So when I agreed to write this blog we thought it’d be fun to just try and make a “checklist” of sorts with exercises to add into your day. Every time I add a new post I will add more exercises and specify the muscle group that is being targeted. After quite a few exercises are posted we will just make a list and you can check off the exercises as you do them! Ready?!
Today’s exercise checklist consists of upper body exercises. These are all exercises you can easily incorporate into your day. This is especially good if you are new to working out and just trying to find something that works for you. If you are already in a workout routine these exercises are still a fun way to mix it up a bit!! That’s the key to success – change!!
The main muscle groups in the upper body are the chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps, back and abs. Let’s start out with some easy exercises for the chest:
- Chest press
For this exercise you can use light hand weights, resistance band or even household items like soup cans or milk jugs (not empty ones though!). Using a towel or yoga mat, lay on the floor with one weight in each hand. Bend your knees slightly. Begin with your arms out to the sides, bent at 90 degrees. Your elbows are resting on the floor. Press the weights (or household items) straight up. They should be directly above your chest. Lower your arms slowly returning your elbows to the ground. Do 8-10 repetitions to start. For higher intensity, increase to 12-15 repetitions or increase your weights.
- Push ups
If you see my prior post (Don’t be afraid of push ups!) there are easy, medium and difficult variations for the push up. Add them to your checklist and try these:
- walking push ups – on your hands and toes in push up position, alternating right foot, right hand, left foot, left hand.
- exploding push ups – lower your body as if doing a regular push up, when you push your body up “explode” by trying to lift your hands off the ground. You could even add a clap to this one if you want to kick it up another notch.
- partner push ups – for this push up you can use a partner or something approximately 12-18” high (like a step stool or bench). If working with a partner, your partner will lay face down in resting push up position. You will place the tops of your feet in the small of their back. Both of you will push up at the same time and hold it for about 30 seconds. Take turns and switch with your partner. If using a bench or a step stool, place your toes on the bench/stool and lift yourself up into push up position. Hold that position for 30 seconds. For higher intensity, do a push up with your legs in this raised position.
- Punches with resistance band
You can feel this exercise in your chest and shoulders. Take a resistance tube or band and wrap it around your back, lifting it right up underneath your armpits. Hold on to the band tightly and close to your body, even if that means wrapping the tube/band around your hands. Lift your elbows so they are parallel with your shoulders. Keeping your elbows lifted, press the band in front of you, alternating right and left hands (like you are punching). If you are using the band or tubing do about 30 repetitions. You can do the same motion without a band, just do more repetitions. Remember to keep those elbows lifted to work the shoulders in addition to the chest.
As with most weight training routines, you should be doing these exercises every other day. Next item on our checklist – shoulders!!