Upper body strength and development is one of the most essential aspects that an individual must achieve for whether you are an athlete or a common guy working eight hours a day. Upper body strength and stability is important whether you are trying to throw a javelin, switching from a right handed lay up to your left, rebounding and even in daily activities like throwing the trash or pushing that cabinet off the wall. This article provides the necessary upper body workout that you need to build mass and strength.
Compound exercises such as the barbell rows, bench press and the military press are efficient and classic moves that you must include in your workout in order to build mass and strength to your upper body. Follow this workout by performing the exercises in the order shown.
Flat Bench Press
Step 1. The very first step that you must take before engaging in the bench press is to determine your hand spacing. Hand spacing is essential since too wide a grip may put the stress to your shoulders and too narrow puts the stress to your triceps more. One way to determine hand placement is to unrack the bar, then have a partner observe when your forearms are almost vertical, with your elbows pointing downwards to the floor. This should be your perfect hand placement.
Step 2. Now load the barbell with enough weight and unrack the bar. Then lower the bar smoothly and in a controlled fashion approximately at a level with the bottom of your sternum. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you lower the bar and stop when the bar is about one inch off your chests. Make sure that your wrists and elbows stay in proper alignment, keep your feet flat on the floor at all times.
Step 3. Then push the barbell back up utilizing your chests muscles to lockout, and repeat through the next rep. perform this exercise for 8 sets of 4 sets.
Dumbbell Inclined Bench Press
Step 1. Start the exercise by sitting on an inclined bench press. Place the dumbbells on the end of your knees or at the medial portion of your quadriceps. Then lift the dumbbells to approximately shoulder height, then lean back in a controlled fashion on the bench and extend the weights at arm’s length over your chests. Make sure that in this phase, your head, back and butt are in proper alignment and firmly planted on the bench. Your feet should also be planted flat on the floor throughout the exercise.
Step 2. Your palms should slightly turn forward. Then position the dumbbells at a 35 degree angle inwards. Avoid positioning your dumbbells and hands as you would with a barbell since doing such could injure the shoulders.
Step 3. Then slowly bend your elbows as you lower down the weights to the level of your chests. As with the bench press, squeeze your shoulder blades together as you lower the weight down. Then press the weights back up until your arms lockout to the top then repeat. Perform for 4 sets of 8 reps.
Check out the Dumbbell Inclined Bench Press below:
The Pull Up
Step 1. Start this exercise by grasping a pull up bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Grasp the pull up bar with an overhand grip or with your palms facing you. Prepare the lift up by bracing your abs, keeping your head up and chest out with your arms fully extended.
Step 2. Cross your legs behind your butt and lift yourself up while utilizing the muscles of the back. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you pull yourself up until your chins almost touch the pull up bar.
Step 3. Lower yourself down slowly in a controlled manner. However, take note that you should not let your arms extend fully at the negative phase. Keep in mind that your arms must extend but not to full lockout at the bottom. Perform the exercise for as many reps as you can for 3 sets.
Step 1. Stand in front of a bar with your feet at shoulder width apart. Bend down and grasp the bar with an overhand grip, your palms facing towards you. While maintaining the natural curve of the back, your chest out and your head forward, position your hands approximately shoulder width apart.
Step 2. While maintaining your position, pull the bar to your abs while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Lower the weights down slowly and repeat for the next rep. perform for a total of 8 reps for 4 sets.
Check a video of the Barbell Row below:
Barbell Military Press
Step 1. Start this upper body workout by grasping a barbell with your hands at about 8 inches from each other. Then clean the weights up to shoulder height and push the weight up over your head.
Step 2. Lower the barbell down to shoulder height at slightly a few inches above your clavicles. Make sure that you lower the bar slowly and controllably as you squeeze your shoulder blades together for the lowering phase of this exercise. repeat for 8 reps of 4 sets.
See the video below of the Barbell Military Press:
Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Step 1. Start this exercise while holding a pair of dumbbells on your sides. Then raise the dumbbells to your shoulder height with your palms facing forward.
Step 2. Raise the dumbbells upwards over your head until your arms almost lockout at the top. However, don’t bang the dumbbells at the top to avoid injury. Lower the weights down slowly to ear level as you squeeze your shoulder blades together. repeat for 8 reps of 4 sets.
Check out the video below of the Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Step 1. Start the exercise by grasping a pull up bar with your arms fully extended. Place your hands close together at about an inch from each other as your keep your chest out, your head up and your legs crossed behind your butt.
Step 2. Raise yourself up by pulling yourself up until your chin clears the bar. Lower yourself down slowly until your arms are almost but not fully locked out. Perform this exercise for as many reps possible for 3 sets.
Conclusion. This upper body workout is designed to build strength and mass. Make sure that you perform the exercises properly with proper form and technique, and always ask for the assistance of a trainer when performing these exercises for the first time. Rest in between workouts and incorporate leg exercises to maintain upper and lower body balance and symmetry.
[stextbox id=”grey” caption=”About the Author”]Jordan Campose is a fitness enthusiast and instructor. He currently works as a health care professional with part time work as a fitness instructor and weight loss teacher for people seeking results that will help boost their confidence and strengthen their whole being. [/stextbox]