Whether you’re at a stage in life where you’re having to hold little children, or you’re noticing your muscle mass declining with age, you know you need more upper body strength. Lacking the strength to physically accomplish what you need to can leave you feeling exhausted by the end of the day. Fortunately, improving your upper body strength is not rocket science, nor will it take you much time.
The key is to challenge each of the muscle groups in the upper body just a few times per week. This only requires 4 simple exercises that anybody can do at home. You’ll need some hand weights, or you can even use household items if you don’t have weights.
You’ll want to start with 1 set of each exercise, completing about 10 repetitions. It should feel really challenging by the time you get to the 10th rep, so you’ll need to adjust the weight you’re carrying to accomplish that. Work up to doing 2 sets of each exercise. And finally, 3.
Now I know you have 1,000 other things to do so I’m happy to tell you that this will take very little time. You can also do it while watching Netflix! I do!
Each 10-rep set of an exercise should honestly take only about a minute. So, if you go through all 4 exercises, taking a little break between, this should only take 6 minutes. That’s for 1 set. Times that by 2, and it’s 12 minutes, and 3 it’s still under 20 minutes!
Also, you do not have to do this every day! Three times per week is plenty. And once you’re in a place where you’re really happy with your upper body strength, you only have to do this 1-2 times per week to maintain it (because we don’t lose muscle mass as quickly as we lose our aerobic capacity).
But it’s important to remember that while this won’t take much time, it should be very hard if you’re going to gain muscle and get more toned. Be careful not to swing your arms and use momentum. It needs to be a fairly slow and intentional movement. Ask yourself if you’re really having to work hard to complete that last rep.
Here’s 4 simple exercises that can have your entire upper body stronger in no time:
Hold your arms out in front of you, but don’t lock out your elbows. Curl your fist toward your face.
Overhead press + Chest Press:
Start with your arms in a “goalpost” position. The press the weights overhead, bringing them closer together. Next (after bringing your arms back down to the goalpost position), press your arms in toward each other, so your fists come closer together. One press up and one press inward counts as one repetition.
Bent over row:
Pull your abs in and hinge over at your waist, sending your seat back. Starting with your arms straight out, pull your elbows up as you bend your arms, and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
Starting from the same body position as bent over row, hold your arms back behind you with your elbows bent. Extend your arms straight. As you bend again, do not let your forearms and elbows lower.
If you want more at-home workouts, check out our premium channel, Splendid Barre Online! We have fun barre workouts you can do at home – in lengths of 10, 30 or 60 minutes, as well as Dr. Karlie Moore’s “Nutrition Made Simple” course series. You can get started with a 7 day free trial!