What are the Best Tips for Upper Body Strength Training?

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  • Written By: Alex Paul
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2018
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Some of the best tips for upper body strength training include making sure that the athlete holds the correct position during each and every repetition, utilizing rest days in order to allow the muscles to recover and ensuring that the muscles are overloaded to an appropriate level. Performing exercises that work groups of muscles in the upper body can also make a workout more efficient.

Although safety is of primary importance during upper body strength training, it’s essential for the muscles to be pushed during each repetition. Other tips include making use of an organized plan, breathing during repetitions and increasing weights gradually over time.

One of the most common mistakes made by amateur body builders is to not maintain good form during a repetition. If an athlete finds that he or she is incapable of performing a certain number of repetitions without losing form then the quantity should be reduced to a level that doesn’t impact form. Without good posture strength training will not be as efficient and the chance of injury is increased greatly. The athlete should also ensure that a level of tension is felt throughout the muscle during the entire repetition.


Exercises that strengthen a group of upper body muscles are often useful and more efficient than single muscle exercises. For example, a simple push up or bench press will work on the pectoralis major and deltoid muscles. A lateral dumbbell raise will work on both the trapezius and medial deltoids. One of the best upper body multiple muscle exercises is the overhead press. This is performed by raising a bar upwards to full elbow extension while keeping only a slight curve in the lower part of the spine.

There are, however, occasions when working on a single muscle at a time can provide greater control over a workout. Single muscle exercises for the upper body include triceps extensions and lateral pull downs. The flat dumbbell fly, for example, is a useful exercise for working the pectoralis major. To perform this exercise the person should lie on his or her back with a dumbbell in each hand and raised above the chest. The dumbbells should then be lowered out and down while in line with the chest before being raised back up again.

In order to stimulate the muscles and eventually achieve muscle growth they must be overloaded. This means that upper body strength training should involve exercises which work the muscles much harder than they are accustomed to. It’s important for an amateur bodybuilder to start with lower weights and a reduced number of repetitions, however, as attempting to progress too quickly can cause injury.

After being overloaded during a workout a muscle group becomes fatigued before the healing process begins. For this reason it’s often a good idea to give each muscle group a day break between workouts. This doesn’t necessarily mean that all exercise should be avoided though. An athlete, for example, could work on his or her shoulder muscles one day and then another part of the upper body the next. Complete rest days are also essential in order to maintain a healthy strength training program.

Other tips for upper body strength training include varying the workout and warming up. Variation in upper body strength training will help to avoid boredom and reduce the chance of the body getting used to a specific exercise. Warming up is not just important to avoid injury but also helps to increase the efficiency of a workout. Using a cross trainer can be an effective way of getting the arms and shoulders moving during light cardiovascular exercise.



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