Whether you’re male or female, losing weight or just toning muscle, it’s important that you have a few upper body workouts on which you can rely. A well rounded upper body workout–which should work the chest, shoulders, back and arms–will give your body sleek lines and a healthy physique worth the effort. You don’t want tiny arms, huge pecs and a four-pack, do you?
[He taught us the importance of spinach, but Popeye is proof of what happens when you don't balance your upper body workouts!]
To make sure your upper body is getting a proper workout, it’s important that all upper body muscles get worked consistently. Keep reading to find out how you can get the upper body you’ve always wanted!
The most vital aspect of any workout is maintaining the integrity of each exercise you perform. This is especially true when it comes to upper body workouts because there are so many different muscles to pull or strain…mainly the back. A well-rounded upper body workout will include exercises that work the arms. chest, back, and shoulders, and you should make sure you perform each one properly to avoid physical injury.
If you find an upper body exercise that you aren’t familiar with, ask someone at your local gym or find a resource you trust that demonstrates the movement. It’s better to admit that you don’t know how to perform an exercise rather than attempt it and injure yourself. Injuries can sideline your efforts to burn fat and build or tone muscles effectively.
2. United or Divided?
When it comes to resistance training like upper body workouts, you have to be honest about how often you will work out. Whether you hit the gym regularly (3 days or more per week) or infrequently (2 or fewer times each week), you must choose how to complete your upper body workouts. You have the choice of floor exercises like push ups, machines, free weights and even resistance bands for the shoulders and back.
Now the important decision is to unite those upper body workouts or divide them? If you workout regularly you can maximize your upper body workouts by dividing them into two days. The first upper body day can be devoted to working the chest and arm muscles thoroughly. After a day of resistance training rest, you can resume your upper body workout by working the shoulders and back.
The great thing is that many upper body exercises work more than one muscle, allowing you to work your problem areas (triceps, anyone?) a little more than the rest!
If you don’t work out as frequently as you know you should, your best option is to complete your upper body workout in one day. By working all upper body muscles, you make sure each part gets a balanced workout…just in case you don’t come back this week. If you happen to work out more regularly one week, you can get two full upper body workouts rather than one and still have time for cardio!
3. Divide & Conquer
Whether you complete your upper body workouts in one day or two, it’s important that you alternate exercises. Your muscles need recovery time in order to have success so you should pick an upper body rotation for your workout. If you begin with a chest exercise, move on to the back then shoulders, biceps and triceps, before returning to do perform another set of chest exercises.
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By dividing up your upper body workout and conquering each muscle, you allow each muscle to get an effective workout without getting fatigued. No matter how frequently you workout, you should always create a ‘playlist’ of sorts for your upper body workout.
No matter how serious you are about losing weight and getting in shape, you must take at least one full day off from working out each week. The muscles that you work so hard to tone all week need to rest and recover for next week’s workout. This is especially crucial for those of you who workout regularly. Your results will begin to stagnate if you continue to overwork yourself. One day of rest is required to maximize your upper body workouts