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Muscle-toning Upper-body Workouts

by
author image Suzy Kerr
Suzy Kerr graduated from Grady School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Georgia. She completed her Master's degree in Nutrition Sciences, also at the University of Georgia. Suzy has been a successful health, fitness and nutrition writer for more than 10 years, and has been published in various print and online publications.
Muscle-toning Upper-body Workouts
Take a day off in between upper body strength training sessions. Photo Credit Chris Clinton/Photodisc/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that adults strength train at least two times per week. Part of these sessions should be devoted to upper body exercises, which includes your arms, chest and shoulders. Developing these areas is key in a total body strength routine, and there are a variety of options for working these muscle groups.

Tone Your Arms

Reducing arm jiggle is a common fitness goal for both men and women, and toning exercises that work the biceps and triceps can help accomplish this. Try an aerolean pushup, which is done like a regular pushup but instead of lowering to the ground, you bend one elbow slightly to tilt to that side. Maintain the raised position as you lean from side-to-side. Work your biceps with floor pull-ups. Lay on your back under a table or bar, positioning your hands shoulder-width apart on the bar or table edge. Using your biceps, pull your head and upper body off the floor before lowering and repeating.

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Work Your Chest

Your chest, or pecs, should also be targeted in an upper body workout routine. Grab a set of dumbbells for flys and presses, which focus on these muscle groups. Dumbbell flys are performed by lying on a bench with a weight in each hand. Arms should be extended upward at chest level. Lower each weight outward slowly until the arms are extended to each side. Keep the elbows straight and raise the weights to the starting position. Execute chest presses with dumbbells or a barbell. Lie on a bench and hold the weight with hands positioned at shoulder-width. Extend the arms up at chest level, then bend at the elbows and lower straight down.

Strengthen Your Shoulders

The shoulders are one of the most complex joints in the human body, and exercising the surrounding muscles can enhance strength and stability. Try aeroboxing, which requires the use of dumbbells. Stand with a weight in each hand and feet spaced about a foot apart, with one in front and one behind. Bring the weights to chest height, then punch out with one hand, draw back and punch with the other. Alternate punches and increase your speed as you go. A military press will also target the shoulders. From a standing position, hold dumbbells in each hand or use a barbell. Position the weight(s) in front of you at neck height, then press up until your arms are fully extended toward the ceiling. Slowly lower the weight(s) back to neck height and repeat.

Other Stength Training Considerations

Upper body exercises should be done at least two days per week, with each exercise performed for 60 seconds. Do the series three times. As you build strength, you’ll be able to perform increasingly more repetitions during each 60-second segment. For exercises involving weights, gradually build-in weight and/or reps to keep yourself challenged. It should be noted, however, that an upper body workout is only one part of a strength training program. Your core and lower body should be considered in your workout plan as well, with strength-based exercises that target these areas.

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