How To Improve Your Upper Body Strength
Determination and dedication are keys for success in any form of exercise and if you are particularly interested in strengthening your upper body, there are various specific exercises that you can do to achieve this.
Your aim is to strengthen the muscles in your arm, shoulders, chest, and abdominals. There are exercises targeted to make each of these areas stronger. You should be really careful when you are doing any form of exercise and it is better to consult with your doctor before starting heavy exercises if you have had any health problems in the past. You have to know the limitations of your own body and have to work according to that.
Exercises to strengthen your chest
For a stronger chest, bench press is a very good exercise where you lay flat on a bench and push heavy weights away from you. If you are doing it manually using free weights and not in a gym or on an automated chest press machine it is better to have someone standing by to help you with lifting and keeping the weights in position. If you don’t have access to such machines or benches, you can do the same exercise with dumbbells lying on a flat surface and moving the dumbbells back and forth in a wing motion, meeting the dumbbells in front of your chest. Getting into an exercise routine can be difficult so it can be helpful joining a gym that offers varied facilities (such as different classes, sauna etc.) to keep you interested and motivated.
You can also use incline/decline benches to get a good workout for your chest which gives a total workout for your pectoral muscles. Good old push-ups are another very effective way of gaining upper chest strength. One good thing with push-ups is that it can be done anywhere without the need for any equipment which also strengthens your shoulders, arms and triceps. There are different kinds of push-ups that you can do to gain more strength. If you are a beginner, always start with the basic push up where you lie flat on the floor and get up with your palms and tip of your toes supporting your whole body. Lower yourself back to the floor, not completely touching the floor and push yourself back again and repeat this as many times as you can. You can make this harder by keeping your feet elevated on a chair (elevated push-ups), keeping your palms close together to form a diamond with your thumb and index fingers (diamond pushups), or keeping one arm tucked behind (one arm push ups). To really challenge yourself you can attempt clap push-ups, where you clap in mid-air when you raise your body from the floor. You will have to push really harder in order to do this making the workout harder but more effective. Plank ups are also effective for gaining upper body strength. Starting in a push-up position, bend down on your elbows and forearm and pick yourself up again to the starting position and repeat at least 20 times.
Exercises to strengthen your arms and shoulders
Working with dumbbells is very effective for strengthening your arms and shoulders. Bicep curls, triceps extensions, shoulder press and overhead press are just some of the exercises that you can do with dumbbells. Depending on the strength of your body, you can choose lighter to heavier weights. Another very effective method is bent over rows where you stand in a bent down position with your feet apart holding a dumbbell in each of your hands and knees slightly bent with your back straight. Now bring down the dumbbell to the front, parallel to your feet and push it back bringing back close to your chest. Repeat this for 20 reps. If you do not have access to dumbbells you can do all these exercises with a bottle of water as well.
The opportunities are endless!
Exercise isn’t confined to the gym so if you want to change up your routine there are plenty of outdoor options to have fun with friends whilst strengthening. Jogging along the beach, bike riding and swimming are all great options to change up your exercise routine. To strengthen your upper body in particular, kayaking is a fantastic way to tone your arms, shoulders and back in an exciting setting. Kayaking is not only a fun social activity but can be done in so many beautiful waters around the world such as Wineglass Bay in Tasmania and the Murray River in the Australian Alps.
How to look after yourself after a workout
Your body and muscles will be tired after exercising, especially if you are new to it. Stretching, staying hydrated, foam rolling and massages are a good way to look after yourself post workout. Treat yourself to a luxury day spa to keep your muscles happy and rejuvenated.