Do you want toned and stronger arms? If so, you're in luck! There are a variety of exercises that can help you achieve the look you desire.
In this blog post, the 5 best exercises for upper body strength and toning will be discussed. So grab a weight (or two), and let's get started! But, a bit of supplementing information to help you wrap your head around what you will be doing and why!
Here we go:
Which Muscles Make Up the Upper Body?
You are sure about what you want (strong arms), but you may need clarification as to why upper body exercises and not just exercises that require arms in action.
Here's the surprise!
The upper body comprises many different muscles, but they all connect to and allow us to move our arms and shoulders. So, if you want to target your arms from various angles, you must engage your entire upper body.
The chest muscles, for example, are responsible for moving the arms forward and back. These muscles are called the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor. The pectoralis major is the larger of the two and attaches the breastbone to the shoulder blade.
The pectoralis minor runs underneath the pectoralis major and attaches the ribs to the shoulder blade. Together, these muscles allow us to lift our arms up and down and push and pull objects.
The upper back muscles, meanwhile, are responsible for moving the shoulder blades. These muscles are called the trapezius and latissimus dorsi. The trapezius is a large triangular muscle extending from the skull's base down to the middle of the back. It is this muscle that allows us to shrug our shoulders.
The latissimus dorsi is a wide, flat muscle that extends from the lower back up to the shoulder blade, helping with downward and backward motion.
Finally, several small muscles in the upper arm help us lift our arms up and down. These muscles are called the biceps brachii and triceps brachii. The biceps brachii is a two-headed muscle that connects the shoulder blade and the elbow.
The triceps brachii, as the name suggests, is a three-headed muscle that attaches the elbow to the shoulder blade. Together, these muscles give us great strength and power in our arms.
What are the Benefits of Upper Body Strength Training?
Strength training is widely recognized as essential for physical fitness, but many focus exclusively on lower-body exercises. However, there are several important reasons to include upper body strength training in your workout routine.
First, strong upper body muscles can help prevent injuries by stabilizing the shoulder girdle and keeping the spine in alignment. Spinal alignment is extremely important for fitness enthusiasts because even the slightest of spinal problems can make your life abnormal.
Second, upper body strength training can help improve posture by counteracting the effects of office work and other activities that involve sitting for long periods.
Third, strong upper body muscles can help increase the power and efficiency of your arm and leg movements, making it easier to perform everyday tasks such as carrying groceries or pushing a lawn mower.
Finally, upper body strength training can boost your confidence several times because it improves your overall appearance by creating a more balanced physique.
Related Article: 5 Dumbbell Exercises to Sculpt the Upper Body of Women
5 Best Upper Body Exercises for Women
We are about to let you in on the best exercises that will sculpt your upper body in the shape you desire:
1. Arnold Press
The Arnold press is a variation of the shoulder press and is a great exercise for building shoulder muscles. Unlike most other upper body exercises like the lateral raise, military press, and overhead press, it activates all three deltoid muscles in your shoulder (the posterior, lateral, and anterior deltoids).
Activating shoulder muscles inevitably target the biceps and triceps, helping to strengthen not just the shoulders but arms too holistically.
- Get an adjustable bench and set it up at 90°. Pick the desired weight (dumbbell).
- Making a neutral grip, pick those dumbbells up. Place the dumbbell ends on your knees and sit relaxed.
- With a controlled motion, raise one of the knees and get that dumbbell in place. Now raise the other one in the same manner.
- Once the dumbbells are set, rotate your palms to make them face you.
- Breathe deeply, extend your elbows and engage your deltoids to press the dumbbells overhead.
- While pressing, rotate the dumbbells until your palms are forward.
- Gradually lower the dumbbells to the initial position.
- Repeat until you are done with the desired number of reps.
2. Reverse Bicep Curls
Working out bicep muscles is important because they are responsible for some of the most common movements we do every day. Bicep muscles help us lift objects, open jars, and perform other tasks that require strength and skill.
Additionally, well-defined biceps can give your arms a more toned and sculpted appearance.
- Start with your feet hip-width apart while holding a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing downward.
- Bend your elbows and curl the weights towards your shoulders, keeping your palms facing forward the entire time.
- Keep your upper arms static as you curl up your forearm.
- Pause at the top of the curl and slowly lower the weights back to the starting position.
- Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
3. Lying Skull Crushers
The skull crusher is a strengthening exercise that helps with tricep strength and mass gains. The isolation exercise lets you focus fully on your triceps by enabling all the energy to flow in the specific area.
