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4 Steps to An Even Better Upper Body Workout

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As a way to build muscle quickly and more efficiently for upper body areas like triceps, shoulders, biceps, pectorals and other muscles, most people concentrate on strength routines that use free weights. While there's enormous value in "arm day" and you'll get some top results that way, why stop there?

Take your upper body workouts to a new level by incorporating some variety into your routine. By mixing it up with different strategies—rather than simply adding more weight on a consistent basis—you'll likely see better results in a shorter time. Here are some steps that can get you there:

1. Take a group class

For those who are just starting with upper body fitness, or who aren't able to schedule a regular upper body workout day, full-body fitness classes can be a great way to condition muscles.

By taking group classes like Body Blast or Hi-DEFinition, you still get the intensity of free weight sessions, but with the added benefit of group motivation. The energy of a class can pump you up to break through any limits you might have had otherwise. You can also learn some new moves that are worthy of incorporating into your solo workouts.

2. Get some functional fitness

Unless you work in a dumbbell factory and spend your days hoisting weights to check them for quality, it's likely that your day-to-day activities don't involve strength training. That's why functional fitness can change your upper body workout into a well-rounded routine geared toward injury prevention.

Functional fitness allows your body to perform well in everyday situations, like lifting your kid out of a child seat or taking a heavy box down from a shelf. Try classes like Daily Ultimate Training (D.U.T.) or MATRX and you'll get a wide array of exercises that train your upper body like a champ.

3. Try a personal trainer

Classes are great for exercising a range of upper body muscles and keeping you on track with staying motivated. But you may also want the kind of one-on-one assistance and insight that comes from a personal trainer.

Not only will you learn some routines that target certain muscles, but you'll also get tips on your form so that you're doing the exercises properly. This is hugely helpful, because you might do tons of upper body exercises on your own, but if your form is improper, you're risking injury with every rep. Get some expert help instead and your workouts will go from serviceable to standout.

4. Don't forget recovery

There's a reason that pro athletes and strength training enthusiasts call it "arm day" instead of "arm week" or "arm month." It's fine to have a few days a week for working out your upper body, but recovery is just as important between sessions, because that's when you actually build muscle. Some fitness experts advise taking three to four days of recovery time between upper body workouts, especially if you've hit the weights especially hard.

In general, it's all about blending different techniques, from taking a class with kettlebells to building rest days into your schedule. You can get all the components you need for a killer upper body by signing up for a UFC GYM Free Pass.

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