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How To Increase Upper Body Strength

The current “trend” is to focus on building the booty. However, training the upper body is essential to have a body that is strong and balanced overall. One common area of concern that many women encounter is flabby arms.

Usually, as we get older and as we gain weight, the flesh in the triceps region is becomes loose. This can be seen if we wear sleeveless tops and even if we do have sleeves, the problem is still visible.

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upper body strength

Upper Body Strength

Training the upper body will also give a nice toned shoulders and when you wear that off-shoulder blouse, you’ll look exquisite. You do not have to worry about developing huge muscles like a man. This is a common misconception and it will not happen unless you use performance enhancement drugs such as anabolic steroids.

Besides the aesthetics, weight training has much more important health benefits. Read all about them here. Training the upper body will prevent postural problems. One common sign of aging is a hunched back and drooping shoulders.


This often occurs due to muscle atrophy and the strength in the back, chest and shoulders diminish causing the posture to suffer. This is known as kyphosis.

The goal of training your upper body is to strengthen your shoulders, chest, arms and back. You’ll need to  perform exercises that work these muscles.

You’ll find a list of exercises below that are great for targeting the different muscles. When structuring your workouts, have 3 or 4 of any of these exercises in your routine.

This will ensure that the different muscles are being targeted. On different days, do different routines with varying upper body exercises.

Aim to do 8 to 10 reps per exercise for 3 or 4 sets. If you can do more than 10 reps, increase the weight. If you can barely make 8 reps, reduce the weight because it’s too heavy. Always maintain good form when executing each exercise.

Great Upper Body Workouts

Now let’s look at the exercises. Do note that if you do not have a gym membership, you can always use bodyweight training in the privacy of your own home to work your upper body. They’re just as effective.

  • Normal/ incline/ decline push ups
  • Pull ups/ chin ups
  • Bicep/ tricep curls
  • Hammer curls
  • Barbell chest press
  • Dumbbell chest fly
  • Dumbbell chest press
  • Front/ lateral raises
  • Shrugs
  • Lat pulldowns
  • Dumbbell pullovers
  • Upright/ bent over rows
  • Dips

These are just a small selection from the plethora of exercises out there that work your upper body. If you just did the exercises above, you would have a strong and healthy upper body. What really matters is consistency and progressive overload. This means, as the sets gets easier, continue to increase your weight.

You must be consistent with your weight training. If you decide to train thrice a week, stick to it. Keep a training journal to record what exercises you did, the number of reps, your rest intervals, how you felt and the duration of the workout.

Weekly Fitness Diary

This will give you a good idea of your progress and when you can add more weight or do more reps to increase your strength. Weight training can be exhausting and make your muscles ache the following day.

This is a good thing. Weakness is leaving your body. The pain you feel today will be the strength you feel tomorrow. Stay on track and you’ll be one strong woman.

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2 Comments

  • Reply Shalini

    I’m very health conscious woman.

    Everyday I do exercise and yoga, And I got the benefit of this exercise. But my hand is very thin, So, this guide will definitely help me to improve my upper body shape.

    Thanks for this guide!

    November 6, 2017 at 11:55 am
    • Reply AP Power Fit

      I’m glad to hear. Thanks! 🙂

      November 6, 2017 at 7:43 pm

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