A toned, strong upper body is the desire of most people who lift weights at the gym. Everybody knows that the bench press is an excellent exercise to improve upper body strength. There are actually numerous weight-lifting exercises that should be done to give you a full body workout. Strengthening your upper body is not something that can be done in a week, though. With hard work and plenty of time at the gym, though, you can vastly increase your upper body strength in just a few weeks.
Begin everyday by performing pushups. The standard pushup is an excellent exercise for your triceps and chest muscles. Determine how many pushups you can comfortably do in one sitting and then complete that amount each morning for a single week. In week two, increase that number by five or 10. Continue increasing the amount of pushups you do each week and you will see just how much stronger you get by how many pushups you can do without breaking a sweat.
Don't forget to spend time working out your triceps. Curls and the bench press are arguably the two most favored weight lifting exercises for those hoping to increase upper body strength. What many people don't know, however, is that stronger biceps can actually lead to you being able to bench press more weight, which will in turn lead to more upper body strength. Laying and sitting tricep extensions are very simple exercises that give your triceps a great workout.
Perform lifting exercises for your shoulders. Your biceps, triceps and chest muscles are not the only parts of your upper body, after all. Broad shoulders are like the finishing touch on a stronger upper body. Overhead and lateral dumbbell presses are two easy shoulder exercises you can perform at any gym. A rowing machine is also great for your shoulders.
Utilize dumbbells and an inclined, declined and flat bench to perform different bench press exercises. Varying your bench press lifts with the bench at different heights gives your entire chest a workou, which, of course, will improve total upper body strength. When using dumbbells to lift in this way, simply divide your normal bench press weight by two to determine which weights to lift. In other words, if your normal bench press weight is 100 pounds, use two 50-pound dumbbells to complete these exercises. Perform the same amount and order of reps as you would when doing your normal bench press exercises. A common weight lifting set is to do 12, 10, 10, increase the weight by five or 10 pounds and then lift 8, 8, and finish with 6 lifts after slightly increasing the lift once again.
Use the bar to complete a standard bench press routine using the declined, inclined and flat bench once again. Do this in the exact same way as you did with the dumbbells. The difference here is that you will have to keep the bar steady throughout the routine, which will force you to use your muscles differently. This will improve your upper body strength. Since you won't be using a machine for this, though, it's wise to have a spotter as a way to make sure you're lifting the bar correctly and to avoid injuries.