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Last Updated on January 21, 2021

8 Arm and Shoulder Workouts To Strengthen Upper Body

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8 Arm and Shoulder Workouts To Strengthen Upper Body

Losing weight to reveal a slimmer physique is the quickest way to achieve a beach-worthy body. But not if you’re lacking a healthy physique underneath!

While cutting through fat using caloric deficit (eating less than you burn), you must not neglect strength training. Not only will it speed up your progress by using excess calories, it keeps muscles alive and kicking as you strip away the fat.

Prevent yourself from appearing flat or too skinny after losing weight with the following eight mighty arm and shoulder workouts.

If you want to know more about weight loss, you can’t miss the following article that provides all useful tips you need:

Weight Loss Plan And Program: Create Your Own One

1. Push Ups

shoulder and arm workouts

    Push ups are simply awesome, they can be performed almost anywhere and require no equipment. There’s also a mountain of different variations for increasing the difficulty and muscle focus.

    Push ups don’t just work the chest, the lowering action really works the arms and shoulders too!

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    Focus on performing slow and steady movements and always stop your sets before failure. Once you can complete 20 controlled repetitions for a few sets, you need to make it harder!

    Beginners should focus on push-ups from the knees before progressing to classic push-ups and beyond!

    2. Planks

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      Planks are another incredibly versatile bodyweight exercise. They will strengthen your core abdominal muscles while carving out solid arms and shoulders.

      Begin with regular static hold planks, from a familiar push-up type position. Engage your core, contract your shoulders and arms with a straight back for as long as you can.

      Slowly build up your time under tension. Once you can hold a regular plank for more than 1 minute, consider trying some of these more challenging variations.

      3. Overhead Press

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        The overhead press is the ultimate shoulder strength builder. Your arms and core are also going to feel the pressure too!

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        The basic movement is performed by holding weights in front and in line with your neck, push up to reach the sky and slowly lower down again before repeating.

        Begin using light dumbbells and build up the weight as you get stronger. Eventually, you can swap the dumbbells to a loaded barbell.

        Remember to push yourself gradually, once you can easily complete 10 repetitions it’s time to up the weight!

        4. Chin Ups

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          Chin ups are quite tough, but you will be rewarded with perfectly crafted arms, biceps, and shoulders.

          Performed them by gripping a high bar, arms shoulder width apart and hands facing towards you. Under the tension of your own body weight, raise and lower yourself in a controlled motion.

          Don’t sweat it if you can’t yet perform a single pull-up. Start with negative repetitions by repeatedly lowering yourself slowly. By the time you can perform 10 negative repetitions, you will be ready to tackle a full pull up or two.

          Once you can complete 15+ slow full repetitions, wear a weighted belt to make it more challenging!

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          5. Pull Ups

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            Similar to the chin-up but tougher! Perform the same movement with a wider grip and your hands facing away. This shifts the demand to your shoulders, lateral and back muscles.

            Again, you may need to start with negative repetitions. Once you can complete 6+, you can attempt full repetitions. If you can perform 12+ full reps, start wearing more weight!

            Both chin ups and pull ups become more challenging (or grueling) the slower you complete each repetition!

            6. Dips

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              Like the other bodyweight exercises, dips can be performed in a variety of different ways. They are great for developing strong, defined arms, shoulders and chest.

              Focus on using your arms and shoulder to slowly lower yourself down and raise yourself back up. Start by performing dips using a raised object behind you. Make sure you just stable objects to avoid injury.

              Once you can easily perform sets of 15+ slow repetitions, try raising your feet using another raised object.

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              To make this exercise even tougher you can use a dip bar and even a weighted belt! Remember to progress gradually, it’s a tricky exercise but your results will speak for themselves!

              7. Lateral Raises

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                Lateral raises are a great isolation exercise for arm and shoulder workouts. By focusing on primary using your deltoid muscles your shoulders muscles will “popping” out in no time!

                Grab two light dumbbells and hold each by your side. Lock your elbows and raise the weights together until horizontal, then slowly lower them back down.

                The movement must be slow and controlled to get the most out of this exercise. Once you can perform 12+ it’s time to increase the weight!

