Top 5 Favorite Upperbody exercises

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.
Honorable mentions
Curl to shoulder press
Barbell Bent over rows
Dumbbell Bent over rows
3-ways shoulder raises
Push ups

Author: Smithfitness

A former basketball player now fitness professional. Alex holds a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Kinesiology and certified NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist(CSCS). Alex loves lifting heavy things repeatedly and going for long runs or rides and helping others achieve high levels of fitness and health. If you love fitness and health follow this blog and submerge yourself in all the fitness and health knowledge.

6 thoughts on “Top 5 Favorite Upperbody exercises”

  1. I haven’t done # 5 or #3 yet but the others are part of my regular workouts. I don’t go heavy because I’m a whopping 143 lbs and I’m happy with my size but they are still necessary for maintenance.

    I may try the one arm dumb bell press – it looks challenging.


    1. Inverted Rows are a fantastic exercise a good alternative for people who can’t do pull-ups the one arm dumbbell bench press is another great exercise. It will help develop symmetry between both arms

      1. I’ve got a plethora of injuries…you can read the list in ‘training frustrations’ on my blog. Any ideas what may be best to do with a busted shoulder and well – all the rest. I’m full on doing MMA training but I suffer a fair amount of discomfort. All tips appreciated.

      2. If I were in you situation I would start by doing some strengthen of my upper and middle back, Those muscle in your back are very important for keep your shoulder blades stable which help keep your shoulders stable. Joe Defranco has some good shoulder health exercises. For your legs I recommend strengthening your hamstrings and Glutes as much as you can( exercises like Glute bridges, Single leg Dead lifts, kettle bell swings last video is kinda long. hopefully this will help you out some

  2. I was expecting to read this and have some imput, but overall I agree. Excellent tips. I really enjoy compound lifts and super-sets. Combining two lifts like curls to push press or pull ups directly followed by push ups are most effective for me. Now if I can get past these genetics and get rid of these love handles…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s