Welcome to our blog where we’re diving deep into the world of fitness and showing you the ropes of crafting the perfect upper body workout plan. If you’re someone who loves hitting the gym or even just working out at home, you know that building a strong upper body is key to feeling confident and powerful.

But with so many exercises out there, it can be overwhelming to figure out which ones are the best for your workout routine. That’s where we come in! In this blog, we’re going to break down the top upper body exercises that will help you sculpt those arms, chest, back, and abs to perfection.

But wait, there’s more! We’re not just here to show you how to get that Instagram-worthy physique. We’re also going to dive into the science behind each exercise and why they’re essential for your overall health and functionality.

So, whether you’re a gym newbie looking to get started or a seasoned pro looking to take your workouts to the next level, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s get ready to pump some iron and build that upper body strength like never before!

General things about upper boy workout


When you’re planning your workouts, you might split your body into two parts: the upper body and the lower body.

What are upper body workouts? Upper body workouts are exercise routines that focus on strengthening and toning the muscles in the upper part of the body, including the arms, shoulders, chest, back, and core. These workouts typically involve a combination of resistance training exercises, such as lifting weights or using resistance bands, and bodyweight exercises, such as push-ups, pull-ups, and dips.

Upper body workouts can vary in intensity and duration depending on individual fitness goals and experience levels. Some people may aim to increase muscle mass and strength, while others may focus on improving muscular endurance or toning their upper body.

Common exercises included in upper body workouts include bench presses, bicep curls, tricep dips, shoulder presses, rows, and planks. These exercises target different muscle groups within the upper body and can be performed using various equipment, such as dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, and machines, or simply using bodyweight resistance.


Upper body workouts focus on muscles like your shoulders, chest, back, arms, and abs. Lower body workouts, on the other hand, target the big muscles in your legs.

Many guys enjoy working out their upper body because there are so many different muscles to target. But sometimes, it can be hard to figure out which exercises are the best ones to include in your plan.

The first dimension to upper body training

When it comes to working out, many guys first think about how their upper body will look. It’s like one side of a coin—they imagine having strong arms, a broad chest, and defined abs. A fit upper body is a clear sign of being “in shape,” and lots of guys strive for that V-taper torso, putting in a lot of effort to reach that standard.

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The second dimension to upper body training

But there’s another side to consider as well. It’s about how training your upper body in a smart way can make you function better in everyday life. Instead of just aiming for muscles that make your t-shirt sleeves tight, it’s important to have a balanced approach.

This means doing exercises that offer a variety of movements. This approach isn’t just about looks; it’s about staying safe from injuries, having good posture, and being efficient in all kinds of activities you do every day. So, while having a muscular upper body might look great, it’s also about being strong and healthy in the long run.

Top 5 best upper body workout exercises

Hanging Leg Raise

Hanging Leg Raise
Hanging Leg Raise

Why: Don’t forget about the core when you’re focusing on the upper body. And when it comes to core exercises, the hanging leg raise is top-notch. Not only does it target your abs, but it also helps boost your grip strength. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone!

How to Do It:

  • Grab onto a pull-up bar with a double overhand grip, making sure your legs can hang straight below you.
  • Without swinging, lift both legs upward, bending your knees to about a 90-degree angle as you raise them.
  • Try to bring your thighs up to cover your chest, it’s okay if your back rounds a bit to achieve this.
  • Lower your legs back down slowly, without swinging, and repeat the movement.
  • Remember, the speed at which you do this exercise determines how much control you have and whether you’re really engaging your abs or just relying on your hip flexors. So, take it slow and steady.
  • Sets and Reps: Aim for 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 10 reps with good form. Done properly, this exercise will definitely make your core burn.


Why: While the bench press might steal the spotlight in the gym, pull ups or chin ups are the true test of upper body strength. These exercises work wonders for the middle and upper back, helping to shape that coveted V-shape physique and sculpting the upper arms. They’re a no-cheating movement, meaning you can’t cheat your way through them, making them a true measure of strength.

