Upper Body Strength Exercises

The much desired v-taper physique can only be obtained by building strength and size in the upper body, which consists of your upper back, chest, shoulders and arms. Not forgetting your neck and traps, of course. The goal of any bodybuilder with the aim of looking good should be primarily focussed on creating a strong upper body while keeping a trim waist size to emphasise muscle development.

Here are the basic core exercises used in building upper body strength and size:

For the chest:

Barbell Bench Press – arguably one of best upper body mass building exercise there is. The bench press works your chest primarily and shoulders secondary, along with your triceps on the top half of the movement.

Dumbbell Bench Press – works your chest, shoulders and arms in a similar way to the barbell bench press except with dumbbells it takes far more control and other stabilizer muscles. I prefer to work with dumbbells for this reason.

Dips – for many dips tend to work their chest better due to the emphasis on the pectorals, using less of the deltoid (shoulder) muscle. Dips can be used to vary workouts and keep things fresh.

For the shoulders:

Standing Military Press – the military press hits all the heads of the deltoid and shoulders and is the king of shoulder exercises. When performing the standing military press you also must stabilize your body which helps develop a strong core.

Seated Military Press – similar to the standing military press the seated military press is performed in a seated position on a bench at 90 degrees. I prefer doing the overhead press seated as I feel it is safer.

Lateral Raises – lateral raises are an isolation exercise and primarily hit the side deltoid shoulder muscles. They can be used in conjunction with the overhead press but should not be used solely for building the shoulders.

For the arms:

  • Barbell Curl
  • Dumbbell Curl
  • Tricep Extensions
  • Preacher Curl
  • Hammer Curl
  • Tricep Pushdown

For the upper back:

  • Barbell Row
  • One-armed Dumbbell Row
  • Dumbbell Pullovers

To see each of the exercises performed correctly I suggest you head over to Youtube and search for each individual exercises, but make sure you view videos with high ratings because this means the users (other bodybuilders) judged the videos to be of quality meaning the correct form was used in the exercises.

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