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Chest, shoulder and arms workout routines

 
Tips for chest and upper body workouts
 
The upper body, chest and shoulder muscles can be toned with or without weights and dumbbells exercises. The ideal chest and upper body routines use a combination of bench press free weights dumbbell lifting and strength training exercises to develop and build pectoral, bicep and triceps muscles and round off your shoulder muscles and lower neck.
 
Tips to follow with every muscle building routine
 
 Before weightlifting and doing your chest workout exercises start with a warm-up and stretching session. Never get into any exercise with cold muscles.
 
The warm-up session should ideally include five to ten minutes of general body stretches and cardio to increase metabolic rate and blood flow for proper oxygenation of the targeted muscle groups.
 
Remember to drink a lot of water before and in between reps and have energy rich nutrition .
 
If at any point you feel too tired on that particular day, do not continue with the exercises. Just stop and resume another day.
 
 
 
Chest and upper body routines using weights and dumbbells
 
Picking the right weight for your routine: Start these exercises only after you have warmed up and stretched you upper body muscles. Start with light weights of 1.5 to 2kgs for men and 1kg for women if you are a beginner. You can increase the intensity of exercise and weights as you progress. As a guideline, use 10 to 20% of the maximum weight you can lift in each exercise configuration.
 
Build up weight method: All muscle building exercise routines should be done in a pyramid method. In this training method each new set you increase your weight. Start with a low weight of 10 to 20% your maximum lifting weight. Medium level is between 25 and 40% of maximum lifting weigh and High is 45 to 75% of maximum lifting weight. As you get used to the routines you will find the right weight mix for you.
 
Using weights to build chest and upper muscles:the lower weights tone your muscles and pushing towards the high weight mark will build and grow the muscles your are targeting. Both go hand in hand you should never go to high weight directly when strength training for body building.
 
a. Lie on your back or use a workout bench, clutch the weights or dumbbells in your hands, with the arms outstretched and palms facing out. Then bend the hands a little and slowly lift up the arms above the chest, till the arms almost meet each other. Slowly return to starting position and repeat.  This workout routine will target the upper shoulder muscles and the top pecs area.
 
3 sets of 12 reps with light weights
2 sets of 10 reps with medium weights
1 set of 8 reps with heavy weights
 
b. Lie on the back or on your bench and hold the weights out with stretched arms above the head and then bring the hands down in a circular motion, towards your sides near your hips. Then go back to the overhead position and repeat the semi-circular movement, this is an excellent body building exercise.
 
3 sets of 12 reps with light weights
2 sets of 10 reps with medium weights
1 set of 8 reps with heavy weights
 
c. Sit straight on a chair and extend the hands in front of you. Slowly flex the elbows till the arms touch the shoulders. Go to the starting position and repeat. This workout will develop upper shoulder muscle and top edge of the pectoral area.
 
3 sets of 12 reps with light weights
2 sets of 10 reps with medium weights
1 set of 8 reps with heavy weights
 
d. Keeping the hands straight, hold the weights in either hand, and move the wrist up and down. This is a very good exercise to tone the forearm. When doing this forearm muscle exercise you can brace your forearm on an inclined bench. You are only moving the wrist. This will build wrist strength that will be required when using heavier weights and for bench pressing workouts where strong forearms and wrists are needed.
 
3 sets of 12 reps with light weights
2 sets of 10 reps with medium weights
1 set of 8 reps with heavy weights
 
e. Hold the weights or dumbbells in your hands. Stand with feet a little apart from each other and then bend down from the waist, to a 90 degree position. Keep your back flat in the horizontal position like a table. The arms are parallel pointing down. Slowly bring the arms to each side, till the hands are straight and parallel to the floor. Come back to the first position and repeat. As an exercise variation instead of pulling the arms to the side, lift the arms keeping them straight in a cross position to target back and shoulder muscles areas effectively.
 

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3 sets of 14 reps with light weights
2 sets of 12 reps with medium weights
1 set of 10 reps with heavy weights
 
f. Keep your feet apart, take the dumbbells and leave the hands straight down. Slowly lift the hands till they reach the upper part of the body and further yet, till the hands almost touch the chin. This is an excellent exercise to tone all the muscles of the upper body. This is a dumbbell curl that will also target the biceps muscles. Use weight that are close to the maximum weight limit = 85% in the last sets to push muscle growth.
 
2 to 10 times with light weights
2 to 8 times with medium weights
2 to 6 times with heavy weights
 
Additional workout information
• If you are a beginner, you should start with one set of eight to twelve repetitions. Also remember to start on light weight. This is extremely important.
• If you are a little more used to the chest and upper body exercise routine, do two or more sets of the repetitions mentioned above. Take care to increase the weights progressively. Do not overstrain the muscles.
• In case you are at an advanced level, increase the intensity with three sets of repetitions. Only use the weights you can handle for all the three sets or you might risk pulling a muscle!
• If you want to build bigger muscles, take care to see that you consume more calories, do 6-8 sets of repetitions of the exercises using heavy weights, maybe 5-6kgs or more if you can handle it. Rest for 2-3 days in between exercises.
 
3 sets of 12 reps with light weights
2 sets of 10 reps with medium weights
1 set of 8 reps with heavy weights
 
Chest and upper body routines without the use of weights
 
You can tone up the upper body even without using equipment. Below are some useful workouts without weights.
 
• Push ups - Lie down flat on your belly, with the arms placed near the shoulders and palms resting on the floor. The legs should be parallel to each other and stretched straight, with the heel facing up. Slowly stretch the arms and lift the torso off the floor as far as it will go. Then come back to starting position and repeat a few times. This will develop your chest upper and lower pectoral muscles.
 
2 set of 8-12 times, beginner
3 sets of 8-12 times, medium
5 sets of 8-12 times, advanced
 
• Push-ups work best when teamed with pull-ups. Clutch an overhead pull-up bar with both hands, placed a little apart from each other. Keep the feet held loosely together. Slowly pull up the body towards the bar, till the chin almost touches it. Immediately pull your body down till the hands are straight on the bar. Do this a few times and stop to take some deep breaths. Repeat these exercises as long as your endurance and muscles allow you. This will target mid back muscles, biceps and outer chest muscles.
 
One set of 8-12 times, beginner
Two sets of 8-12 times, medium
Three sets of 8-12 times, advanced
 
• Stand straight with the feet a little apart and fold your arms at chest-level. Swing the arms towards the side till you feel the chest expanding and then bring them back to starting point. Repeat this as many times as possible.
 
One set of 8-12 times, beginner
Two sets of 8-12 times, medium
Three sets of 8-12 times, advanced
 
• Place your hands at your sides and then rotate the entire arm in full circles, clockwise and anti-clockwise.
 
One set of 8-12 times, beginner
Two sets of 8-12 times, medium
Three sets of 8-12 times, advanced
 

The key success fitness success criteria is reaching the right level of sports fitness intensity in the exercise plan you have established. In order to be very fit, develop a toned or even muscular body you will need to workout at a medium or high intensity level. If you are seeking balanced health rather than pure physical fitness, intensive fitness programs are not required as apposed leading an active life style.

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• Swimming is excellent for the arms, shoulders and the chest. In fact, it also tones up the body as a whole.
 
No matter what method of exercise you choose to follow, take care of the following:
• See it is a balanced mix, involving as many muscles as possible.
• Always start with warm-ups. Never ever start training directly.
• Progress very smoothly with the workouts, increasing the intensity gradually.
• Take a deep breath, and do a simple stretch if you start tiring. Let the breathing come back to normal and then resume.
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