Thursday, June 1, 2017

Fit From Head to Toe: The Best Upper Body Exercises

Triathletes strive for total body fitness, but achieving it is much harder than setting a goal for it. Upper body workouts can often get overlooked; because they don’t directly exercise the muscles needed to run or cycle, but your upper body is important for total body fitness. These are our favorite upper body workouts to help get your body at its peak performance.

The Push Away

If you are unable to do push-ups in proper form, I recommend you hold off on this exercise. Start in a push up position and make sure your back is straight and your hips parallel to the floor. Slowly reach out with your right arm at a 45-degree angle, while your left arm maintains the push up position and complete the push up. Make sure when your right arm is extended that you don’t lose your form. Repeat on the left arm for a balanced exercise.

Goblet Squat

For this exercise, you will need a dumbbell. Choose a weight you feel comfortable lifting and get ready to do a squat. Hold the dumbbell by placing both hands on one of the weights; the dumbbell will be vertical. You want your hands to cup the weight, like you would hold a goblet. Ease into a squat and aim for 6 squats before resting. If you find that the weight is not heavy enough or too light, switch it out to a weight you feel more comfortable with.

Spider Push-Ups

No spiders are needed to do this challenging push-up. Start in the push-up position. When you bend down to do a normal push-up, slide your right leg out and bend the right knee until it’s at the right side of your body, almost like you are climbing a mountain. You want to keep the right knee pointed out when it is sliding and the right foot should be horizontal. Do your best to keep the right foot off the ground to get the full benefits from this position. When you are pushing up to complete your push-up, slide your right foot back into starting position. Next time you go down for the next push up switch legs.

Flying Dumbbells

As the title suggests, you will need a set of dumbbells for this, although two full water bottles could work as a replacement. It is best to do this exercise in a sitting position. Find a bench or a chair and sit on the edge of the seat. Place your dumbbells behind you, in line with your feet. Bend down to pick up the dumbbells, one in each hand. Your fingers should be pointing to each other and your elbows pointing out. Bend and lift your arms with the dumbbells. Pretend like your arms are wings. Continue to raise your arms until they are shoulder height. Then slowly put your arms back down. Repeat as necessary.

Deadlifts

For these deadlifts, you will need a pair of dumbbells. Choose the weight that challenges you, but is still comfortable. Grab the dumbbells, so that one end of each weight is touching the front of your thigh and keep them horizontal as if they were attached to a bar. Bend forward with the dumbbells as if you were trying to place them back on the ground. Your body will go into a squat position. Make sure you keep your back straight during the lift, because the last thing you want is an injury.

Pull-Ups

Pull-Ups are necessary for upper body strength, but they can pose a challenge if you’ve never done them before, or if it’s been awhile. Find a pull up bar, either in your gym, on a playground, or if you have a pull up bar attachment for a doorframe. When grabbing the bar, make sure your hands are shoulder width apart and grab with your fingers pointing towards you. Do your best to pull yourself up so your chin is just above the bar, and then slowly lower yourself where you are hanging. If you can grab the bar while standing, you will have to bend your knees while doing pull ups. It will take some time to master pull-ups; so don’t lose hope if you are not where you want to be.

The Last Lift

These upper body workouts will help you achieve your goal of total body fitness, while giving you the strength you crave. Add them into your workouts to change up the routine, and to give your legs and core a break for the day.

Happy Lifting!

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