The Five Best Upper Body Workouts to Build Muscle

There are a lot of different approaches to physical health and exercise. Some people practice yoga as their main form of exercise, while others love what’s known as the ‘runner’s high’. Other’s still, are all about lifting weights and using all of their might to move incredibly heavy objects. 

The Five Best Upper Body Workouts to Build Muscle

All of this is exercise, and can be great for the human body in building both strength and endurance. However, the results of these different training methods are widely different. Weight-lifters are often bulkier, with larger muscles, and are sometimes heavier as well. Meanwhile, those who prioritize running and cardiovascular training are often much more slender. 

Understanding this is important if you’re training with a very specific goal in mind. For instance, if you’re looking to add muscle mass to your upper body, you’re going to want to focus specifically on upper body weightlifting designed to build your strength. This isn’t to say that every day becomes an upper-body day in the gym, but rather that the movements in your upper body workouts will be the main focus of this training period. 

Before getting into the specific lifts, like hammer curl variations, that you can do to build muscle on your upper body, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t neglect lower body training, as our entire muscular system is interconnected.  

Without further adieu, though, here are some of the best upper body lifts you can add to your workout to build upper body muscle mass. 

1. Bench Press

First up on the list of best upper body muscle builders is the bench press. Bench press is an excellent lift that focuses primarily on the chest, arms, and shoulders. Although, you should engage your core during this movement as well. 

There are a lot of different bench press exercises that you can add into your routine as well and they each focus on a slightly different micro-muscle-group. For instance, while flat back bench press will mostly work on the pectoralis major, you can also use incline and decline press to emphasize the work being done by the upper and lower pectoralis major muscles respectively. 

By working all three angles of this movement, you’ll be able to build more rounded, well developed, and stronger pecs that have more definition and natural lift. 

Another good thing about integrating bench press into your regular workout routine is that you don’t have to use a barbell if you don’t feel comfortable with that. Instead, you can use dumbbells to create the same movement, and also work on more independent muscle training to isolate each side of your pectoral muscles. 

2. Chest Fly

Another excellent movement to help you build muscle mass in your upper body is the chest fly. A chest fly can be done in a few different ways, but typically requires a pair of dumbbells. Keeping your elbows tucked tight, you hold the dumbbells in front of you vertically, and pivot your shoulders outward before pinching everything back together. 

This is a wonderful exercise that also fires the muscles in your arms, shoulders, and chest. Not only that, though, but the fly movement also hits deltoid muscles in your back, making it a really powerful exercise to add into your routine. 

3. Various Curls

There’s no way to thoroughly discuss an upper body workout routine without talking about at least a few arm specific movements. There are a ton of different curls that are easy to do from a form standpoint with both dumbbells and barbells, depending on your preference. 

There are of course, traditional curls, as well as hammer curls, isolated bicep curls, cross body curls, and many other variations of this movement. All of these movements focus primarily on the bicep, which is the muscle on the front side of the arm. 

4. Shoulder Press

Shoulder press is very similar to bench press, except instead of laying on your back, you’re sitting up right, and pressing the barbell or dumbbell up above your head. As you can imagine, this essentially eliminates the pectoral muscle group from the movement, and instead drills the shoulder muscles while secondarily triggering the bicep and tricep. 

Adding shoulder-press into your routine will help you build breadth and strength along the frame of your shoulders. 

5. Tricep Skull-Crusher

As mentioned above, this list would be far from complete without some arm exercises thrown in, and biceps shouldn’t get all the attention. Especially when it’s considered that your triceps are actually the bigger muscle in the human body. 

As such, adding in movements like the skull-crusher is a great way to add muscle mass, strength, and definition to your arms. The skull-crusher can be done with a barbell or dumbbells and features lifting them above your head before hinging your forearms downward at the elbow, and back up again. 

This movement fires the triceps and will guarantee you feel the burn. 

If you’re looking to add muscle mass and build a stronger upper body, try incorporating the movements and lifts listed above into your regular workout routine. Lastly, don’t forget the importance of nutrition and a calorie-surplus when trying to add on muscle mass. Enjoy the workout!

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Tags:health, body, muscles

About the Author

Alex Nickson

Alex is our writer, specialised in luxury and style. He is passionate about discovering original luxury brands and emerging fashion designers.

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