Tips for an Awesome Upper Body Workout At Home
It’s no secret that most bodybuilders and athletes tend to spend a little extra time working out their upper body compared to their lower body. So naturally, we talk about working out the upper body a lot here at BioGains. However, not everyone has the time to commit to working out their chest multiple times per week at the gym. Because of that, home gyms are becoming increasingly popular.
Unfortunately, most at home workouts focus on the legs. Cardio can easily be done at your house whether you go outside and run or stay home on the treadmill, elliptical, or bike. Likewise, popular workout DVD’s and workouts like yoga and Pilates tend to focus on the lower body. These are great resources for strengthening the legs, hips, waist and abdomen, but they totally ignore the upper body. Today, we’re going to take an in-depth look at how you can complete a gym quality upper body workout at home.
The Importance of Upper Body Workouts
Whether you’re looking for an alternative to work out your upper body from home every now and then, or you’re looking for a regular upper body workout for the house, it’s important to recognize why we can’t ignore the upper body. The upper body is responsible for good posture and a chiseled upper body provides multiple benefits such as increased strength, improved appearance and attractiveness, tighter skin, boosted self-esteem and confidence.
What Do You Need for an Upper Body Workout at Home?
We know that workout out is good, and that working out the upper body is important, but how do we do upper body workouts at home? There are a number of considerations to take into account before you set out to work out at home.
Step One: Identify Workout Locations
To workout at home, you obviously need to find a location to get to work. This will vary from person to person and is dependent on your situation. The most common locations to workout at home include spare bedrooms, living rooms and garages. If you live somewhere where the climate allows it, working out outside is a great alternative.
Step Two: Identify the Equipment that’s Available
Most of us are able to find a suitable location to workout at home. However, what will really limit us is the type of equipment we have available. While it is possible to workout with nothing except your bodyweight, having weights available will greatly improve the quality of your workout if you’re looking to add muscle mass. A complete full-body workout can be performed with just a kettlebell.
Most of us can afford a pair of dumbbells and a bench, which is more than enough to get in a great upper body workout at home. For the purpose of this article, I will assume that we’re all able to get our hands on that equipment. However, if there is one piece of equipment that will deliver the most bang for your buck when it comes to creating a home gym, it is definitely a cable crossover machine. The cable cross over machine will allow you to get an entire workout in without leaving your home.
Other Popular Home Gym Equipment
One of the most common pieces of home gym equipment is the bench press. This is probably because the bench press is the age old exercise that every man on the planet does. Personally, I prefer the dumbbell bench press to the barbell bench press. The dumbbell bench press can be performed with just a bench and a dumbbell and is the ideal chest exercise for an upper body workout at home.
In the last few years, the home pull-up bar has become more and more popular. They’re become more and more advanced and can not only help with pull-ups, but push-ups and core exercises as well. Considering their versatility and their low price tag of around $30.00, these are a great investment for your home gym.
But, at the end of the day, there still isn’t a whole lot you can’t do with just a set of dumbbells and a bench – especially if you invest in a set of adjustable dumbbells.
Step 3: Identify the Exercises that are Designed for an at Home Upper Body Workout
To get in a complete upper body workout at home, there are several muscle groups we have to target. Starting from the top and working our way down, the muscle groups we have to target are the traps, shoulders, chest, biceps, and the triceps.
Traps are incredibly simple to work out, grab a heavy weight and raise your shoulders upwards. Then lower and repeat. To work out the traps, you can use a pair of dumbbells or plates.
Next let’s take a look at the shoulders. Seated dumbbell presses are the ideal at home shoulder exercise. Once again, this can be completed with just a bench and a set of dumbbells. If a seat isn’t available, this exercise can also be performed from a standing position.
A twist to the standard seated dumbbell press is to bring the dumbbells down to chest level (as opposed to shoulder level). As you lower the dumbbells, twist your wrist inwards and stop when the dumbbells reach your chest, then reverse the process and raise the dumbbells. It’s important to note that if you perform the modified version, that you use a significantly lower weight, especially until you get used to the movement.
Lastly, you can also perform alternating dumbbell raises. Start in the standing position with a dumbbell in each hand. Then, raise one dumbbell upward until it reaches your chest. Lower the dumbbell into the starting position then raise the alternate dumbbell.
Continuing down, let’s take a quick look at the chest. You can work out the chest at home in almost the exact same way you do in the gym. The standard bench press is the go to chest exercise. Just lay flat on the bench, and place the dumbbells on your chest, then raise the dumbbells simultaneously. Return to the starting position and repeat. The standard bench press can (and should) be done from alternate positions. Perform the same routine with the bench in an incline position and in a declined position. Keep in mind, that all of these exercises can be done by alternating the dumbbell that is being raised.
The other go-to chest exercise is dumbbell flys. Lay flat on the bench with a dumbbell extended in each hand, the elbows slightly bended, then simultaneously bring the dumbbells together directly above the chest. Return to the starting position and repeat. Dumbbell flys can also be performed from and inclined or declined position.
One of the often overlooked exercises that you should be doing to build your chest at home is the push-up. I prefer to perform push-ups at the end of my at home chest workout and use it as a burn out exercise. To do this, simply perform as many push-ups as possible until you reach muscle fatigue and cannot raise your body. Also keep in mind that you can perform close grip, wide grip, incline and decline push-ups to switch it up.
Heading over to the biceps, there is a wide assortment of curls that you can do from home. These include the standing dumbbell curl, seated curl, hammer curls and the single arm curl. Standing dumbbell curls, seated curls, and hammer curls can be performed by either alternating dumbbells or raising them simultaneously.
Taking a quick look at the triceps, the go-to exercise is the tricep extension. Start by bending over at the waist, use your free hand for support if necessary, and hold a dumbbell in one hand. With the dumbbell in your hand, straighten your arm and raise the dumbbell behind your body. Then return to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of reps. This exercise can also be performed by performing the same exercise with both dumbbells simultaneously.
An alternate tricep exercise is the dumbbell extension. With both hands hold a dumbbell above your head, lower the dumbbell behind your head, and then return it to the starting position. This exercise can also be performed with a single hand. Both of these exercises can be performed from a standing or seated position.
So, Are You Ready to Workout at Home?
The exercises listed above are a solid core for a complete upper body workout at home. Starting with these, you will see results. As you continue throughout your at home workout, modify the exercises, reps, weight and the order of your workout.
This is extremely important because while workout out at home is extremely valuable in terms of saving money and time, exercising at home also comes with many of the same obstacles as working out in the gym. First and foremost, it’s important that you don’t get stuck on a schedule. Performing the same exact exercises, with the same amount of weight, for the same about of reps, at the same time is detrimental to your gains. If you get into a routine, your body (and your muscles) gets into a routine.
Instead, vary your reps, weights, and exercises to get the most of your workout. This will keep your body guessing and continuously tear your muscles so that they can rebuild bigger and stronger.
Additionally, it’s critical to get the form and movement of any exercises you do right, otherwise your training might be ineffective, you can increase your risk of injury, and you may hurt yourself or set yourself back over time.