Upper Body Strength Essentials
If your workout program is cardio-heavy like mine, a couple days a week of upper body weights will help from burning muscle in your sweat sessions! When you’re body runs out of stored energy to burn, it eventually moves to your muscles. Upper body strength workouts will also help with your posture; abs and core are important for posture, but so is working your back and chest! If your core is stronger than your back, then you will start sporting a shoulder hunch. Not saying you should stop working your core, but definitely include some back and chest basics into your daily core routine to prevent any forward leaning.
I was afraid that when I started lifting, I would suddenly become bulky and muscular like the guys in the gym. I didn’t want massive arms! BUT THAT CAN’T HAPPEN! Girls are not ‘programmed’ the same way as guys, so unless you are curling 75lb dumbbells, you will not have to worry about turning into a body builder ;)
Some of these require a set of weights, others are body-weight only. And these are definitely just a few exercises for each muscle category. I picked out the most basic and familiar, however if anything looks unfamiliar, they are all demonstrated on tons of fitness websites! *Abs/core can be exercised every day, whereas arms, back and chest should include at least 1 rest day in between workout days.
I don’t do a lot of strength work on my legs because I get a lot of muscle from running. Hills work the calves/glutes. Speed works the hamstrings and just about everything works the quads! I usually just add some squats, calf raises and hip bridges into a few easy days’ workouts.
I’ve been lifting weights at the gym for three years now; my first day I was absolutely shaking trying to lift a 10lb dumbbell over my head. I’m stronger now, for sure, but I still can’t do a pull-up! So this year one of my goals is to be able to do at least 1 pull-up on my own. (We have a snazzy assisted pull-up machine at the gym that takes as much of your weight off as you want, so I will slowly work down to nothing!) :)