The 3 Upper-Body Workouts You Can’t Skip At The Gym
The gym can get in serious danger of becoming vanilla after you’ve hit a plateau in working out. Without a standard routine, it may be difficult to figure out how to start working out with the best results, especially if you’re looking to tone specific muscles or areas of your body. With so many different machines, weights, and the antagonizing grunting of other beefcakes around you, no wonder things might not be going well.
The upper body is essential-- you need strength to carry your groceries, move furniture, and all the other little tasks that will leave your arms burning if they haven’t been worked in a while. It’s a little-known fact that exercising your upper body, which doesn’t get near the everyday workout that your legs do just from walking, can actually help the health and strength of your entire body. If you’ve hit a wall with your workout routine or are trying to start up a new one, there are three exercises you absolutely cannot miss next time you go to the gym. There’s no trainer needed, but spotters are a must. And this isn’t just about lifting and getting big; this is about your overall health.
Bring It With a Barbell
According to how much you can lift, or are comfortable lifting, the barbell overhead press is the best place to start to tone your upper body. You may have seen other lifters in the gym with this as their go-to, and yes, they’re on to something. Make sure you have a squatter before you start. With any type of lifting, it’s best for you to have someone who has your back, so you don’t get seriously injured. To perform this exercise, choose your desired weight. Grasp the bar outside shoulder width. Your forearms should be perpendicular to the floor, and parallel to each other. Now, you’re ready to lift. Do so carefully and with the proper form. Always make sure to engage your core (this is essential in most workouts, aerobic or anaerobic). Lift the bar over your head, with your arms ending up perfectly straight. As the bar passes your face, push your head forward. Engage with your traps during. To get the most from this workout, perform 5 sets with 5 reps each. Make sure you have 90 seconds rest in between to recover.
How Much Do You Even Bench?
Men will be talking about bench pressing until the end of time. There’s a reason it’s such a hot topic in the gym-- the bench press is one of the best upper body workouts ever. The incline bench press will tone your arms just the way you want them, and at least you get to lie down. You’ll need a barbell and a bench to get started, as well as a spotter. Set your bench to a 30-45 degree angle and lie back. Often, in gyms that are well-equipped, or specifically for weightlifting, there will be a rack above you that holds the barbell you’ll be lifting. Even so, have a spotter to help you if you can’t make it through all the reps. Bench press accidents are among the most common, painful, and easy to prevent. Once you’re set with positioning and weight, grasp your bar just outside shoulder width apart, arch your back, and pull the bar off the rack. Lower the bar to the upper part of the chest and push your feet into the floor as you lift it back up. Perform several warm-up sets until you get comfortable with the weight. The aim is to lift as much weight as possible for at least 5 sets of 3 reps. (This is where the stereotypical “How much do you even bench?” comes from.) Rest as needed and don’t forget to breathe.
Do the Dip
If you’re not sure about weight lifting just yet or want to try something that doesn’t include excessive weight or barbells, the dip exercise is the way to go. The only thing you’ll need is a “dip station” and yourself. This workout is excellent for your triceps. A proper dip station has two parallel bars that you can easily fit in between in order to lift yourself up with your knees at right angles using just your arms for support. To start, suspend yourself over the bars, gripping tightly. Lower your whole body by bending your elbows in, until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Try to get 50 reps in and rest in increments of 60 seconds. For something more difficult but similar to a dip, pull-ups are also an excellent upper body workout. The great thing about pull-ups is that you can install a bar in your home or office so that you can do a few in your spare time and keep your strength up. If you want to keep your pull-ups at the gym, that’s fine too.
Benefits of Working That Upper Body
Of course, we see “gym rats” and beefcakes running around at our local gyms, looking more swoll than ever. If that’s your goal, by all means, go for it, but don’t be intimidated by an impossible standard either. Working on your upper body has many more benefits other than just aesthetic. Scientifically, upper body training improves speed, balance, and strength. Strengthening the large muscles especially will help to burn overall body fat. Upper body exercises and training can also improve back and neck pain, which will help you as you grow older and your bones and muscles are more susceptible to pain. Getting your workouts in now will help you significantly later on. Weight training will also improve your posture, which will aid you as you grow older and benefit you now. Working out, in general, helps with anxiety, depression, and promote a healthy heart. Men and women can benefit from working out as it releases toxins from your skin and can aid in healthy skin, boosts in energy, and overall happiness. Have you ever noticed that after a workout you feel better? Don’t skimp on those good vibes; they are more important than you think. Working out is the perfect addition to tack onto your Act of Being high performance men’s skincare routine to aid your healthy skin.