Top Strength: Build a toned and defined upper body with these exercises

Top Strength 

Build a toned and defined upper body with these exercises.

By Kim Miller, Shannon Dougherty, and Scott Keppel

Photos taken at Scott’s Training Systems (STS),

Photos by Brock Elliot,

Everyone enjoys having a strong, fit upper body and this can be achieved by incorporating a variety of weight lifting exercises into your fitness routine. Lifting weights builds strength, increases bone density, improves connective tissue in muscles and tendons, and promotes overall long-term health. In addition, it also helps improve lean body mass, which aids in building a toned and defined upper body. Scott Keppel, owner of Scott’s Training Systems, shares three popular upper body exercises guaranteed to help you sculpt a fit physique and get in great shape. Complete three to four rounds of these moves with a short break in between rounds.

High Plank One Arm Rear Deltoid:  

Set Up: Begin in a high plank (push up) position with a light dumbbell in one hand.

Action: Slowly extend your arm with dumbbell to the side while maintaining plank position. Keep your arm straight and bring it level to your torso before returning to start position. Repeat for 12 repetitions (aka reps), keeping your back flat and core tight.


5,4,3,2,1 Lateral Raises: 

Set Up: Hold both dumbbells out to your sides, parallel to the ground.

Action: Lower one dumbbell for five reps, then switch arms for another five reps. Next, complete four reps with one arm before switching to the other side. Ladder down to three reps, two reps, and finally one rep per side. This exercise will activate your delts and you will feel the burn. Increase weight if necessary.


One Arm Clean to Press:

Set Up: With your feet shoulder-width apart, squat down, keeping your back flat and chest up. Hold a dumbbell in one hand.

Action: In an explosive motion, stand straight up and use the power of your hips and legs to swing the dumbbell up to your shoulder then press overhead to lockout by extending your arm. Lower dumbbell to starting position and repeat for 10 to 12 reps.

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