How to Do It:

  • Hang from a bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
  • If you’re doing chin ups, use an underhand grip with your hands just inside shoulder width.
  • Without swinging or using momentum, pull your shoulders down as you raise your chest towards the bar.
  • Focus on bending your elbows and pulling your body upward until your face clears the bar.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you pull up to ensure your back muscles are working the hardest.
  • Lower yourself down slowly and repeat the movement.
  • Sets and Reps: The number of pull ups you can do might depend on your body size, so start with a goal of being able to do 3 sets of 8 reps.

If you’re heavier, it might take some time to reach this goal. Once you can do this easily, challenge yourself with weighted pull ups using a weight belt. Always prioritize proper form over heavy weights.

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Military Press

Why: The military press is a top-notch exercise for building strength in your shoulders and traps. It requires power from your shoulder and triceps muscles while also engaging stabilizing muscles like your abs, lower back, and glutes. Unlike some shoulder exercises that limit your shoulder blade movement, the military press allows for free movement, promoting better joint health.

How to Do It:

  • Set a barbell at shoulder height in a squat rack and grip it just outside shoulder width.
  • Step out with the bar resting at collarbone level, ensuring your elbows are directly below the bar.
  • Stand tall, squeeze your glutes, and tuck your chin.
  • Press the weight straight up, aiming for your nose, as you exhale.
  • Once the bar clears your face, push your head and chest forward through the space created by your arms.
  • Keep your biceps next to your ears at the top of the lift as you lock out the rep.
  • Lower the bar slowly to the starting position, pause, and repeat the movement.
  • Sets and Reps: For building strength, aim for lower reps and higher weight. Start with 4 to 5 sets of 3 to 6 reps, using a weight that challenges you while allowing you to maintain good form.

Farmer’s Carry

Why: Loaded carries might seem like just a way to boost your conditioning and finish off your workout, but they offer more than that. They can actually help you build size in your upper body, especially in your arms and traps. Plus, they’re excellent for improving grip strength, which is super important outside of the gym. If you want to beef up those forearms, this exercise is perfect for you.

How to Do It:

  • Grab a trap bar or two heavy dumbbells or kettlebells.
  • Make sure to lift with proper form, keeping your spine straight and using your legs to drive the weight up.
  • Once you’re standing, take short, deliberate steps.
  • Keep your posture good, with your shoulders back and down, and let your chest lead the way.
  • Sets and Reps: Try to carry a weight equivalent to half your bodyweight (if you’re 200 pounds, hold 100 pounds in each hand) for 6 to 10 rounds of 30-second walks, resting for 90 seconds between sets.


A pushup is a popular type of exercise
A pushup is a popular type of exercise

Why: Pushups might seem simple, but they’re actually a game-changer for your upper body. They’re a classic calisthenics exercise that really tests your chest and triceps, while also working your core. Plus, they’re great for keeping your shoulders healthy since they allow for free movement at the shoulder blades, unlike the bench press.

How to Do It:

  • Start in a high plank position, with your hands and toes on the ground.
  • Your elbows should be straight, and your body should form a straight line from head to heel.
  • Don’t let your hips sag or your back arch.
  • Keep your hands shoulder-width apart as you slowly lower your body toward the floor, letting your elbows naturally tuck in.
  • Once your chest gently touches the floor, push back up in one smooth motion.
  • Exhale as you push, and keep going until your arms are fully extended.
  • Sets and Reps: Once you can do around 15 pushups with good form, it’s time to challenge yourself. Try a “ladder set” where you do 2 pushups, hold the top position for 10 seconds, then do 3 pushups, hold for 10 seconds, and so on, increasing the reps each time until you reach 10. Rest for 2 minutes between sets, and aim for 4 to 5 ladder sets.
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If you’re interested in this topic, check out this YOUTUBE video!

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