Healthy Living

The Only Upper Body Exercises You'll Ever Need, Part II

By Sheryl Kraft

Created: 08/18/2011
Last Updated: 08/10/2012

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Do you hate me yet? Are your arms screaming in pain? Or are you stealing a glance at your newly formed muscles every time you pass a mirror and smiling to yourself?

No matter. Here are the remaining exercises to round out your routine. Remember, your bones will thank you. And so will your sleeveless tops.

Now, get working! I'll make you a deal: try these for another week. You'll like me better by then, I'm sure. And then, you won't even have to ask. I'll give you something more—some lower-body exercises to work your legs and booty. You have my solemn promise.

5. Lateral Raise (with 3-8-pound dumbbells)
Muscles worked: Shoulders
Why you need these muscles: For any "pulling" activities.
How to: Keep back straight; raise upper arms to sides until elbows are shoulder height; maintain elbows' height above or equal to wrists. Maintain slight bend through elbows.

     

6. Biceps Curl (with 3-8-pound dumbbells)
Muscles worked: Biceps
Why you need these muscles: For any activity requiring a "pulling" motion.
Tips: Keep knees loose and slightly bent; keep elbow close to your body.
How to: Hold weights at sides, palms facing in. Slowly curl arms toward shoulders. To add a balance challenge, do while standing on one leg, alternating legs for second set.

     

7. Triceps Kickback (with 3-8-pound dumbbells)
Muscles worked:
Triceps (back of arms)
Why you need these muscles: For any activity requiring you to push something.
Tip: When bending front leg, make sure knee is in line with ankle and does not jut forward.
How to: Starting with slightly bent left leg in front, hold weight in right hand. Straighten right arm, keeping upper arm in line with your body. Bring weight back, hinging from elbow. Return to start for 8-12 sets; switch to opposite leg and arm for second set.

     

Bonus: Chest Stretch—this is beneficial for posture, to prevent or correct forward-rounded shoulders and for general well-being!

     

Perfect stretch for those who have been sitting curled over a computer for many hours (read why sitting is bad: ).

With arms elevated and elbows bent to 90 degrees, bring elbows back and pinch shoulder blades together; then press arms back to starting point to stretch chest.

Happy workout!

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Comments

I don't think I can take anymore. :)

Thanks for yet another reminder. I find my life so busy that it is hard to squeeze in the exercise, but I'm going to try some of your suggestions, perhaps while watching the news on TV?

Might make the news more palatable...

Hey that woman looks familiar! Great photos!

I love articles that simplify rather than complicate exercise instructions. I do lots of arm, shoulder and upper back exercises in an effort to combat back pain, and sometimes I think I'm doing too much. This is a nice way to streamline it.

I agree, Melanie. Simple is not always a bad thing. Sometimes we over-think exercise, which cam lead to getting overwhelmed and discouraged. And pain does NOT always equal gain...

I love all these upper body exercises. I just need to find my darn weights and do them!

I was just having a conversation about barre workouts that incorporate very small movements with very light weights. I'm bookmarking this post and the other!

Funny, I just noticed a sign for a barre workout class yesterday while at the gym. Have you tried these types of workouts, Merr?

I like how you describe what the different muscles do. That's helpful. Along with the photos.

I definitely have felt more motivated to exercise since my arm muscles have started to develop more. And I've felt more confident wearing sleeveless shirts.

Thanks!

Glad you found it helpful, Nancy. And keep up the good work. Sounds like you are onto something!

Hahaha, "balance challenge." Standing on two feet is a balance challenge for me sometimes - I'll try the biceps curl and see how far I go with those first! :)

Anxious to know how it goes, Casey, and if you're able to progress to a one-footed stance ;-)

Great exercises. I like to do lateral raises on the bosu ball for an added challenge.

Thanks for mentioning that, Kristen. Yes, the Bosu ball is a great addition to an exercise routine and can really help with core muscles and balance

Oh, there's more! Okay. Print, keep, and do too.

It's a good set of exercises that don't take that much time to do but they can be an efficient way to build upper body strength. I do many of these using exercise bands, rather than hand weights. They're easy to travel with.

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