Following on from my previous leg day blog I thought it would only be right to share my favourite upper body exercises too!
Now I neglected training upper body for quite some time following an injury to my hand. So I’ve had quite a bit of catching up to do in terms of balancing out my upper and lower half, but after consistently working hard, I finally feel like I have made progress!
1. Pull Down
Now ladies don’t forget that a strong and toned back can help to create the illusion of a smaller waist and it also will NOT make you look manly. One of my favourite back exercises has to be the pull down. For one main reason that there are so many variations! This allows for greater variety as well as making it possible to develop different areas of your back. The most common one that you would have most likely heard of is the lat pull down.
So what are the benefits?
- It’s a multi-joint exercise which means you’ll be hitting a variety of muscles during the movement
- It is easy to set up which is great for when you’re in a rush or for beginners!
- Due to its easy setup it is easy to progress the weights on this machine also
- They come with a variety of attachments – narrow grip/fat grip/bar. These, along with different grips, allow you to target different muscles
- This exercise also helps strengthen your delts and biceps
2. Arnold Press
My shoulders are definitely becoming one of my favourite areas to train and it is extremely important in 'bikini' to make sure you have some form of delt development! The Arnold press, is a personal favourite as it hits your shoulder from more than one angle.
How to perform:
- You can do this exercise seated or standing. For a beginner I would recommend seated, so that you can use the bench to help support your back whilst you concentrate on maintaining good form.
- You will need to start by holding the dumbbells in front of your chest with your palms facing inwards.
- Start lifting by moving your elbows to the side as you push the weight up. By the time the weights are above your head your palms will be facing away from you.
- You then need to return to the start position and end with your palms facing towards you again.
3. Chin Ups
Yes I am just as shocked as you to see that I have written chin ups as a favourite! Now by no means does that mean that I am great at them, as they are still something I struggle with, but the satisfaction I get from improving with these has helped them land in my top three. There is something incredibly empowering and ‘badass’ about being able to do chin ups! So what makes them so good:
- Ask any fitness professional and they will probably say that chin ups/pull ups are one of the best exercises for upper body development. This is because they use a large amount of muscles to preform as well as helping to promote functional strength.
- Close grip chin ups are also a great way to improve bicep strength
- There is minimal equipment needed
- There are many ways in which to progress the exercise
As I said before this is not one of my strongest exercises…..however there are a few things that I do which have been helping to progress my chin ups:
- Negatives- this involves jumping up and holding yourself above the bar and then slowly lowering yourself back down
- Resistance bands- these are a great tool for improving your chin ups! Check out the video below on how to perform. You can progress this by using different bands with less resistance when you get stronger.