Carefully select upper-body exercises.
Planning your workout program is essential to ensuring a well-balanced routine that allows for recovery while also challenging your muscles. Developing a program can be time consuming and confusing when deciding which design method is best. Training your upper body three days a week is possible, but consideration must be given to exercise selection so that you effectively train each muscle group. Ideally, have one rest day after each workout day to give your body time for recovery and growth.
Your upper-body routine should include pull, push and auxiliary exercises, all done on each of your three workout days. The pull part of your workout includes various pulling movements, while the push part of your workout involves pushing motions. Because the pull and push exercises utilize major muscle groups, the third part of your upper-body day workout focuses on auxiliary, or secondary, movements. Your core will be engaged throughout all three parts of your workout. Change the order or selection of your exercises to keep your workout challenging and new. For each part of your workout, perform four to six exercises. To add variety to your program, incorporate different equipment every few weeks. Seek your doctor's advice before beginning an exercise routine.
The pull workout is the first of three workout parts to complete for your weekly upper-body program. In this workout, you will be doing back, shoulder, chest and arm exercises. The lat pull-down, seated row and dumbbell pullover serve as your back exercises. To complete a more challenging pulling movement, include a pull-up to work your back. For your chest, complete an incline or flat chest fly. Perform lateral or front raises and an upright row for your shoulder exercises. Do a variation of the biceps curl for your arms.
Because your chest and shoulders perform both a pulling and pushing movement, you should train both muscle groups during each workout. The chest press, push-ups and chest dips can be your chest exercises. Perform a military or an Arnold press for your shoulders. For a more challenging shoulder exercise, complete a pike press or handstand shoulder press. The press down using cables or an overhead dumbbell extension can be your triceps exercise.
Your core has several major muscle groups, including your abdominal and oblique muscles and the muscles of your lower back. While your core is utilized during all movements to stabilize and balance, it's important to do exercises that isolate your core muscles. You can perform your core exercises during the auxiliary part of your workout. Sit-ups or leg raises can be done to train your abdominal muscles. Do a side plank or tic-tac-toes for your obliques. Because your lower back is not targeted during the pull part of your workout, do supermans or back extensions for your lower-back exercises.
Auxiliary exercises provide supplemental support to your workout program. These exercises focus on strengthening the smaller muscles that assist your major muscle groups. Perform reverse curls and hammer curls for your forearms and cable wrist curls and farmers walks to train your wrist muscles, which will strengthen your grip to support heavier lifts.