4 Key Exercises for Upper Body Health

May 14, 2014

By: Steven Thrash

Are you ready to see results? You’ve taken the first step and decided you want to pursue a healthier lifestyle. You’re eating healthy and you’ve joined your local gym. Now what? It’s time to come up with a routine to maximize your results. Men, here are four great exercises, for your upper body, so you can get started on a more sculpted, muscular you.

  1. PUSHUPS —This is a great exercise for not only your shoulders, but your chest, back and abdominals too. And no equipment is required. Get on the floor with your palms at shoulder level and make sure your fingers are pointing forward. Keep your back straight and push yourself up until your body weight is held up by your palms and toes. After you reach this position, lower your body and repeat. If you want to put more emphasis on your chest, place your hands wider than your shoulders. If you want to work more on your back and triceps, bring your hands closer together.
  2. BARBELL CURLS -– This focuses primarily on your biceps. Grab the barbell with your hands gripping the bar shoulder width apart. With your elbows at your sides, raise the bar until your forearms are vertical and then lower the bar until your arms are fully extended. You then repeat the desired number of repetitions. You can also use the bicep machine, in your local gym, or you can utilize dumbbells to perform this workout. Many people prefer using dumbbells, because each bicep is in use. In other words, one bicep can’t take on more of the weight of the barbell than the other bicep. So, there’s no cheating involved like you might experience using the gym’s machine or a barbell.
  3. THE MILITARY PRESS -– The target muscles here are your triceps. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and then grab a barbell. The bar should rest on the tip of your breast bone with your arms ready to push the bar. Make sure your grip is shoulder width or wider, in the beginning, and to work the triceps more you can always use a closer grip later. Push the bar slowly above your head. Lower the bar in the same manner and then repeat. Again, you can substitute dumbbells if you want to give each of your triceps and equal workout.
  4. SITUPS -– Lastly, this exercise will work out your core and focus on abdominal muscles. Lie on the floor and place your feet under something stable. If you’re working out with someone, you can have them hold your feet down. Be sure and bend your knees and then put your hands behind your head and lock them together. Elevate your upper body and contract. After you feel the contraction, lower your upper body back down to the floor. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions. And although it’s more difficult, you can work out your abdominals much better if you can stabilize your feet without assistance.

You should do three sets of 8-10 repetitions of each for these exercises. If you’re more interested in strength, you should increase your weight/resistance and do less reps, however, if you want to focus on tone, simply do more repetitions with lighter weight. In either case, these four exercises will give you a fantastic workout in only 20-30 minutes.