With the exercise, you can work on your muscles unilaterally or bilaterally, which defines the versatility of the workout. It also improves your wrist and elbow strength, enhancing your overall technique.
- Set up the inclined skull crusher to around 30-45 degrees. Pick the desired barbell.
- Sit down on a bench and hold the barbell on your thighs.
- Lay down, extend your arms and pull the barbell over your head. Keep an overhand grip on the barbell.
- Now extend the barbell straight up in the air over your head. Keep your arms slightly bent to maintain tension in your triceps. This is your starting position.
- Keeping your elbows fixed, lower the barbell to the forehead.
- Pause, then push the barbell above the extended position again.
- Without locking your arms, go on with another rep.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps.
4. Wide Grip Upright Row
The wide-grip upright rows are a strength-training exercise focusing on your arm and shoulder muscles. There are two ways to do this exercise, with either a barbell or a set of dumbbells. Be careful, though - incorrect form while doing these exercises can cause pain in the shoulders from impingement.
- You will need to load a barbell with the appropriate weight and then stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
- Grab the barbell in an overhand grip (palms down) and your hands slightly wider than your shoulders.
- Grab the bar and bend at the knees. Keep your back straight.
- Keep your head straight, your eyes forward, and your back straight. Lift the bar straight up while keeping your body as close as possible to the bar.
- Slowly lower the bar to its original position.
- Repeat for desired reps.
5. Tricep Push Ups
The tricep push-up is a great way of targeting the triceps. All Push Ups engage the chest, shoulders, and triceps, but moving your hands a little closer than usual can do wonders for your arms. In addition, the tricep push-up is a compound exercise that engages and activates muscles all over the body.
Tricep push-ups are a considerable step up from the standard version in terms of difficulty. You would exhaust much sooner than when you do it with a wider angle.
- Get on all fours with your hands placed closer than normal under your chest/shoulder region.
- Extend your arms, so your body is elevated from the ground forming a straight line from head to toe.
- Lower your chest towards your hands
- Make sure you don't flare your elbows to the sides and keep your back flat.
- Stop before your chest touches the floor, then push back up to the starting position.
- This is one rep.
- Repeat the desired number of reps.
Related Article: 10 Sandbag Exercises for a Full-Body Workout
1. Can a flabby body be toned?
It's a common question: can a flabby body be toned? The answer is yes! While it may take some time and effort, there are plenty of ways to tone up your flabby body. One way is to focus on strengthening your muscles with resistance training.
This can be done by lifting weights or using resistance bands. Another way to tone your body is to do cardiovascular exercises like running, swimming, or biking. These activities help increase your heart rate and burn calories, which can lead to a more toned body.
Finally, be sure to eat a healthy diet and stay hydrated. Eating nutritious foods will give your body the energy it needs to exercise while staying hydrated will help your muscles function properly. So if you're looking to tone up your flabby body, remember that it is possible with a little dedication and hard work!
2. Can a saggy stomach be toned?
A saggy stomach can be frustrating, especially if you have been working hard to lose weight. Luckily, there are a few options for toning your stomach at home. One option is to add exercise to your routine. Any workouts that build muscle mass or tighten muscles — especially around the stomach — can reduce the appearance of loose skin.
Of course, you should see your doctor before starting any new exercise or nutrition regimen. With a little effort, you can achieve the toned stomach you desire.
3. Is there one exercise that works the whole body?
Many people ask if there is one exercise that can help them work their whole body. While there are many exercises out there that can help, the burpee is the most effective. Burpees help you build muscle, burn fat, and improve your conditioning. So if you're looking for an exercise that will give you results, the burpee is the way to go!
4. How long does it take to tone your upper body?
Of course, the answer depends on your workout's intensity and consistency. However, it will generally take about 4 to 8 weeks for your muscles to get in shape. Remember, toning is not the same as building muscle. When you tone your muscles, you are not necessarily increasing their size.
Instead, you are improving their definition and making them look more toned. To achieve this, you must focus on exercises targeting the specific muscle groups you want to tone.
For best results, perform these exercises 2-3 times per week, and use a weight that challenges your muscles. With consistency and dedication, you'll be seeing results in no time!
The Bottom Line
Now that you know the benefits of upper body strength training and which muscles make up this area, it's time to put theory into practice with these 5 exercises. Be sure to focus on proper form to get the most out of each rep and maximize results.
Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day – so don't get discouraged if you don't see results immediately. Stay consistent with your workouts and give it some time; soon enough, you'll start seeing (and feeling) the amazing effects of a strong upper body!