Here we’ve put together an expansive program for a full upper body work out that can be utilized to build strength, develop muscle growth and enhance endurance. Which area you want to improve depends on how you tackle this program.
More repetition with lighter weights will improve definition and endurance, while utilizing heavier weights will increase size and improve strength. If you do intend to focus on the latter, then the size of weights you use should be something which you can complete 3 sets of 8 with in one sitting, although it should be heavy enough that finishing the 3rd set should be a bit of a struggle.
You should always warm up and stretch before extensive exercise and generally the best way to do this is through 5 – 10 minutes on a rowing machine followed by stretches. The rowing machine is perfect as it works more areas of your body that running or cycling and will get your heart rate up quickly.
Bicep Curls & Triceps Push downs
Once you are ready, get started with a rotation of Bicep and Triceps Curls. This will require a fixed machine to complete. For the bicep curls attach a straight bar to the floor attachment and select a suitable weight. Then pull the bar up so that it you are standing upright with your palms facing away from you. Without moving your elbows, lift the bar towards your chest.
For the Triceps push downs, affix the same bar to the top attachment on the machine above your head. Once again pull the bar down with you palms facing away from you and your elbows are fixed at your sides. Then pull the bar down so that your forearms go past horizontal and repeat.
Useful for both biceps and triceps, simply hold the bar so that your palms are this time facing you and lift yourself so that your head reaches above your hand positions. Ensure that you use steady and controlled motions throughout.
Skull Crushers, Flies & Dumb Bell or Bench Press
These 3 exercises all require a bench to perform.
The Skull crusher (terrifying as it sounds) only requires one dumb bell. Lie flat across the bench and hold the weight vertically so that each hand is holding the bar between the weights. Hold the weight above your chest and then while allowing only small movement to your upper arms, lower your forearms so that the weight lowers towards your head and then lift it back to the start position.
To perform Flies, lie flat on the bench with your arms extended out to your side (palms facing up) and a dumb bell in each hand. Then, with only a small bend in the elbows bring the weights up so that they meet above your chest and then return to the starting position.
For the Dumb Bell or Bench-press you can use either dumb bells or a bar. If you are only starting out use the dumb bells at this will strengthen each arm equally and improve balance. Lying on your back once again, extend your arms out to your sides but with your forearms held vertically and palms facing down your body. Then lift the weights so that they meet above your chest before lowering them back to the start position.
Focusing on Shoulders, select 2 dumb bells and in a standing position lift the weights so that you are holding your upper arms out to your sides and horizontally and your forearms facing upwards with your palms facing in front of you. Then, lift the weights upwards so that they meet above your head and then return to the starting position.
Horizontal Lifts & Vertical Lifts
For Horizontal Lifts, hold a dumb bell in each hand and hold them at your sides. Then, together bring them up so that you are holding them with your arms fully extended out to your sides before lowering them back to their starting positions (almost like flapping wings).
For vertical lifts hold your arms in front of your body and lift the dumb bells out in front of you so that your arms are pointing out in front and lower them back to their starting position.
Using the seated row machine attach the double handle grip so that you can hold each side vertically with your hands positioned like you would hold a steering wheel in the 9 – 3 position. With your feet planted on the base pads, your legs slightly bent and your back straight, use only your arms to pull the grip into your chest and return it to the starting position. This will focus on your back and triceps strength.
Moving onto core work now TRX are ropes suspended from the ceiling with foot holds that suspend your feet of the floor. With your hands planted in either a push up position or in a triangle on your elbows with your hands clasped, bring your knees into your chest and return then in a slow controlled motion. To add to this exercise, include a press up between each full tuck.
In order to perform this exercise you will require a wall to plant your feet against, a weight bag (to hold your feet down) and a medicine ball of a suitable weight for you. In a sit up position, plant your feet against the wall with you’re the weight bag on your feet.
Lie back on the floor with your hands fully extended behind your head holding the medicine ball and lift your upper body as if taking a football throw in and throw the ball against the wall before catching it again. Then, for each arm extend fully out to your side with palm facing upwards holding the medicine ball. Finally, hold the medicine ball to your chest and rotate your upper body to each side before returning to the start position. Then repeat.
If you feel that this circuit is to extensive for one sitting then it can be divided over 2 sessions. Try to ensure however if you do this that you divide it so that similar exercises (by body part worked) are kept together.