When you’re ready to sculpt your upper body, it can be hard to know which exercises to start with. And to get it right, you have to focus on the shoulders, back, arms, and core. Here are a few tips to help you get started. 

pulling exercises

Pulling exercises are more difficult than pushing exercises. You already feel it every day. Shutting a door is easier than pulling open a door. Moving something out of the way is easier than dragging it closer to you. This is because extending our muscles is easier at the top of the motion than it is when you are contracting your muscles. When your arms are straight, the muscle is fully behind the move and your joint lockout helps too. When you want to squeeze a rep, the weight has to be moved just slightly but the contraction has to control a lot of the weight in a concentrated manner. 

Pull exercises will cause a concentric motion of your muscles, which is when they shorten. It’s very important for hypertrophy, which is how you tear muscle fibers and then activate your body’s response to create more muscle after repairs. This is when you require assistance to heal and here is a list of pull exercises from Steel Supplements which are incredibly useful in this regard. Your body will need carbs and protein, to replenish glycogen stores and repair muscle tissue.


how to begin

It’s very simple if you want to begin building your biceps. You need to focus on any type of curl. Push-Ups are great but again, these are pushing movements. So what they should be showing you in every motivational workout scene in movies is, pullups and chin-ups. These two exercises will kill your biceps and you can do them in both grip positions.

The pullup is not the same as a chin-up.

Pullups are where you will have the palms of your hands facing you and your knuckles facing you. You can buy a pullup bar for your door which allows you to get this workout in, before work. Your forearms should light up too and that is perfectly okay. When you focus on the slow eccentric or unloading part of the rep, your muscles will be forced to control the weight down from a top position or motion.

A chin-up is where you have the palms of your hands facing towards you. It has the exact same motion but a different part of your bicep is trained. Unlike the pullup where it’s your long head and brachial head that is getting worked and therefore making your arms wider, the chin-up works the long head which gives the bicep its length and peak. That’s it, that’s all you need to get going.

targeting your back

The back is a beautiful part of the body but it’s also the most misunderstood in the fitness community. Everyone knows that the back and core go together. They help in keeping us upright, doing lifts like shoulder press, squats, deadlifts and more. However, the back can usually only be built using pull moves, not push-away moves.

So for your lats, you need to focus on upright rows. These are when your back is straight or slightly leaning back and your chest is up. When you do any kind of lat workout, you must never pull with your biceps or forearms. Try to pull the weight using your elbows. Drive your elbows down and back while keeping your head straight, chest up. Squeeze at the end of the motion, this is the most important part to activate your back muscles. The more you do this, the more you will realize that you have taken your arms for granted and your back is actually quite weak.

the cobra

This is one of the best workouts for your upper body and yet you don’t need any fancy equipment or a gym membership. It’s called the lying cobra. You will get on the ground, lying face down. Put your arms by your side with palms on the floor. 

Next, you will slowly drag just your upper body upward until you can’t anymore without lifting your lower half. Point your thumbs towards the ceiling. It’s going to look like you’re skydiving. Hold this for about 3-5 seconds with each rep and just feel your upper backlight up. It will squeeze your traps, lats, and erector muscles all in one. Not to mention, your core will get a workout when it is asked to keep your body in an upright position while your lower body is lying down.