elbows tucked in to your sides, curl the weights up, squeezing your biceps as you go. Then lower them back to the starting position. Repeat 10 to 15 times. Perform 2 to 3 sets.
- Dumbbell triceps extension – targets triceps
- Equipment: set of dumbbells
How to: Stand tall holding a dumbbell in each hand over your head, arms straight. Keeping your chest up, core braced and elbows pointing up, lower the weights behind your head, then return to the start. 8 reps, 2 sets.
- Triceps dips – targets triceps and shoulders
- Equipment: bench or a sturdy chair
How to: Sit on a bench (or a chair). Place your arms at your sides and your feet flat on the floor. Place your palms facing down beside your hips and grip the front of the seat. Move your body off the chair while gripping the seat. Your glutes should hover over the floor. Your arms should be fully extended, supporting your weight. Inhale and lower your body until your elbows form a 90-degree angle. Pause at the bottom, exhale, then push your body up to the starting position, squeezing your triceps at the top. 10-15 reps, 2-3 sets.
- Two-arm dumbbell row – targets back, biceps, triceps, and shoulders
- Equipment: set of dumbbells
How to: Take a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees slightly and bring your torso forward by hinging from the hips and keeping your shoulder blades back. Your arms should be extended with the dumbbells close to your knees. Keep your core engaged throughout the movement. Keeping your upper body still, engage the muscles in your back, bend your arms, and pull the dumbbells up to your side. Pause and squeeze at the top. Slowly lower the weights to the starting position. 10-12 reps, 2 sets.
Note: variation of this exercise is ‘bent over row’ using a barbell.
- Chin up – targets back and biceps
- Equipment: chin-up bar
How to: Hold a chin-up bar using a shoulder-width underhand grip. Brace your core, then pull yourself up until your chin is higher than the bar, keeping your elbows tucked into your body. Lower until your arms are straight again. 5 reps, 2-3 sets.
- Bent-over lateral raise – targets chest, back
- Equipment: set of dumbbells
How to: Hold a dumbbell in each hand and, keeping your lower back in its natural arch, bend your hips back until your torso is about parallel to the floor. Allow your arms to hang. Now, squeeze your shoulder blades together and raise your arms out 90 degrees, with thumbs pointing up, until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. 10 reps, 2-3 sets.
If you haven’t been working out lately, start with a lower number of repetitions doing 2 sets and, clearly lower weight. As you progress increase the number of reps in one set, still doing 2 sets. Increase the weight. Slowly start doing 3 sets.
If you have had any injury, please consult with your doctor first.
Do not forget to warm-up before the workout, and stretch after.
Feel good, look good
In the first place, workout for your health, you’ll also be more self-confident. And let’s not forget, workout helps you release tension. You’ll feel better and look great. Take good care of yourself.
Thank you for reading this article. If you have any question, or want to leave a comment – impression, suggestion, your thoughts, experience… please do so in the comment section below, and I’ll be happy to help you out.