Did you know that your upper body muscles greatly affect your metabolism? Many people don't realize that the muscles in their upper body actually make up a big portion of overall calories burned. And while building up these muscles won't necessarily help you lose weight on its own, it can help you boost your overall metabolic rate and torch more calories throughout the day.
So if you want to burn more calories and see better results from your workouts, focus on toning up your upper body! This blog post will cover six of the best exercises you can do to achieve great results. So, without further ado, let's get started!
How to Warm Up for These Upper Body Workouts
The first thing that you need to learn to perform is a warm-up for your upper body muscles. Follow this warm-up technique to get your upper body pumping.
Foam Roller T-Spine Extension
Many people who sit at a desk all day slouch forward into spinal flexion. It is important before engaging in upper body workouts to unlock and access more range of motion in spinal extension.
Grab a foam roller and place it right below your shoulder blades. Keep your butt on the ground and extend back over top of it. Breathe out as you extend and breathe in as you return to the starting position.
Deep Lunge Hold With Thoracic Rotation
Reps 5 Reaches Each Side.
Reach to the floor with one elbow while in a deep lunge. Then, turn your body and reach the ceiling with the same arm. This gym warm-up move gets the spine moving and helps the body get ready for rotational movements.
Band Shoulder Dislocate
Grab a resistance band and pull it apart, so your arms are straight to the sides. Move the band in a big circle over the top of your head and onto the back of your shoulders while keeping your torso straight. This gym warm-up exercise helps improve your shoulders' range of motion and increases the amount of synovial fluid in the shoulder joint so you can do upper-body exercises better.
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Best Exercises for Upper Body
Now that you’re warmed up let’s dive into the best exercises for upper body muscle that will help boost your metabolism.
1. Barbell Row
4 Sets, 8 to 10 Reps
The barbell row is a compound exercise, meaning they work for multiple muscle groups at once, which is excellent for increasing strength and mass. It can be done with a variety of grip widths. Depending on your goal, you can target different muscle groups.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and the barbell in your hands.
- Lean forward from the waist and bend your knees. You should bend your knees, keep your back straight, and put your neck in line with your spine.
- Grab the bar with your palms facing down and your hands wider than shoulder-width apart. Let the bar hang from your straight arms.
- Hold your core tight and squeeze your shoulders together to row the weight until it touches your sternum, then slowly lower it back down again.
2. Dumbbell Chest Press
4 Sets, 8 to 10 Reps
The dumbbell chest press is a great exercise for developing strength and muscle mass in the chest. When performed with proper form, they can also help improve posture and prevent injuries.
Depending on your preference, you can perform it with two dumbbells or one.
If you are using two dumbbells,
- Start by holding them with your palms facing forward at shoulder height.
- From here, lift the dumbbells until your arms are straight.
- Once your arms are fully stretched out, bring them back to where they started.
- To protect your lower back, keep your core engaged as you move.
If you are using one dumbbell,
- Hold one dumbbell with both hands in front of your chest.
- From here, lift the dumbbell until your arms are straight, then lower it back to the starting position.
- As with the two dumbbell variations, keep your core engaged throughout the move to protect your lower back.
3. Single Arm Row
4 Sets, 8 to 10 Reps
A single arm row is a great exercise for targeting the muscles in your back, including the lats, traps, and rhomboids. It can be performed with either a dumbbell or a kettlebell, making it a versatile move that can be done at home or the gym.
- Place the weight on the floor in front of you and lie facing down on the bench, with your hand closest to the weight holding it securely.
- With your free hand, reach to the other side of your body and grasp the weight, keeping your back flat against the bench.
- Lift the weight towards your chest, keeping your elbow close to your side.
- Pause at the top of the movement for a second, then slowly lower the weight to the starting position.
4. Lateral Raises
4 Sets, 8 to 10 Reps
Lateral raises are a great exercise to tone your shoulders and improve your posture. They're also relatively easy to do, which makes them a great choice for beginners.
- Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand, with your palms facing your thighs.
- Raise your arms to the sides until they're parallel to the floor.
- Return to the starting position and repeat.
5. Shoulder Press
4 Sets, 8 to 10 Reps
The shoulder press is an excellent exercise for developing the shoulders, chest, and arms muscles. It is also a great exercise for building strength and muscular endurance. It can be performed with dumbbells or a barbell and can be done seated or standing.
- Start by holding the weight(s) at shoulder level, with your palms facing forward.
- Lift the weight(s) straight overhead until your arms are fully extended.
- Lower the weight(s) back to shoulder level, and repeat.
If you are using a barbell, grip it evenly in both hands. You can also vary your grip width to target different muscle groups. For example, a narrower grip will target the triceps more, while a wider grip will target the chest more.
6. Tricep Skull Crusher
4 Sets, 8-12 Reps.
The skull crusher is an incredibly effective tricep exercise that can help build strength and definition in the upper arms. This move involves extending the elbows fully to work the triceps muscles, making it ideal for those looking to add some extra oomph to their arms.
- Start by lying flat on your back on a bench with a weight in each hand, palms facing your thighs.
- Bring weights above your chest with your elbows bent at 90 degrees.
- Slowly lower the weights down towards your forehead, keeping your elbows stationary.
- Once the weights reach your forehead, pause for a moment and press them back to the starting position.
How Upper Body Exercises Help Boost Metabolism
Muscles burn calories more quickly than fat. As a result, the more muscle mass you have, the faster your metabolism. Strength training is thus an excellent choice if your primary goal is to increase your metabolism.
While you can target any muscle in your body to train and give your metabolism an extra pump, the upper body tends to be relatively easier to train and also gives you a shredded summer look.
Once you start training the upper body, moving to other body parts is a good idea to give your body a relatively even look.
1. How many times a week should I train my upper body?
Even though you can exercise your upper body daily, you won't see much improvement. You might damage your muscles in the process.
In addition to your abdominal region, back, shoulders, arms, and chest, you should exercise maximum-intensity muscle-building at least twice per week. This will ensure that your growth is steady and that you are progressing in a manner that is both even and conducive to producing excellent results.
2. What are some tips for increasing your metabolism?
Making some of the changes to one's lifestyle, such as those listed below, have proven to be the most effective way to speed up one's metabolism.
- Consume a sufficient amount of protein and fiber at each meal. Consuming food high in protein and fiber can provide a short-term boost to your metabolism that lasts a few hours.
- Drink more water.
- Perform a vigorous physical activity.
- Lift heavy things.
- Drink green tea or oolong tea.
- Get a proper eight hours of good night's sleep.
It can be challenging to fit everything into your schedule all at once, so it is recommended that you work on developing these habits at a comfortable pace.
3. What are some foods that help build upper body muscle?
Concentrate on foods that contain high amounts of protein. Protein is needed to build and repair lean muscle mass. Protein is the only macronutrient that can’t be manufactured by your body, therefore it is imperative that we consume enough via our diet. Consume foods such as: beef, chicken, turkey, pork, fish, seafood, and protein powder.
A good upper body workout can be accomplished in various ways. It depends on your body and your objectives as to which exercises are more effective than others. You can tailor absolutely everything to meet your requirements. Upper body training is flexible and lets you boost your metabolism and lose weight. Keeping all the muscle groups in the upper body active and working them out evenly helps prevent muscle imbalances, pain, and injuries. The exercises mentioned above will help you train your body to its max and help you reach peak metabolism if done consistently.