upper body workout

The Best Upper Body Workout Routine for Beginners

If you’re new to lifting weights, you may want to first understand which muscle groups you need to work: shoulders, chest, back, heads, triceps, core, etc. This may sound like a lot of exercise, but you don’t need to do a lot to reap the benefits of lifting weights. Such as making your upper body stronger, reducing body fat, and strengthening muscle groups.

Many beginners will choose to start with a full-body workout, but this is not the only option. If you want to achieve fitness results faster, you can split up your workouts to target different muscle groups. This beginner upper body workout is perfect for those who want to strength train. It includes dumbbell exercises that target the muscles of the upper body and core. You can choose to start building strength and muscle, laying the foundation for you to move on to more challenging workouts.

As a beginner, it’s important to choose your weight carefully. Beginners should be cautious when starting an upper body workout: use lighter weights so you can perfect your form right from the start. This way you can focus on upper body workout and perform the correct exercises. Once your body gets used to these exercises, you may be able to try using heavier weights. Want to learn upper body workout? Do you want upper body workouts to have a place in your daily training? Figure out which moves work better for you and take the time to do them.

Starting an upper body workout program can be exciting, but where should you start? What exercises should you do? Once you have the details and plan for an upper body workout and start implementing it, you will realize how enjoyable and empowering upper body workouts can be.

Below, we will give you a more detailed understanding of the benefits of upper body workout and help you find an exercise schedule that suits you. We’ll also walk you through proper upper body workout warm-up techniques and the upper body workout exercises our team at Relife Sports considers to be the most effective, so you have enough knowledge to safely incorporate these exercises into your daily workout.

What Are the Key Benefits of Upper Body Workouts?

Upper body workouts provide numerous benefits for your overall health and fitness.

Increased strength
Upper body workouts target muscles in your arms, shoulders, chest, and back, helping to build strength and improve muscle tone. This can enhance your ability to perform daily activities, such as lifting objects or carrying groceries.

Improved posture
Strengthening the muscles in your upper body can help correct posture imbalances and reduce the risk of developing poor posture-related issues, such as rounded shoulders or a hunched back.

Enhanced functional movement
Upper body workouts involve movements like pushing, pulling, and reaching, which are essential for performing various tasks in daily life. By improving your upper body strength, you can enhance your ability to perform functional movements with ease.

Increased bone density
Resistance training, which is often part of upper body workouts, helps stimulate bone growth and increase bone density. This can be especially beneficial in preventing conditions like osteoporosis later in life.

Boosted metabolism
Intense upper body workouts can increase your heart rate and activate multiple muscle groups simultaneously.

Improved athletic performance
Strong upper body muscles are crucial for many sports and physical activities. By incorporating upper body workouts into your training routine, you can enhance your performance in activities like swimming, rock climbing, tennis, and more.

Increased overall balance and stability
A well-rounded upper body workout includes exercises that engage your core muscles. Strengthening your core along with your upper body can improve your overall balance and stability, reducing the risk of falls or injuries.

How Often Should I Train My Upper Body?

The frequency of upper body training depends on several factors, including your fitness goals, current fitness level, and recovery ability. In general, it’s recommended to train your upper body 2-3 times per week with at least one day of rest between sessions to allow for adequate recovery.

If you’re a beginner, starting with 2 upper body sessions per week and gradually increasing to 3 as your strength and endurance improve is a good approach. It’s important to listen to your body and allow for sufficient rest between workouts to prevent overtraining and reduce the risk of injury. Remember that proper nutrition, hydration, and adequate sleep also play crucial roles in recovery and muscle growth.

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Warm Up Stretches Before Your Strength Training Session

Warm up stretches are essential before starting a strength training session. They help increase blood flow to the muscles, improve flexibility, and reduce the risk of injury.

Shoulder Rolls
Roll your shoulders forward in a circular motion, and then backward. This helps loosen up the shoulder joints.

Side Bends
Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Repeat on the other side. This stretch targets the side muscles (obliques).

Forward Fold
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hinge at the hips, and slowly lower your upper body towards the ground. Allow your arms to hang down or reach for your toes. This stretch targets the hamstrings and lower back.

Lunges
Step forward with one leg, keeping the front knee directly above your ankle. Lower your back knee towards the ground while maintaining an upright posture. Repeat on the other side. This stretch warms up the hip flexors and quadriceps.

