The UPPER category focuses on the arm & shoulder muscles or the upper body. There’s a healthy mix of push & pull exercises. Pushing moves stress the chest, triceps & front shoulders more. Pulling drills target the back, biceps & rear shoulders more. Try to do an equal amount of exercises in each category for training balance. If there’s a weakness in a given category, double or triple up on those drills. Most people could benefit from more pulling exercises.
The Scapula sets the stage for the entire upper body. Your shoulder blades need to be able to move freely in all directions for shoulder health & performance. A shrug is a straight-arm exercise that isolates scapular movement. Shrugs work your trapezius & serratus anterior muscles. Your upper tra...
BAND FACE PULLS
If I had to pick just one exercise to bulletproof the shoulders & improve posture, it would be the Face Pull. When done properly it smokes all of the key muscles of the upper/mid-back & rear delts plus it fortifies the delicate rotator cuff.
Though this exercise is typically performed on a cabl...
The Carry (or Farmer’s Walk) is a full-body core exercise but if you can’t grip it, you can’t lift it. That’s why it’s listed in the UPPER category. As the load & time-under-tension grows on this exercise, so will your entire upper body. The key to getting the most out of this drill is to keep th...
The Bodyweight Row (often called a Reverse Pushup or Horizontal Pullup) works the entire backside of the body. It’s also a key stepping stone exercise to pullups. It can be done with parallel bars or gymnastic rings. The progression with parallel bars is knees bent to legs straight to feet-elevat...
The Pushup is another total body abs exercise but it primarily targets the chest, front delts & triceps. It’s also a key stepping stone exercise to the dip. A wider grip stresses the chest more. A closer grip makes the triceps work harder.
Use the classic body angle progression for pushup master...
The Pullup is the ultimate upper body exercise. It’s also the hardest for a few reasons. One, it involves all of your bodyweight. Two, your arms are overhead. This extreme joint angle challenges your mobility & stability to the max. Plus it creates a natural blood-flow restriction effect since ox...
The Dip is the king of chest & triceps exercises. And if you perform it properly, it also smokes the rear shoulders & upper back. Like the pullup, it’s an extreme joint angle exercise except your shoulder is in extension instead of flexion. Just like with pushups, keep your forearms vertical to t...
Consider Presses to be the open-chain companion of the closed-chain pushup. Because your hands move independently in free space, presses increase the stability & mobility demands and strengthen each arm independently. Like with pushups, keep your elbows at a 30-45 degree angle from your trunk to ...
It’s important to prioritize multi-joint compound exercises over single-joint isolation exercises, especially when you’re short on time. But there’s nothing wrong with some dedicated work for the elbow joint. Not only will this maximize muscular development, but bigger & stronger biceps will make...
Though the triceps get a ton of work from presses, dips & pushups, it’s still important to isolate them for best results. For one, they comprise approximately 2/3 of your upper arm mass so they have the biggest overall impact on arms size. In addition, the meaty long head of the upper arm is pref...