What exercises can I do to strengthen my upper body?

Grocery-Bag Curls
Muscles worked: biceps (upper arms)

  • Starting point: Standing or walking, arms straight down at your sides, palms facing forward, grocery-bag handle gripped in one hand.
  • Action: As you walk, every time you step with your left foot, bend your arm at the elbow to lift your bag up to chest level; straighten and lower your arm back down every time you step with your right foot. Complete one 1 set of 10 to12 reps. Switch hands and repeat with the other arm.
  • Tip: Keep your wrist straight and your elbow directly beneath your shoulder with each curl.
  • Time: Aim for 5 minutes. 

Grocery-Bag Rowing
Muscles worked: deltoids (shoulders)

  • Starting point: Standing or walking, arms straight down at your sides, hands in front of your thighs, palms facing your thighs, a bag handle gripped in each hand.
  • Action: Pretend that there is a golf club connecting the bags in your hands. Lift the golf club up toward your chest, bending your elbows out to each side as you lift. Complete one set of 10 to 12 reps.
  • Tip: Keep your hands about 3 inches in front of your body as you lift.
  • Time: Aim for 5 minutes.

    To strengthen your upper body you want to do a combination of pushing exercises to strengthen the chest, shoulders and triceps, and pulling exercises to strengthen the back and biceps. Pushing exercises like pushups, bench presses, over head presses are excellent exercises for the chest, shoulders and triceps. Movements like pull ups, lat pull downs, and dumbbell rows are a great pulling exercises to strengthen your back and biceps. To get stronger focus on lower repetitions and higher weights, perform 8-9 total sets for pushing or pulling muscles using a 4-7 repetition load each set. Perform 1-2 workouts a week per area with at least 24 hours rest in between sets. This will allow you to gain good amounts of strength in the upper body. 

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