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An upper body workout is any workout that involves training most or all of the muscle groups of the upper body. This includes:
While not required, upper body workouts are most often done as part of an upper/lower routine , which involves training the entire upper body on certain days and the entire lower body on others.
Here’s what the 4-day and 3-day versions of this split look like:
The vast majority of upper body exercises will fall into one of the following six categories:
Why should you care about any of this? Two reasons:
A horizontal pushing exercise is any movement in which the weight is being pushed out in front of you so that it’s traveling away from your torso in a horizontal plane. Most chest exercises fit into this category. For example:
A horizontal pulling exercise is any movement in which the weight is being pulled in towards your torso from out in front of you in a horizontal plane. Most back “rowing” exercises fit into this category. For example:
(Note: Even though the rear delts are a part of the shoulder, they fit best in the horizontal pulling category with these types of back movements).
A vertical pushing exercise is any movement in which the weight is being pushed upwards in relation to your torso in a vertical plane. Most shoulder exercises fit into this category. For example:
(Note: Lateral raises and front raises are technically not “pushing” movements, but they still fit best in this category. “Vertical raising” movements would be more accurate.)
A vertical pulling exercise is any movement in which the weight is being pulled down towards your torso in a vertical plane. Most back “pull-up/pull-down” exercises fit into this category. For example:
An elbow flexion exercise is any movement in which the weight is being pulled towards your torso strictly as a result of flexing at the elbow. Most biceps curling exercises fit into this category. For example:
An elbow extension exercise is any movement in which the weight is being moved away from your torso strictly as a result of extending at the elbow. Most triceps extension exercises fit into this category. For example:
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The Best Upper Body Workout Routine And Exercises
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