Best Exercises For Upper Body Strength

Best Exercises For Upper Body Strength

Getting a strong upper body can seem like a lot of hard work. There are a multitude of different muscle groups to train including the chest, back, shoulders and arms. You’ll be pleased to hear that there are a few select exercises that can hit either some or all of the aforementioned muscle groups at once! Here is a list of the best exercises for upper body strength.


This is a bodyweight exercise (though you can attach extra weight to yourself as you get better and stronger) that incorporates the “pulling” muscles. When you perform a pull-up, your core muscles have to work hard to stop your body from swinging, whilst your biceps, upper back and shoulders all help to pull you up and control your descent.


Whereas pull-ups are king of the “pulling” exercises, push-ups are the perfect “pushing” exercise for the muscles of the upper body. To carry out the exercise successfully, you must engage the muscles in your core and hips, while your shoulders, chest and triceps perform the dynamic work. Push-ups are one of the best exercises to get you looking ripped, without using weights.

Military Press

Otherwise known as the overhead press, the military press, is a commonly used shoulder workout. It is a relatively simple exercise, pushing a weighted barbell straight up over your head, followed by lowering the barbell to shoulder height and repeat. The military press hits several muscles, including the deltoids and triceps, while your abs and back help to stabilize your body as you perform the exercise.

Bench Press

The bench press is as old school as they come, and hits the chest, shoulder and tricep muscle groups. If you want to work these different muscle groups at a different angle, you always have the option of doing incline or decline bench presses.

Lat Pull-Downs

The movement of doing a pull-down is basically a reverse, weighted version of a pull-up. Rather than pulling your chin up to to a bar, you pull a weighted bar downwards. If you’re not strong enough to do pull-ups yet, the pull-down machine is the perfect way to build up to doing your first pull-up. Just simply add a little weight progressively to your routine, until you feel you’re strong enough to lift your own body weight.