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Best Upper Body Exercises

Posted Jul 23 2012 7:33am
Want a rippling and toned upper body? I will tell you the most basic bodyweight and yet, important exercises to achieve that dream upper body. First, let's find out, what all is included in the upper body. Upper body comprises of:-

1. Chest or the pectorals.

2. Back to include trapezius (upper back) and latissimus dorsi (lower back).

3. Biceps and triceps.

4. Abdominals or abs.

Now that we know the major muscle groups of upper body, let's move on to the exercises.

1. Lose FAT  - Yup, lose fat. Till the time the extra lard is not melted from your body, how is the muscle underneath going to show. Logical, isn't it? Hit the road and do cardio workouts to include more of interval training . Combine any kind of workout with cardio to maximize benefits.

2. Push Ups - We all know what a push up is. It is an excellent exercise to strengthen and tone up the entire upper body. Remember to keep the body in a straight line while doing a push up and do as many as you can while maintaining that line. Do atleast 2 sets of push ups in a good form. Gradually, increase the repetitions and sets.

3. Tricep Dips - Many a times we ignore Triceps, which forms the major part of arm muscle and gives it size. Dips are easy to perform and can be done anywhere. Again, as stated above, do atleast 2 sets and increase gradually. Remember to keep the neck straight while doing this exercise.

4. Chin Ups - This exercise is tough but not impossible to do. It is excellent to strengthen forearms, biceps, shoulders, back and abs. Aim to do atleast 10 over a period of time. Initially, you can take help from someone to help you up. There are many variations to this exercise with respect to hand grip like under grip, over grip, wide and narrow grip.

5. Plank - Plank is an wonderful exercise to develop a strong core which includes abs and lower back. Hold the position to start with 30 seconds and gradually build up to more than a 1 minute. It is important to maintain a ram rod straight line of head, shoulders, back and lower body. Avoid any sagging in the middle.

6. Hanging Leg Raises - One of  best exercises for the core region as it brutally activates the abs and helps in achieving your dream six-pack. Doing it is simple. Just hang on a chin up bar and either keeping your knees straight, make a 90 degree angle and hold it for some time or fold your legs and bring it as close to your chest as you can.

A strong upper body is the foundation of a overall strong body. Remember always to exercise the opposite muscle groups to prevent muscle imbalance. For eg. if you are exercising the back, then do exercise the chest and if biceps, then exercise the triceps.

The above mentioned exercises can be included alongside the cardio workout and also can be performed in isolation. Also, there are a number of variations of above exercises to challenge yourself. Keep changing them to surprise your body now and then to avoid stagnation. In any kind of exercise, it is important to have QUALITY rather than QUANTITY.

Neelanjan Banerjee  
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