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Upper body exercises

When designing a workout routine, be sure to get some upper body exercises in there.

There are a large number of smaller muscles in this area of the body so you will want to include a fair amount of variations in terms of selection of movements.

The main core upper body exercises that should be a part of any workout include the bench press (also known as the chest press), the military (or shoulder) press and the bent over row. All three of these movements will call into play a few different muscle groups so it allows you to really get a good workout in a short period of time. Other compound lifts that you could think about including (that are slight variations on the three listed) are incline bench press, decline bench press, pull-up, lat pull-down, horizontal row and one-arm row.

Once you have put these into place in your program, then you can move onto the more isolated forms of upper body exercises that will target in on one specific muscle group. Examples here would be lateral raises, frontal raises, bicep curls, tricep kickbacks, overhead tricep extension and hammer curls. You will not need to perform every single one of these lifts during each session however as that would place you at risk for overtraining.

Generally you should try to perform three to four sets of the compound lifts followed by two to three sets of two to three isolated exercises per session. The type of lifts you perform will also depend on the split you are using.

If you are doing a full body split, then you will want to hit each muscle group and therefore include all three compound lifts (or variations of them). If on the other hand you are doing a push/pull type of plan, then you might perform your bench press on one day and your bent over row on another (since one is a 'pushing action' and the other is a 'pulling action'). Whatever you choose to do, just be sure that allow for at least one day of rest in between each session that contains a similar lift.

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