Favorite Upper Body Exercises
Published Sunday, 10 August 2014
Written by Duane Brickhouse IFBB MP PRO
I’m always trying out new moves and routines to perfect my physique; however, there are some constants that stay in the rotation. Below find some of my favorite moves as well as why I prefer them and constantly continue to use them to challenge my body.
Pull-ups – Start in a hanging position from a pull-up bar with your arms fully extended. Pull yourself up by contracting your lats until your chin is above the bar. Lower yourself back to full extension and repeat for reps. I can remember when I couldn’t do pull-ups and now it is one of my favorite movements. For me, there is nothing like moving your own bodyweight (or more) through the air while performing a pull-up. Also, it is a top move for improving that coveted v-taper. I like to experiment with all types of grips but I primarily go with a wide grip outside of shoulder width.
Incline Dumbbell Press – Lying face up on an adjustable bench with dumbbells just outside of your shoulders. Press the weight straight up over your chest until your elbows are extended. Return to the starting position and repeat for reps. When I first started lifting I read that the best move to get a well-defined chest was the incline dumbbell press, so that is where I put in my work. It is historically the first move of my chest workout and I try a variety of rep ranges and techniques.
Standing Military Press – Stand holding a barbell with an overhand grip outside of shoulder width. Begin with the bar slightly below your chin. While keeping your lower body stationary, and a slight bend (athletic stance) in your knees, press the bar straight overhead, hold for a count and then slowly lower to the starting position. I prefer the standing version due to the additional core work that comes into play while standing. I also feel that this is a much more functional move when standing. Occasionally, when I am trying to add a greater challenge, I will drop the weight to my waist and perform a clean and press versus a standard shoulder press.
Spider Curl – Lie face down on a bench adjusted to around 45 degrees, with your arms fully extended holding a barbell below you. Without moving your upper arms, curl the weight up with your elbows, flexing and holding at the top of the movement. Return to the starting position. This can be done with an e-z curl bar, a regular bar, or dumbbells. I feel like this move helps me truly isolate my biceps and not bring any other body part in to help with the movement.
Cable Kickback – Bend over at the waist until your upper body is parallel to the floor and grasp the rubber ball on the low-pulley of a cable station. Keep your upper arm in line with your torso and pinned to your side. Starting with your elbow bent, extend your arm and squeeze your triceps at full extension. Return to start. I love this move because I feel the constant tension from the cable. I like to use this move primarily at the end of an arm workout with higher reps to get a good burn.
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