Health & fitness

Four Workouts for Upper Body Strength

22 May, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Four Workouts for Upper Body Strength

Want to build your upper body strength like a bad-ass? Skipping Leg Day is never a good idea (your legs are what power your body when you move), but you can’t spend all your time working your lower body either. You have to give your chest, back, arms, and shoulders plenty of attention in order to be truly fit.

Here are the best workouts to help you build upper body strength.


When it comes to building pure strength, nothing beats weightlifting. Your muscles are designed to adapt when your activity demands more of them than they are capable of. The only exercise that truly pushes your muscles past their limits (forcing your body to increase energy storage capacity) is to lift heavy weights. In terms of raw power and strength, the heavier the better! Dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, and weight machines will all help to strengthen your upper body.

Bodyweight Training

Bodyweight training is effective for developing upper body strength, but it focuses more on stamina and endurance than raw power. The movements use only your bodyweight, so your muscles don’t endure the same amount of strain or carry as heavy a load. This means there is less muscle fiber damage the body needs to compensate for, so the results are less visible. You develop a lean, tough strength that won’t translate into raw power, simply better fitness overall.


Rowing is one of the best forms of cardio, and it can seriously shred the muscles in your upper body. The movement of your oars focuses mostly on your back, shoulders, and biceps, but your triceps and chest get a bit of a workout as well. Rowing is excellent for developing the posterior muscles, as well as increasing core and leg strength and cardiovascular endurance.


Haven’t you noticed how ripped Michael Phelps is? It’s all thanks to his years of swimming! Swimming develops serious upper body strength, as your arms (powered by your chest, shoulders, and back) have to do half the work of propelling you forward. It’s a truly effective workout that will help you hit your cardio like a bad-ass as well!

Prevent Injuries with Yoga

Most yoga classes begin with a reminder to honor your body’s particular needs and limits on that particular day. This basic ability to scan and assess yourself as you practice will help reduce the incidence of injury when running or playing other sports. Plus, flexible, well-stretched yoga muscles can heal and recover more quickly after working out or getting strained.