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Upper Body Workout Guide

Upper Body Workout Guide

1. Horizontal Pushing Exercises

A horizontal pushing exercise is any movement in which the weight is being pushed out in front of you so that it’s traveling away from your torso in a horizontal plane. Most chest exercises fit into this category. For example:

  • Bench Press
  • Incline Bench Press
  • Decline Bench Press
  • Flat/Incline/Decline Chest Press Machine
  • Push-Ups
  • Dumbbell/Cable/Machine Flyes

2. Horizontal Pulling Exercises

A horizontal pulling exercise is any movement in which the weight is being pulled in towards your torso from out in front of you in a horizontal plane. Most back “rowing” exercises fit into this category. For example:

  • Bent Over Barbell Rows
  • Bent Over Dumbbell Rows
  • Seated Cable Rows
  • T-Bar Rows
  • Chest Supported Rows
  • Inverted Rows
  • Various Machine Rows
  • Various Rear Delt Exercises

(Note: Even though the rear delts are a part of the shoulder, they fit best in the horizontal pulling category with these types of back movements).

3. Vertical Pushing Exercises

A vertical pushing exercise is any movement in which the weight is being pushed upwards in relation to your torso in a vertical plane. Most shoulder exercises fit into this category. For example:

  • Barbell Shoulder Press
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press
  • Machine Shoulder Press
  • Lateral Raises
  • Front Raises

(Note: Lateral raises and front raises are technically not “pushing” movements, but they still fit best in this category. “Vertical raising” movements would be more accurate.)

4. Vertical Pulling Exercises

A vertical pulling exercise is any movement in which the weight is being pulled down towards your torso in a vertical plane. Most back “pull-up/pull-down” exercises fit into this category. For example:

  • Pull-Ups
  • Chin-Ups
  • Lat Pull-Downs

5. Elbow Flexion Exercises

An elbow flexion exercise is any movement in which the weight is being pulled towards your torso strictly as a result of flexing at the elbow. Most biceps curling exercises fit into this category. For example:

  • Barbell Curls
  • Dumbbell Curls
  • Cable Curls
  • Preacher Curls
  • Hammer Curls

6. Elbow Extension Exercises

An elbow extension exercise is any movement in which the weight is being moved away from your torso strictly as a result of extending at the elbow. Most triceps extension exercises fit into this category. For example:

  • Triceps Pushdowns
  • Overhead Dumbbell Extensions
  • Skull Crushers
  • Triceps Kickbacks
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