Remember to hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds and perform them in a controlled, comfortable manner. Avoid bouncing or jerking movements. Additionally, it’s important to gradually increase the intensity of your stretches as your muscles warm up.

Most Effective Upper Body Strength Training Exercises

Numerous effective upper body strength training exercises target different muscle groups.

Push-Ups

1. Start in a prone position on the floor, with your hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Your arms should be fully extended, and your hands should be directly under your shoulders.
2. Keep your body in a straight line from head to heels, engaging your core muscles to maintain stability.
3. Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor, keeping your elbows close to your sides and at a 45-degree angle to your torso. It’s important to maintain a neutral neck position throughout the movement.
4. Push through your hands and extend your elbows to raise your body back to the starting position, fully extending your arms without locking out the elbows.

To modify the intensity or target different muscle groups, you can adjust your hand position (e.g., closer together for triceps emphasis, wider apart for chest emphasis) or elevate your feet on a bench or platform to increase the challenge.

Muscles worked: chest, shoulders, triceps, and core

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Pull-Ups/Chin-Ups

1. Start by grasping an overhead horizontal bar with your palms facing away from you for pull-ups or with your palms facing towards you for chin-ups.
2. Hang from the bar with your arms fully extended, engaging your core muscles to maintain stability.
3. Pull your body up towards the bar until your chin clears the bar (for chin-ups) or until your chest approaches the bar (for pull-ups). Keep your elbows close to your sides and focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together as you pull up.
4. Lower your body back down to the starting position with control, fully extending your arms without letting your shoulders sag forward.

To modify the intensity or target different muscle groups, you can adjust your grip width or use an assisted machine if needed. Pull-ups and chin-ups are challenging exercises that require significant upper body strength, but they offer a variety of benefits, including improved back and arm strength, increased grip strength, and improved posture. They can also be a valuable addition to any bodyweight or strength training routine.

Muscles worked: lats, biceps, and forearms

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Bench Press

1. Lie flat on a bench, ensuring that your feet are firmly planted on the floor for stability. Your head, upper back, and buttocks should be in contact with the bench throughout the movement.
2. Your palms should be facing away from you (overhand grip) or towards you (underhand grip), depending on your preference.
3. Lift the barbell off the rack and position it directly above your chest with your arms fully extended. This is your starting position.
4. Inhale and slowly lower the barbell towards your chest, keeping your elbows at a 45-degree angle to your torso. Lower the bar until it touches your chest or hovers just above it.
5. Exhale and push the barbell back up to the starting position by extending your arms, while keeping your shoulder blades squeezed together and maintaining a stable, neutral spine.

The bench press is an effective exercise for developing upper body strength, particularly the chest muscles. It can be incorporated into a comprehensive strength training routine to target multiple muscle groups and promote overall upper-body strength and stability.

Muscles worked: Chest muscles, shoulders, and triceps

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Shoulder Press

1. Stand or sit with your feet shoulder-width apart and your core engaged for stability.
2. Inhale and press the dumbbells straight up overhead, fully extending your arms without locking your elbows. Keep your shoulder blades squeezed together and your chest lifted throughout the movement.
3. Exhale and slowly lower the dumbbells back down to shoulder height, keeping your elbows at a 90-degree angle to your torso.

In addition to targeting the deltoid muscles, the shoulder press also engages the triceps and upper back muscles. It can be performed using dumbbells, a barbell, or a shoulder press machine and is often included in upper body strength training routines to improve shoulder strength and stability.

Muscles worked: Deltoid muscles

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Dumbbell Rows

1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in your right hand.
2. Allow your right arm to hang straight down towards the floor.
3. Inhale and pull the dumbbell up towards your chest, keeping your elbow close to your side and your shoulder blade squeezed down and back. Your upper arm should be parallel to your torso when you reach the top of the movement.
4. Exhale and slowly lower the dumbbell back down to the starting position, fully extending your arm without letting your shoulder sag forward.
5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions, then switch sides.

Dumbbell rows are a versatile exercise that can be performed using various equipment, such as a bench or other supportive surface. They help to improve upper body strength and posture and can be incorporated into a comprehensive strength training routine to target multiple muscle groups.

