Upper body strength workouts make me feel like a BEAST.
For some time now, I've been working on my upper body strength, and while my progress may be happening in baby steps, I'm definitely improving. Even my husband has been pointing out my growing biceps - and I'm not mad about it!
Because of my body type, I'm more petite through the shoulders, arms, and upper back, while most of my bulk is in my lower half. (What's up my pear-shaped ladies!) I won't be able to significantly change my body type - it's how I'm built and I am working it. But to create a more even proportion between the upper and lower body, I've been working on that upper body strength with a few key moves that I'm going to share with you today!
Let's not forget that workouts shouldn't be done for the sole purpose of looking great. It's about how you feel and what your body can do as a result. I've got a few long-term fitness goals that I'm working toward, and building the upper body will help me reach those goals.
So rather than focusing on how your workouts will make you look, come up with a few goals on what you want to be able to do with your newfound strength. Maybe you want to do 20 full pushups? One single pull up? Heck, maybe you just want to make it through this one workout to prove to yourself that there's a beautiful beast inside of you! Create a safe, realistic, tangible goal and take the steps necessary to CRUSH it.
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Equipment Used in This Workout
You can do this workout at the gym or at home, but you will need some equipment to get the best results. I recommend using adjustable dumbbells, a bench, and a yoga mat - I'll link the equipment I use and recommend below! Investing in a few pieces of home gym equipment will save you money in the long run!
Just for a reference point, I use between 5 and 20 pounds for this workout, which is why I use adjustable dumbbells. That said, the weight you'll be lifting is entirely dependent on your level of strength, so choose what's best for you. DON'T lift too heavy and sacrifice good form! No bueno, mi amiga.
Tips for Successful Workouts
It's also important that you warm up before the workout and stretch when you're done. I keep my upper body warmups simple with some arm swings, arm circles, shoulder rolls, and motions that mimic the exercises in the routine (minus the weights).
After the workout, make sure you address all the muscles you've used. I typically cool down with a basic arm cross stretch, tricep overhead stretch, wall stretches, and my favorite after a tough workout - child's pose. Don't skip this! I know it's tempting to wrap it up ASAP, but your future self will thank you if you give those muscles some love.
One last thing! Ladies, make sure you eat enough to support your workouts. If you truly want to build your upper body, you need to fuel your workouts with protein-rich foods, and drink plenty of water to maintain hydration. If you don't eat enough to refuel, you'll end up breaking down your muscles and making yourself susceptible to injury - and your workout will be all for naught! I usually cap off strength workouts with a protein shake to aid in muscle recovery.
Now get out there and build those biceps!