                Try switching to front raises by raising the dumbbells in front of you. These will target a different head of the same muscle to achieve well-rounded shoulders!

                8. Bicep Curls

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                  Lacking definition in the arm department? Bicep curls will have your arms plumped up in no time!

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                  Start by using a dumbbell in each hand at your sides. Keeping the rest of your body and elbow in place, lift each lift up to your chest and back down again slowly.

                  Progress up in weight once you can perform 12+ repetitions, eventually, you will be able to use a loaded barbell.

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                  Joseph Summers

                  Health and Fitness Enthusiast

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                  Last Updated on October 4, 2021

                  5 Best Exercises for Weight Loss at Home

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                  5 Best Exercises for Weight Loss at Home

                  With the lines of work and home becoming increasingly blurry, it’s no wonder why we struggle to find the time to prioritize our health. Particularly with weight loss, it’s often difficult to manage the ever-present constraints around work, children, time to exercise, and the feeling of exhaustion at the end of the day.

                  Taking the effects of stress and the rise of remote work and work-from-home situations, we need to be far more tactical in our weight loss pursuits. Quite often, these exercises for weight loss at home aren’t even fitness-related.

                  Firstly, let’s look at a standard day in the life of a busy professional or parent to really understand the battlefield in which we need to operate.

                  We all have 24 hours in a day to work with. Knowing how we spend that 24 hours is crucial when learning where time will be best spent for our weight loss journey. Setting unrealistic expectations can be a quick way to end up back at square one.

                  • Sleep: 8 hours (parents, if you’re lucky)
                  • Work: 8 hours (sometimes more)
                  • Children: 2 to 4 hours (includes pickups, drop-offs, and play)
                  • Meal Preparation: 1 hour (at a minimum)
                  • Household Activities: 1 to 2 hours (because someone’s got to do it, right?)
                  • Total: 20 to 22 hours

                  Taking into account that switching between tasks takes time and cognitive space, we can start to understand why people just want to sit and scroll through social media at the end of a day. We also haven’t factored in the work commute if you have to report to the office.

                  Just realized you now have minimal time to yourself? This might start to explain why you struggle to gain momentum in your weight loss journey. Let’s work out how to take back the initiative:

                  • Automate – Are there any tasks you can automate? If you’re fortunate enough to be gainfully employed, maybe it’s time to hire a cleaner or have ready-made meals delivered to your door. It doesn’t have to happen every night, but removing the decision of “what’s for dinner?” can be a great way to reduce stress and free up brain space and time.
                  • Optimize – If you’re time-poor with kids, it’s time to optimize your activities. Turn screen time into playtime outdoors, and get them to join in on your activities. If your children are old enough, it might be time to start offering pocket money for chores and meal preparation. This strategy helped me stay fit as a single parent. By getting out and active with my son, I doubled my return on investment by staying fit and enhancing my relationship.
                  • Eliminate – We’re only human. Sometimes, we simply have too much on our plate due to our high expectations. Take a look through your daily tasks and work out what can be removed.

                  Now, go through this exercise yourself. What potential spare time do you have to work with? If the answer is none, you might want to keep reading.

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                  Exercise Selection: It’s Not All About the Burn

                  No equipment? No problem.

                  So, we’re finally tracking the elements that matter. It’s time to start leveraging exercise to accelerate our weight loss journey. Alongside focusing on individual exercises that help with weight loss at home or caloric expenditure, we’re going to focus on another method to help keep you consistent and accountable for the long term: interest.

                  Interest has been linked as one of the key motivating factors to maintain consistency towards a goal. By choosing a form of exercise that your body and mind can enjoy, your chances of weight loss success are far greater.

                  Here’re the 5 best exercises for weight loss at home:

                  1. Low-Intensity Interval Training (LIIT)

                  Maybe the body isn’t what it used to be, and intense forms of training simply just aren’t safe anymore. Also considering the body’s response to stress, it might be in our very best interest to choose low-intensity activities that we can repeat daily.

