I’ve put a lot of research into my own routine to figure out what upper body workout routine seemed to fit my workout style the best. If you’ve been following a long for a while now, you probably know that my favorite upper body routines happen to include mostly compound exercises.
I’ve already provided a great beginner strength training routine that you can read up on by clicking here. What I want to cover are the best exercises I feel you can do for your upper body regardless of if you are working out 3 days a week or 6 days a week (which I typically don’t recommend). Below is a great breakdown of the best upper body exercises you can do to build strength and add mass to your frame when you start a strength training program.
The Bench Press:
We’ve covered how to Bench Press in Proper Form in great detail. You can read more about how to properly do a bench press without throwing out your back or causing injury by clicking here. The bench Press is a staple exercise to help build an amazing chest, awesome shoulders and add some size to your triceps. This should be part of your workout at least once a week.
The Military Press:
I prefer to do the standing variety because it works your back and your lower body. If doing them standing up isn’t comfortable for you, then I’d recommend doing the sitting version and perhaps switching to dumbbells so you don’t put a lot of stress on your neck and shoulder joints. Rotator cuff tears and other shoulder injuries are horrible, and making sure you do these with a reasonable weight is the best way to make sure you prevent any possible shoulder injuries from popping up. This exercise should also be in your strength training workout at least once per week.
Bent Over Rows:
We’ve spent more time focusing on Renegade Rows because they are easier to do when you only have dumbbells. If you have access to a barbell and heavier weights, bent over rows are an outstanding exercise for your back and rear shoulders. It can also help develop your traps. If you do them bent over and standing up, your legs will get some work too. I would throw these in my workout at least once a week but rotate them with Renegade Rows in order to get adequate core work. You can read more about Barbell Rows here.
Weighted Pull Ups:
While I sometimes add these into my mid-week workout, the important thing to remember is that you do them. If you do weighted pull ups, you will not only add tons of mass to your back, but you will add a killer set of biceps to boot. Make sure you don’t overextend yourself and only use weight that you are 100% comfortable with. You can read more about Weighted Pull Ups here as well.
I know, I know…. You are screaming “lower body exercise” when I say that Deadlifting is important. Honestly, if I have to pick between deadlifts and squats, I’m picking deadlifts. Squats are absolutely amazing for you, but deadlifts are not only amazing for your lower body, but they will absolutely punish your back if you execute them properly. Deadlifts are a great upper body workout that develop your core muscles, lower back, upper back and shoulders. They require immense concentration and focus to do them correctly and should be required in your workout twice a week.
While timing of these exercises is important, it’s more important that you actually have them incorporated somewhere in your weightlifting routine. If you don’t have these exercises baked into your workout plan somewhere, you are really missing out on some great building blocks of building an amazingly balanced chest with the right upper body workout routine. As always, focus on a proper nutrition and supplementation plan if you want to see great results!