Top 10 Upper Body Workouts
When it comes to defining your triceps or building your core, upper body workouts should be an integral part of your exercise routine.
These forms of exercises are also known as a deltoid raise, delt raise or rear shoulder raise in weight lifting. They are great for improving posture, building muscles as well as boosting your overall fitness.
10 Upper Body Exercises
Below are the 10 upper body workouts we love here at Fitkit plus how to do them for maximum result.
1. Bicep curls
Looking for an upper body workout with dumbbells? Bicep curls are one of the most effective ways to build upper body muscles plus they are simple and easy to do. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold your dumbbells so that your palms are facing forward. Curl the weights upwards – to shoulder level – while contracting your biceps.
2. Resistance band exercises
This is one of the best upper body exercises for beginners and is also a great way to introduce some workout equipment. Hold the resistance band horizontally and parallel to the ground, then squeeze your shoulder blades together as you pull it apart. Do the same behind your head to work your biceps, triceps and back muscles.
3. Tricep curls
When you’re working out your arms, remember the triceps too! Want to introduce upper body exercise equipment to your tricep workout? Try holding a dumbbell, extending your arm straight up, and curling your lower arm toward the back of your neck as you lift the weight up and down. We advise you to invest in dumbbells of various weights if you want to introduce equipment to your tricep workout routine.
4. Mountain climbers
Most people do not know this, but mountain climbers are a great way to target the upper arms and shoulders – not to mention your core. Start in a push-up position and move your right knee to your chest. As you move it back, move your left knee to your chest and alternate quickly, like you’re running. If you’re looking for upper body exercises for weight loss – or simple upper body exercises without equipment – this is also a great option.
5. The plank
The plank is a great upper body workout for toning your arms, back and abs too! Place your hands shoulder-width apart as though you’re about to do a push-up, straighten your legs behind you with your weight on your toes and tighten your core. Make sure you’re not dipping too low or arching your back, and hold this for at least one minute. To alternate, swap between your forearms and hands to hold your body weight.
6. Press ups
To master the press up, move into a plank position, with your shoulders directly over your hands. Bend your elbows to lower your chest down toward the floor, and push up. Press ups are great for strengthening your triceps and require no equipment! If you find them too difficult, try them with your knees on the floor.
7. Chest press
Another simple but effective upper body workout with dumbbells. Lay on your back on an exercise mat, and hold a dumbbell in each hand. Extend your arms upwards so that the weights are over your chest, and lower them with your elbows outwards. Repeat several times.
8. Alternating punches
Alternating punches are another very easy to do exercise that also requires no equipment. Bring both hands into a fist, and punch using one arm at a time, keeping a consistent tempo as you alternate. Perfect for cardiovascular fitness as well as strengthening your triceps: a win-win!
9. Tricep dips
If you’re looking for upper body exercises without equipment, this is a great option. All you need is a bench, step, or sofa – position yourself seated with your hands palm-down, gripping the edge of the bench. Move yourself off the surface with your knees bent, and use your arms to raise and lower your body, with your elbows at a 90-degree angle. This is a great tricep exercise – and an easy upper body workout at home.
10. Side arm raises
Using a dumbbell when carrying out the side arm raise exercise is a great way to strengthen your shoulders. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, and keep your arms straight as you lift them out from your body to shoulder height. Lower your arms back down, and repeat several times.
What kind of upper body workout should I do?
The upper body workout you choose will depend on a range of factors such as your current fitness levels, existing workout routine, the space or equipment you have available, and lastly your set fitness goals.
We will always advise that you take the time to find the right upper body workout for you, as everyone is different. Do you have an impressive dumbbell collection you want to use, or are you looking for no-equipment exercises? Do you want to tone your triceps, or work on your shoulder strength?
Here are some more upper body exercises to try depending on which equipment you have available to you and your fitness level
Upper body exercise equipment
Got dumbbells or resistance bands at home? These pieces of upper body exercise equipment can easily be worked into your routine. Try bicep curls with a set of dumbbells to build your upper arm strength – or work the muscles in your back by using a resistance band, as described above.
Upper body exercises without equipment
No equipment? No problem. For an easy workout at home, there is a range of options for upper body exercises without equipment: try the tricep dips above using a bench – or opt for wall angel exercises to strengthen your back muscles.
Upper body exercises for weight loss
You can lose weight by introducing some upper body exercises into your workout routine. They help with fat burn and toning up of the muscles, which results in weight loss. Try the mountain climber position, which targets your chest, core, shoulders and arms.
Upper body exercises for beginners
We advise that you take strength training slowly as a newbie to the world of upper body exercise. Try the simpler exercises above first like a bicep curl or a resistance band exercise. Building your confidence should be your initial goal before moving focus to other areas
Upper body HIIT workout
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great way to stay in shape and build stamina. For an upper body HIIT workout, try mixing up some of the exercises below with breaks in between: 40 seconds of tricep dips, for example, with a 30-second rest – and repeat.
For all the equipment you need for your upper body workouts, check out our strength training range here at FitKit UK. Plus, explore our home gym section to find free weights or machines to optimise your home for any exercise.