April 15, 2022

Torso exercises to build a strong upper body

When you hear the term strong upper body, more often than not, you imagine a gleaming torso of an athlete with a big chest, bulging biceps, and rounded boulder shoulders.

The mass-building exercises target the following muscles in the upper body:

  1. Latissimus Dorsi – Back
  2. Pectorals – Chest
  3. Deltoids – Shoulders
  4. Triceps – Arms
  5. Biceps – Arms

Here, we will list the 5 best torso exercises, explain why you need them, and how to execute them to help you chisel your body and gain strength in the upper half of your torso. These exercises target and trigger muscle growth, giving you a killer upper body strength workout.

For most of these exercises, you can adopt plenty of variations once you’ve mastered the basics. This helps with keeping your workouts interesting.

1. Push-Ups

Push-ups are an effective way to build core strength using muscles in the chest, shoulders, triceps, back, abs, and legs. They improve bone density, making our bones stronger. Push-ups have lots of variations; it is a favorite of beginners and regulars alike.    

Step-by-step Process for Push-ups

  • Get on the floor on all fours and position your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Flatten your back and tighten your core muscles.
  • Slightly bend your elbows while you extend your legs back, balancing on your hands and toes.
  • Inhale and lower your body to the floor, maintaining a straight line from your head to the back of your feet.
  • Exhale and push back up by pressing the floor away from your hands.

2. Dumbbell Pullover

A fairly, unpopular exercise, dumbbell pullovers target your chest, triceps, and lats and improve strength and mobility. The pullover improves core stability, shoulder mobility, and overall flexibility. It is also an excellent move for quick muscle gain.

Step-by-step Process for Dumbbell Pullover

  • Sit on a weight bench, plant your feet on the ground, and hold a dumbbell in each hand. Lay down, facing upwards, and let the bench support your head, neck, and back.
  • Squeeze your legs, abs, and shoulder blades together, bend your elbows, and lift your arms over your chest.
  • Inhale, bring your arms back and start lowering the dumbbells as far as you can while stretching your chest muscles, triceps, and lats.
  • Exhale and use your lat muscles to pull your arms back into position, keeping your elbows slightly bent throughout the lift.
  • Perform 10 to 12 repetitions to see quick results.

3. Bench Press

If you are looking for exercises to strengthen your body’s largest muscles, the backbench press and its many variations are exactly what you need. It targets your upper body while building horizontal pressing strength. Bench presses improve bone density and muscular size while enhancing performance capabilities.

Step-by-step Process for Barbell Bench Press

  • Plant your feet on the floor and lie down on your back on a bench with your end resting under the weight.
  • Grip the bar with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart. Squeeze your shoulder blades and with your feet pressing into the floor, inhale, lift the bar, and start lowering the weight over your chest.
  • Arch your back once the weight is at your chest level and push it back up while keeping your elbows tucked in.
  • Perform 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions or as many as you can manage.

4. Crunches

Abdominal crunches target your obliques and abdominal muscles— more commonly known as the six-pack muscle! They help maintain a better posture and a strong core. This leads to better endurance in physical activities, such as running, swimming, or cycling.

Step-by-step Process for Crunches

  • Lie face-up on the floor on an exercise mat with your knees bent and your toes pointing upwards.
  • Place your hands behind your head, with your elbows bending outwards.
  • Tuck in your chin, contract your core muscles, and exhale while you lift your shoulders off the floor without straining your neck and scrunching your shoulders.
  • Pause when you hit the max height. Inhale and start lowering back to where you began, maintaining the tension in your abs the whole time
  •  Perform 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions or as many as you can manage.

5. Hang Clean

Hang clean, a classic move, strengthens the overall strength by targeting the trapezius muscle in the neck and upper back. It is great for cardiovascular health and equally beneficial for beginners and professional athletes alike.

Step-by-step Process for Hang Clean

  • Load a barbell with appropriate weight and stand perpendicularly to it while it sits in front of your mid-thighs.
  • Tuck your chin, distribute the weight on your feet, and bend your elbows to hold it with a shoulder-width grip.
  • Maintain your back position and keep your shoulders straight when you begin lifting.
  • Once the barbell is raised over your knees, straighten your upper body and extend your hips while pushing your legs into the ground to explode upwards.
  • Pull the bar to your chest height and catch it on your upper chest and shoulders.
  • Pause, exhale, and then lower the bar back to a front squat position, keeping your core muscles braced throughout.
  • Perform 5 to 10 repetitions or more if you can manage.

Final Thoughts

Building a stronger upper body takes more than just purchasing a gym membership and dropping in to lift some weights. You need to plan your workout and continuously challenge your body by increasing the amount of weight or reps every week. Keep progressing till you hit the wall, and then stick to the same regimen until you build your endurance.

Apart from getting the much sought out abs, there are other benefits of strengthening your upper body. These core exercises improve flexibility and mobility, which adds ease to your daily tasks. Training the upper body builds muscle and improves your posture.

What are your go-to exercises for building a stronger upper body? Let us know by commenting below!

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