Men who consistently workout are normally looking to build and maintain lean muscle to help keep them in shape physically and feel good mentally. As well as improving your physical appearance by working out, regular upper body workout programs will also increase your overall fitness levels. Eating clean is a huge contributing factor to staying in shape and getting the most out of your workout, but it is also extremely important to know what you are doing in the gym and focus on the workout itself… There are a variety of different workouts that target different areas of your body, all being a very important aspect to staying in shape and keeping physically fit. We’ve put together the best upper body workout exercises for men and have given you some top tips to help you find the best exercises for you and to help you stay lean, toned and in the best shape. Workouts are extremely beneficial when you know exactly how to do them and specific exercises that target different areas of your physique.
A balanced number of low rep sets will provide a combination of volume and intensity which will assist in helping to gain strength and muscle size during your upper body workouts program. This could include: 6 sets of 4 or 8 sets of 3 etc. This will depend on the type of muscle you want to build. If you are aiming to gain size, you should focus on doing less number of reps and more sets of a heavier weight. You can tailor your workouts in regards to sets and reps depending on whether you want to build or maintain muscle or work on gaining strength and endurance. For example- for intense upper body toning workouts and muscle building you may want to work on lifting and training with heavier weights but doing less reps in each set. To maintain a leaner muscle you may want to work on lifting a lighter weight, but upping the amount of reps you do.
Upper body workout program for men
Overhead press– This workout requires you to start by standing with your legs straight and the bar on your shoulders and press the bar above your head to lock your shoulders. Lower the bar back down to your shoulders and repeat 5 sets of 5 reps. Yours legs, abs and lower back should balance you through this exercise whilst your arms and shoulders focus on pressing the weight. This is an excellent exercise to help build muscle strength and more muscular arms. This is a great exercise to integrate in to your workout program.
Bench press- For this exercise, you’ll need to lie back on the gym bench and place your feet flat on the floor. With straight arms, un-rack the weight bar and lower it to the middle of your chest. Then press it up to lock your elbows, and back down- continue for 5 sets of 5. This is one of the best upper body workouts in terms of gaining muscle strength in your shoulders, triceps and chest area. The heavier the weights that you are benching, the larger muscle you will build in your chest. So add this exercise in to your training program.
Pull ups– Start this upper body workout with your palms facing away from you and placing your hands just outside shoulder width, pull yourself up so your chin is above the bar. You can complete this type of exercise as an upper body home workout too, as long as you have a secure bar to hold on to. Try and do as many of these as your body can handle. Incorporate this workout in to your training sessions 2-3 times a week.
Dumbbell triceps extensions– You should stand with your feet approximately shoulder width apart, or alternatively you can sit up straight on a bench. Stand up straight and hold the dumbbell weight with both hands. Using both hands, tightly hold the dumbbell slowly lifting it above your head to fully extend your arms. Your upper arms should be stationary through the exercise, only moving your forearms. Repeat for 4 sets of 8 reps. You may need to build your strength up to master this exercise properly, so work on doing as many as you can handle and gradually add the exercise in to your exercise program.
Upper body toning workouts
Are abs made in the kitchen? Yes- but they are also maintained and perfected in the gym… Almost all exercises you engage in (whether it be leg exercises, back, shoulders or full body workouts) will also be focusing and targeting your core. However, these particular upper body exercises will help work your abs even more as well as upper body toning.
Ab wheel rollout– Start by kneeling on the floor, holding the ‘ab wheel’ underneath your shoulders. Roll the wheel away from you until you feel as though you are about to lose the tension in your abdominal area. Now you can roll yourself back to where you started. Do not sacrifice your form to allow yourself to do more. It is better to do less but do them properly. Start with 5 sets of ten reps. If you are aiming to focus on your abdominal area it is important to have combined ab exercises in your exercise program.
Horizontal cable wood chop– Set a cable pulley to shoulder level, and stand with your side to the cable, feet shoulder width apart. Then grasp the handle with both hands. Arms should be extended away from the machine so you can feel tension on the cable. In a ‘chopping’ motion, twist away from the machine and keep your feet firmly on the ground. This is a great exercise to enhance your abs and arms.
Cable crunches– Attach a rope handle to the top of a cable pulley machine. Hold onto the rope handle tightly with both hands, and pull it down so you are kneeling down, both knees on the ground. Set back your hips and tense your core and crunch your abdominals downwards, towards the floor. Pull down until your core is parallel with the floor and hold for 1 and half seconds. Extend your back up slowly, returning your starting position and repeat 4 sets of 8 reps. This upper-body exercising will really help work your upper abs, so make sure you are integrating this exercise in to your trading program.
Full upper body workout for men – 3 HOT TIPS
There are a variety of upper body workout programs and toning exercises and I always get asked about men’s upper body workouts. One of the most asked questions by regular ‘gym-goers’ is “What should I focus on for the optimum work out?” There are many different ways in which you can enhance your training sessions and below I have given you my best 3 tips to help optimise your fitness levels and workout sessions.
- Boost your strength and optimize your workout with a good pre workout meal. You can read the best foods to eat pre and post workout on our previous blog post. Your pre workout fuel will determine the amount of energy you have for your full upper body workout session.
- Focus on the end goal. Visualizing what you are working towards will help motivate you during your upper body workout program.
- Make sure your upper body workout program works for you. Practice your routine and mix up your upper body strength workout to keep your body guessing and helping it to build muscle in different areas of the upper body.
Intense upper body workout for men
The upper body workout programs mentioned above can vary in terms of intensity based on reps and weight. Men will be doing different exercises to gain different muscle mass, size, strength and levels of overall fitness. For an intense men’s upper body workout for, you need to try and push your mind and your body to the limit. This can be done be lowering the amount of reps you do but increasing how heavy the weights are. This will help build strong muscle mass and help you gain size as well as strength. Alternate with the variety of weights and workouts you do. One of the most important factors to men’s upper body workouts is knowing how to use the equipment correctly. Do not sacrifice your form in order to do more reps or weights- you could do more harm than good. So focus on doing the upper body exercises correctly, even if it means doing less of them. Given you have the right fitness equipment, you can also complete upper body workouts at home as well as upper body exercises in the gym.