                  Mobility and movement flows have risen in popularity in recent years. This form of exercise focuses on restoring range of motion (ROM), improving stability, and returning people to activity. Some exercise options include:

                  • Quadruped Rocks
                  • Frog Stretch
                  • Hip Prying
                  • Scapula Push-ups
                  • Hindu push-ups

                  Below is a 10minute warm-up flow that shows you how to put all of this together:

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                  2. Yoga

                  Yoga is another perfect example of LIIT methodology that can be advanced as your ability improves. Focusing on mobility, stability, and range of movement using only your body weight, it’s a perfect entry-level activity for those that may have lost their way on their weight loss journey.

                  3. Calisthenics

                  Strength training at home can be difficult when you lack equipment or experience. An obvious path to building strength at home is calisthenics. Starting with just the following basic bodyweight movements:

                  You can begin your journey with no equipment and build to quite an advanced level. Here are five movements you can look to master over time are:

                  Depending on your ability, choose movements that allow you to progress safely over time. There is also gymnastics-based training you can move towards if your body is ready for a more demanding form of training.

                  4. Aerobic Exercise

                  Another underrepresented form of exercise, aerobic exercise is often overlooked for its sexier counterparts like strength and HIIT. With the prevalence of obesity nearly tripling between 1975 and 2016 and the major cause in adults being cardiovascular disease, it makes sense to focus on activities that improve cardiovascular or heart health.

                  Another benefit is that it can be as simple as getting your steps in, going for a swim, or going for an easy ride or run. Phil Maffetone pioneered the Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF) Method that almost anyone can adopt regardless of fitness level and experience.[1]

                  Here’s a 30-minute session of aerobic exercises you can try:

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                  5. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

                  High-intensity interval training is a great way to elevate the heart rate and get the endorphins flowing. It can also be super time-effective, giving you a great bang for your buck. Try sequencing some of the movements and exercises above together with minimal rest to keep your heart rate elevated. Be sure to select movements that suit your current level of fitness and ability.

                  Here’s a HIIT workout that takes little time and is suited for any level:

                  Chipper 60

                  Complete all reps of every exercise for time. Exercises can be done in any order and repetitions to complete the workout.

                  If you can’t do jump squats, regress to normal squats, and don’t be afraid to change the leg raises to a 60-second plank if you need to. Finish up with some light stretching or foam rolling.

                  What Also Matters: Sleep, Stress, and Stimulants

                  Sleep, stress, and stimulants, also known as the hamster wheel of death. Tracking these elements gives us the power to finally stop relying on our ever-depleted stores of discipline and motivation to get the job done. It will also highlight the self-destructive habits that sabotage your weight loss journey.

                  Simply put, stress affects stimulants, sleep affects stress, and the vicious cycle continues.

                  Sleep

                  Are you getting enough sleep? It’s well documented that sleep is an important factor in weight loss and recovery.

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                  “Restricted sleep and poor sleep quality may lead to metabolic disorders, weight gain, and an increased risk of obesity and other chronic health conditions.”[2]

                  Start this journey by tracking how much sleep you’re getting. Certain wearables can also track the amount of movement and time you spend awake or in lighter sleep cycles. Getting enough time in REM or deep sleep is critical for weight loss.

                  Stress

                  We don’t need to be fancy. A simple daily measurement out of ten indicates how much stress we think we are under. Using this number, we can observe the effects that sleep, stimulants, and exercise have on our stress levels, allowing us to deploy the right strategy for our weight loss goals.

                  Stimulants

                  Stimulants can be classified as anything we put in our mouths. Tracking calories, alcohol, and caffeine is a great way to observe, predict, and avoid trends or at-risk periods of overeating and destructive behaviors. Tracking this is aligned with how well we sleep, and our stress response gives us enough information to start forming better weight loss habits.

                  Work to identify the trigger, observe the response, and then look to adjust.

                  Final Thoughts

                  Whether you’re fighting fit or returning to activity, the best exercises for weight loss at home are the ones that you can do day in day out that you enjoy. Think of exercise for weight loss as we do for compound interest. Consistently and regularly making deposits may not show immediately, but with time, they give you the momentum you need to reach your goals.

                  Featured photo credit: Olivia Bauso via unsplash.com

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                  Reference

                  [1] PhilMaffetone: Maximum Aerobic Function
                  [2] SleepFoundation.org: Why is sleep so important to weight loss?

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