5 Exercises To Build Your Upper Body Strength


This is a 5 exercise circuit with exercises to be done back to back. 

Do 12-15 reps of each exercise and do 3 sets.

Take a 2 minute rest after each set

With each rep, count 2 seconds on both the concentric and eccentric phases of the exercise. You want to ensure that your muscles remain under tension the to get maximum benefit so make sure you don’t pump out the reps too quickly.

You will ideally need a resistance band and TRX.

Push up on knees or toes

  • Kneel on the floor with your hands at shoulder width apart and your knees bent (or stay up in a plank)
  • Keep your body straight, engage your core and do not break the hips
  • Lower yourself to the floor. Are you are focusing on triceps, your elbows should be going backwards, not side wards
  • Now push yourself back up

Dumb bell bicep curl  

  • Stand straight with your feet hip width apart, holding two DBs in front of you. Start with relatively straight arms out in front of your body, but don’t lock your elbows! 
  • Engage your core and roll your shoulders back
  • Moving slowly, bend your elbows and bring the DBs towards your chest while keeping your core and triceps still. Count to 2 on the up phase 
  • Now slowly release and count to 2 on the down phase 
  • That is 1 rep

Resistance band wide lat raise 

  • Get a long resistance band and step your feet right in the centre of it. Then hold the handles with each of your hands 
  • Engage the core and roll your shoulders back. Knees should have a very slight bend for stability
  • Now slowly raise your arms out to the side until they are about at head height 
  • Now slowly bring them back down in a controlled movement

TRX row

  • Hold onto the TRX with your feet hip width apart 
  • Walk your legs forward and lean back so that your arms are straight, but your body is engaged – so you will want your core to be sucked in, squeeze your glutes, shoulders back 
  • Pull your arms in so they are straight next to your torso, you will want your chest to be leading forward
  • Hold this position for 2 seconds, then slowly lower yourself back down
  • If you don’t have a TRX, you can use a low bar to do rows, or you can use a high bar to do chin ups if you are more advanced

Bench dips

  • Sit on the edge on a bench. Place both hands next to your hips with hands facing forward 
  • Keep both feet flat on the floor with knees bent and take your weight on your hands
  • Lower yourself down by bending at the elbows.
  • Push yourself up and repeat. Remember to do this to the count of 2 seconds down and 2 seconds up

Ben is a former rugby league player, personal trainer and co-founder of Flow Athletic, an incredibly successful yoga and fitness studio based in Paddington, Sydney.

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