These are my top 5 upper body exercises. In my experience lifting I have done several different exercises and out of all of them these exercises come to my mind first. Now I did include some back exercises but that is fine because it’s my list.
5) 1-arm Dumbbell Bench Press
This exercise is fairly new to my inventory of exercises but I love it no less. Grab a dumbbell( just one dumbbell) grab a bench and push away with one arm. This is a great horizontal pushing exercise that will force you to embrace your abdominal and force you to make a solid platform so that you can push the weight up. If you don’t believe me then give it a try yourself( you may want to drop the weight some)
4) Pull ups/ Chin ups
I think this exercises is one of the best exercise you can perform in the gym. It is a great back and lats and even bicep exercise I you want to help develop you back strength then you should try to incorporate pull-ups and chin ups into your program. I can tell you that I am terrible at pull-ups but I try to do a set every time I go to the gym because I know it will make me better.
3) Inverted Rows
I did not start perform rows until I got to college but none the less it is a fantastic back exercise to work your traps and posterior deltoid If you can’t do pull ups/chin ups this is a great exercise to help strengthen your back. It is a very simple set up have a bar rack just outside your arm reach while laying on the floor. Grab bar and pull your chest to the bar. It’s a reverse push-up if you think about it.
2). Standing/Kneeling Cable bench press
A great exercise that I personally think will translate better to life situations. Most of the time we are pushing an object standing up. Your legs and torso will have to create a stable platform from which you are able push-off from with your upper body. Not every one has a fancy cable machine but if you have resistance bands that will be just as good. Fantastic exercise usually causes me to cramp(charlie horse whatever you call it) due to how hard I have to brace. Less than half you weight is a good starting point for this exercise. You can do this exercise standing, Tall kneeling(both knees) or 1/2 kneeling. I recommend 1 arm at a time.
1) Standing Military Press
If you want to get strong then do Standing Military press. Don’t do Military presses sitting down because they basically become a high incline bench press when you’re fatigued. Do them standing and you feel a huge difference on how much is involved to push weight above your head. This is my favorite exercise to do It will strengthen your shoulders, upper chest, triceps, Traps abdominal, just about everything. They are a pain in the butt. If you are having problem with benching then start doing Military presses and that should help you improve your bench dramatically.
Curl to shoulder press
Barbell Bent over rows
Dumbbell Bent over rows
3-ways shoulder raises