Why Is Upper Body Strength Important?
Not only does upper body strength help you carry out daily tasks with greater ease, but stronger arms have a variety of other health benefits that come along with them. For one, lifting weights is good for your heart. In fact, The American Heart Association recommends strength training at least twice per week because of the positive impact it can have on your heart health. This is likely due to the fact that strength training increases lean muscle mass, which gives the cardiovascular system places to send the blood that is being pumped.
Improving your upper body strength will also improve your posture. This is because when you work out your upper body, you also work out your back, which helps immensely with your posture. Over time, building upper body strength will also reduce your risk of injury. The American College of Sports Medicine reports that resistance training has been suggested to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries or reduce the severity of such injuries. This is because as functional ability is improved, the risk for injury is reduced. In particular, resistance training reduces risk of injury in the lower back, which could be due to increased strength in lumbar vertebrae or lumbar extensors.
Those who love to work out know that having strong muscles and strong upper muscles in particular makes your other exercises easier, and will likely help you enjoy working out more. Another benefit that many patients do not think of is that strength training helps protect the bones. Exercise stimulate bone formation because bones respond by building density when they are put under moderate stress. Perhaps most importantly, building upper body strength will make you feel good.
Best Upper Body Strength Exercises
Both free weight exercises and machines are great ways to build strength and improve your fitness levels. When working to build upper body strength, it is important to continuously challenge the muscles. As you increase your fitness levels, it is important to add more weight, do more reps, or reduce rest periods between sets. Even small changes will help the muscles gradually improve. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that lifters who performed three to five sets saw more strength gains and muscle endurance than those who only completed one exercise. Some of the best upper body strength workouts include:
- Bent-over rows
To do a bent-over row, place your barbells in front of you and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, then bend the knees forward from the waist and grab one barbell per hand. Squeeze your shoulders together to row the weight up until it touches your sternum, then lower it down again. When performing this move, make sure you are pulling your elbows behind you instead of pulling the bar up. You should be able to stop at the top of each rap, and if you haven’t, then you should choose a lighter weight until you’ve achieved this goal.
- Arnold press
An Arnold press is a great way to work out all three heads of the deltoid at once: the front delt, the side delt, and the rear delt. It also helps improve your posture. Before performing this move, you’ll want to make sure that you warm up your shoulders to help prevent injury. In one motion, raise the dumbbells and rotate the palms of your hand to face forward and keep lifting until your arms are extended above you. After this, you will pause, reverse the move, and repeat.
- Dumbbell bench press
The only problem with a bench press is that it requires specific equipment, but if you have a bench and dumbbells, you will be good to go. For this exercise, lie on your back on the bench. Then, grab the dumbbells with one in each hand and extend them above you, then lower them to your mid-chest, press back up, and repeat.
In order to do a pullover, you will also need a bench and a dumbbell. Begin by holding a medium-to-heavy dumbbell and lay on the bench with your back flat. Your feet should be planted on the ground and your core should be engaged. To begin, extend your arms to the sky and hold the dumbbell with both hands above the chest.
What Happens During Strength and Conditioning?
ProFysio offers top of the line strength and conditioning services through our physical therapy clinic. The process of strength and conditioning involves a range of exercises to build skills that focus on the mind, mobility, strength, endurance, power, speed, agility, and performance. We can also help you prevent injuries and improve your overall fitness. We believe that balanced training program that encompasses a variety of exercises will yield the best results for our patients. Our program specifically focuses on:
- Reducing exercise injuries
- Improving speed and agility
- Increasing core strength
- Nutritional recommendations and guidance
In addition, our state of-the-art facility offers advanced equipment and programs that incorporate the latest techniques and technology. If you are looking for a practice that is dedicated to improving your quality of life, you will find it at ProFysio.
To learn more about our strength and conditioning program or other services, call us at (732) 812-5200 or contact us online.