Mon | Nov 18, 2019

Fit 4 Life | Fit in 5: Upper-body training

Published:Wednesday | September 18, 2019 | 12:31 AM
The muscles of the arms, chest, and shoulders require well-rounded training to carry out their function effectively.
The muscles of the arms, chest, and shoulders require well-rounded training to carry out their function effectively.

The muscles of the arms, chest, and shoulders require well-rounded training to carry out their function effectively. These muscles are heavily involved in pushing movements and provide stability for movements such as pulling.

This means that any chest-arm-shoulder training plan must build strength and endurance, as well as mobility and power. Compound movements provide the best opportunity to hit all three groups effectively.

Upper-body training, like leg training, requires a variety of movements to build strength and endurance across wide groups of muscles. The targets: the chest – yes, for women too – the shoulders, and the arms. We start with the old favourite: the push-up.

The push-up targets all the muscles mentioned, as well as the core. It can also be modified – knee variations – to suit beginners. To that, we add another full-body hard-hitter: the squat press. We then follow up with the lateral raise, the bicep curl to shoulder press, and the hammer curl.

Warm up for at least five minutes before starting. Warm-up should consist of low-intensity exercises, for example, jogging. Repeat each exercise for 30 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Rest for two minutes after completing all exercises, and repeat.

PUSH-UP

Form is key with push-ups; a wide grip targets the chest, while a narrow grip focuses more on the arms.

SQUAT PRESS

This full-body move is great for the shoulders as it allows you to get more reps, and more explosive.

LATERAL RAISE

A great light weight shoulder exercise. If you don’t have access to weights, use a filled water bottle. A 1.5-litre bottle is adequate for beginners.

BICEP CURL TO SHOULDER PRESS

Don’t overload the weights. The combination of movements already makes this exercise intense enough.

HAMMER CURLS

This exercise targets the upper arms and forearms from a different angle.