Training Your Upper Body: Jessica Stevens
It’s a common theme amongst the frequent gym visitors that leg day is everyday or every other day with the goal of achieving the bodacious booty that we all work for. This sadly leaves upper body days neglected. It’s time to re-evaluate our attitudes towards upper body days, our shoulders and traps deserve a share of the TLC that we are giving to our legs. To build a better-looking, stronger, healthier body, you need to work ALL of your muscle groups, yes, this includes upper-body workouts.
Binning The Bulk
Forget about the idea that if you lift you’ll get bulky, it’s one of the most spoken, yet false, comments made to and by many females in the gym. It is ultimately women’s hormones and physiology that determine our strength and muscular development, our muscle fibres are nowhere near the strength of males’. Even if you have a higher level of testosterone compared to the average female, there is still a fat chance that you’ll turn into the hulk. If you don’t train like a professional bodybuilder, you won’t have to worry about looking like one.
Muscle Growth and Fat Loss
Strength training exercises of any king increase lean body mass and decrease fat stores, this includes upper body strength exercises. The greater your proportion of lean mass to fat mass, the more metabolically active your body becomes. This means you burn more calories and fat simply by carrying more muscle, increasing your metabolism!
Having a strong, shapely upper body and lower body improves overall self-esteem, boosting your confidence. You can walk around the gym feeling like an ultimate badass knowing that you work hard at the gym and have the defined, toned body to show for it. Be proud of your upper body and show off your rocking biceps and shoulders.
Below are a few of our favourite exercises to perform during your next upper body day, performed by our one and only Jessica Stevens! Jess is one of our Avvini Ambassadors, a content creator, fitness enthusiast and aims to promote a healthy lifestyle and through sharing her journey with health and fitness.
DUMBBELL FRONT RAISE
This exercise is a fundamental weight training exercise that is great for those new to training upper body. You start this exercise with a dumbbell in each hand at thigh level, as Jess demonstrates. Raise the dumbbells parallel to the floor and then return to the starting position to complete one rep of this exercise.
The front raise primarily strengthens your shoulders but also works the upper chest muscles. You will build strength and definition in the front and sides of your shoulder.
This exercise is considered to be one of the best exercises for building muscles in your back and shoulders. It works both areas well and has been known to improve overall strength whilst building muscle. The lifter’s back should be kept straight throughout the exercise at all times to prevent any injuries from occurring. The amount of weight used should be moderate until you are confident that your back is strong enough to handle increased weights.
This is a compound, functional exercise and targets many muscles in the upper and middle back that you may use completing the same motion throughout the day when picking things up.
This exercise works your back muscles without tiring out your biceps or triceps and is performed at a machine with adjustable resistance. While seated, you pull the hanging bar down towards you at chin level and then release it back up with control for one rep as Jess can be seen doing below.
It is important to target your back muscles to help maintain proper posture and ease pulling movements such as opening a door, swimming or even performing a pull-up. Having strong lats can even help relieve certain kinds of back pain.
DUMBBELL SHOULDER PRESS
This press can be performed either in a sitting or standing position, with dumbbells held horizontally at the shoulders or rotated in a hammer grip. To complete one rep of this exercise stand upright and keep your back straight. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, at shoulders, raise the weights above your head in a controlled motion, pause briefly at the top and return the dumbbells to shoulder height.
This exercise works your deltoids and increases shoulder strength, and engages your core for stability throughout the movement. Performing this movement also helps correct muscle imbalances that limit your mobility and movement efficiency.
Jess wears our Luxe Snake Print Leggings and Crop Top, and is able to reach peak performance looking elegant doing so. The leggings feature a high waisted compression band with seam line support so Jess can complete any movement. The Crop Top features a racer back with a keyhole cut out design for extra ventilation whilst training. We have a range of sports crops and bras for you to flaunt your upper body and move restriction and sweat free, allowing you to flaunt your upper body gains with confidence.