Lady! Get Your Dream Upper Body With 15 Ease Exercises

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A runner’s gams get all the glory. We thank our quads and calves for carrying us through the finish line and rub them down after a tough workout. While strong legs are important, a toned upper body can improve your running more than you might think.

When you run, your arms do more than just swing back and forth. If you have ever watched an elite runner race, you’ll notice her running cadence matches the movement of the arms like perfect clockwork. That’s because she’s using her entire body to run as fast and efficiently as possible.

With every foot strike, your arms save your legs energy by helping drive your body forward. A strong upper body will power you through tough workouts and races while helping you maintain good form as you train to boost your endurance.

1. Push-Ups — 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off

  • Start in high plank with your hands about shoulder-width apart.
  • Bend your arms and lower your chest as close to the floor as you can.
  • Push back up to a plank.
  • Continue for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat 4x

2. Bent-Over Rows — 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding dumbbells at your sides.
  • Bend your knees slightly and tilt forward at your hips. Keep your back flat, arms straight, and let your hands hang directly under your shoulders.
  • Bend your elbows and lift weights toward your chest, keeping your arms close to your body.
  • Extend your arms back out.
  • Continue for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat 4x.

3. Plank Ups — 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off

  • Start in high plank. Bend one arm to bring your elbow and forearm to the floor.
  • Bring the other arm down so you are in a forearm plank.
  • Push back up to the start position, placing each hand where your elbows were.
  • Repeat this movement, alternating which side you lower first with each rep.
  • Continue for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat 4x.

4. Renegade Rows — 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off

  • Start in high plank, each hand holding on to a dumbbell that is resting on the floor.
  • Pull your right elbow back, raising dumbbell toward your chest and keeping your right elbow close to torso, abs tight, and hips facing down.
  • Lower the weight and repeat on the opposite side.
  • Continue for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat 4x

5. Down Dog To Plank — 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off

  • Start in high plank with your hands and wrists stacked directly under your shoulders, your body in one straight line.
  • Keep both hands and feet on the ground, shift back into downward dog so your butt is in the air and your heels are closer to the floor.
  • Shift forward into high plank.
  • Continue for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat 4x.

6. The Wrist Curl

The movement of our wrist muscles are responsible for helping us grasp and manipulate objects. Yet, we often neglect to train and strengthen these intricate muscles. Furthermore, our forearm muscles, in combination with our wrist muscles, are used in virtually every activity involving our upper bodies. Therefore, it is imperative that we strengthen and train these muscles continuously in order to avoid wrist injuries as well as help maintain improved  hand function in our old age. Wrist curls strengthen the forearm muscles and the joint around the wrist which in turn makes the wrist less susceptible to injury.

7. The Bicep Curl

The bicep curl is a basic exercise designed to increase the strength and muscle endurance of your upper arms. Contrary to popular belief, the bicep muscle, located in the front of the arms, is a much smaller muscle than the triceps muscle, located in the back of the arms. Despite its small size, the bicep muscle is used as a secondary muscle in virtually every activity involving the major muscle groups of our upper bodies, mainly the chest, back and shoulders. Therefore, it is imperative that we train this muscle to withstand the strain of everyday life.

8. The Push-Up

In the fitness industry, the pushup is affectionately referred to as the king of all upper body exercises. That is because this single upper body exercise engages more of your upper body muscle groups, collectively, than any other upper body exercise and can be used to measure an individual’s overall physical fitness. The pushup is primarily designed to train the pectorals, or chest muscles. But, it also engages the biceps, triceps, forearms, wrist, shoulders, and core muscles. Therefore, doing a few sets of pushups a day is the fastest way to build your overall upper body strength.

9. The Triceps Overhead Extension

Ladies, are you looking for a fast and effective way to banish those bat wings, permanently? If so, than look no further than the triceps overhead extension. That is because this exercise is designed to isolate and target your triceps muscle, the large muscle located in the back of the arms. Besides its aesthetic benefits, training the triceps muscle will also greatly increase the strength of your arms.

10. The Skull Crusher

The skull crusher is the advanced version of the triceps overhead extension. Like the triceps overhead extension, the skull crusher is an exercise designed to primarily target your triceps muscle, the large muscle in the back of the upper arm. However, unlike the triceps overhead extension, the skull crusher also engages your wrist, forearm, core and quad muscles, to a lesser degree.

11. The Triceps Push-Up

The triceps pushup is a pushup in the sense that it targets all the major muscles groups of your upper body, such as the arm, chest, shoulder and core muscles. However, what sets the triceps pushup apart from a regular pushup is the fact that by placing your hands closer together you put more emphasis on the triceps. This is a great exercise for those of you looking for a fast and highly effective way of toning your upper bodies, especially the area in the back of the upper arms, which is on the top of most women’s list of problem areas.

12. The Dumbbell Shoulder Press

The dumbbell shoulder press is a compound exercise designed to target all of your shoulder muscles as well as your triceps muscles and trapezius muscle, the large muscle located at the side and back of the neck, which extend as far down as beneath the shoulder blade. The trapezius muscle is one of the largest muscles found in the human body. Those of you who spend a great deal of time sitting behind a desk may be experiencing tension and muscle spasms in the back of the neck, which often reverberate down the arms and midback making such everyday tasks as bending, standing, sitting or climbing stairs painful. Strengthening your shoulder muscles, primarily your deltoids, as well as your trapezius muscle, through this exercise will help alleviate many of these aches and pains as well as improve your overall balance and posture.

13. The Side Dumbbell Lateral Raise

The lateral raise is a secondary movement exercise designed to work the deltoids muscles of the shoulders. Strong deltoids muscles are crucial for good balance and posture. These muscles also play an important role in helping increase our arms’ range of motion. That is because our deltoids muscles, located in the front and back of the shoulders, are primarily responsible for helping keep our shoulders high and pulled back. This, in turn, prevents sagging of the shoulders, in old age, and helps our arms maintain their optimal range of motion.

14. The Lower Back Extension

The lower back extension, the simplest of all bodyweight exercises, is the most effective exercise designed to isolate, elongate and strengthen the muscles of your lower back. By performing high repetitions of this bodyweight exercise, on a daily basis, you will notice a marked decrease in lower back tension and pain.

15. The Superman

The majority of women suffer from lower back pain as a result of the strain spending too much time in the sitting position places on your lower back muscles. Therefore, the superman is a great exercise for those of you who spend your days sitting behind a desk and consequently suffer from lower back pain. This exercise will strengthen your lower back muscles and consequently improve your posture and balance. After a long day at the office, this exercise will also serve as a stretching exercise for your lower back muscles and relieve the tension that often leads to lower back pain.

While exercises that work your butt and abs tend to get a lot of lovin’ in fitness classes and regular gym routines, focusing on your upper body can make you feel strong, powerful, and like you could lift a suitcase into the overhead bin no problem.