Muscles worked: Back, biceps and forearms

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Dips

1. Stand between two parallel bars and grip each bar with your palms facing inward. Jump or step up to support your body weight on your arms, keeping your elbows slightly bent.
2. Straighten your arms to lift your body off the ground, and then slightly lean forward while maintaining a straight torso and engaged core.
3. Lower your body by bending your elbows until your upper arms are parallel to the ground or at a 90-degree angle, ensuring that your elbows don’t flare out to the sides.
4. Push through your hands to extend your elbows and return to the starting position.

Dips are an effective bodyweight exercise for building upper body strength and can be beneficial for developing chest, shoulder, and triceps muscles. However, it’s essential to ensure proper form and not to overload the exercise with excessive weight, especially for beginners.

Muscles worked: Triceps, chest and shoulders

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Overhead Press

1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and grip the barbell with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Position the barbell at shoulder height, resting on the front of your shoulders with your elbows pointing forward.
2. Inhale, brace your core and push the barbell upward by extending your arms and straightening your elbows. As you press the bar overhead, move your head back slightly to allow the bar to clear your face.
3. Continue pressing the bar until your arms are fully extended without locking your elbows at the top of the movement.
4. Exhale and slowly lower the barbell back down to the starting position at your shoulders.

The overhead press is an effective exercise for developing upper body strength and shoulder stability. It can be incorporated into a comprehensive strength training routine to target the deltoid and triceps muscles and promote overall upper body strength.

Muscles worked: Deltoid muscles, triceps

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Bicep Curls

1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand at arm’s length by your sides, with your palms facing forward.
2. Keeping your upper arms stationary and your elbows close to your sides, exhale and curl the weights while contracting your biceps. Rotate your palms to face upward as you lift the dumbbells.
3. Continue to curl the weights until your biceps are fully contracted and the dumbbells are at shoulder level.
4. Inhale and slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position, fully extending your arms without locking your elbows.

Bicep curls can be performed using various equipment, such as dumbbells, barbells, or resistance bands, and can be an effective way to strengthen and tone the biceps. They are commonly included in upper body strength training routines and can be adapted to target different parts of the biceps by varying grip and arm positions.

Muscles worked: Biceps muscles

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Tricep Dips

1. Sit on the edge of a bench or chair and place your hands on either side of your hips, with your fingers pointing forward. Ensure that your hands are securely gripping the edge of the bench or chair.
2. Slide your hips forward off the bench or chair and extend your legs out in front of you, keeping your heels on the ground and your knees slightly bent.
3. Keep your elbows close to your sides and exhale as you lower your body by bending your elbows until they reach a 90-degree angle.
4. Inhale and push through your hands to straighten your elbows and lift your body back up to the starting position.

Tricep dips can be an effective bodyweight exercise for building triceps strength and can be modified by adjusting the height of the bench or chair to increase or decrease the difficulty. They can also be incorporated into an upper-body strength training routine to target multiple muscle groups.

Muscles worked: Triceps muscles

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Lat Pulldowns 1. Sit on a lat pulldown machine and adjust the thigh pads to secure your legs in place. Grasp the bar with an overhand grip, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. 2. Keep your feet flat on the ground, sit tall, and maintain a slight backward lean from your hips. This will be your starting position. 3. Inhale and pull the bar down towards your chest by squeezing your shoulder blades together. Focus on engaging your lats and pulling with your elbows rather than your hands. 4. Continue pulling until the bar reaches your upper chest or touches your collarbone. Keep your torso stationary throughout the movement. 5. Exhale and slowly allow the bar to rise back up to the starting position, fully extending your arms without locking your elbows. Lat pulldowns are an effective exercise for developing upper body strength, particularly in the back and shoulders. They can be included in a comprehensive strength training routine or used as a standalone exercise to target the lats and improve overall upper body strength and posture. Muscles worked: Latissimus dorsi muscles
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Progress Over Perfection

By incorporating these moves into your daily workout, you can make an upper body workout a regular part of your workout routine. But remember, you can start small. You can include one or two upper body workouts in your current exercise routine. But remember to listen to your body and follow its cues. Want exercises to enhance your upper body contours? Check out Dumbbell Chest Workout for Sculpted Upper Body. When you find an effective upper body workout program, make sure you find a suitable way to carry out the process.

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