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Get Stronger! (Part 3/4)

Healthy is being physically strong, mentally calm and steady and emotionally soft

-Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Parts 1 & 2 in this series focussed on effective strengthening exercises for the lower body. Please see the December 2017 & January 2018 posts for these. Parts 3 & 4 will focus on strengthening exercises for the upper body including the back, chest, shoulders and arms.


Strengthening exercises do have a risk of being too challenging and with this in mind need to approached with common-sense. The exercises I have outlined below are intended for someone who is new to upper body exercise and are safe for most people to do. That said, if you have any pain beyond mild discomfort when you do the exercises, or if that discomfort does not improve in subsequent workouts, or if there is any reason you feel you should not do them (recent trauma, underlying joint problem in back or shoulder) please do not do them and see a qualified health professional for specific advice.

-Movements should be slow and controlled and returned to the start position.

-Use a weight that you can do 10 repetitions in a controlled manner.

-These exercises are done for both sides. Begin by doing 10 repetitions per set, 2 sets per work out. Try 2 workouts a week.

-Add repetitions/heavier weights to your sets as your strength increases.

-You will require a weight bench and variety of dumbbells for these.

Bent Over Row

Place your left knee and leg on a weight bench and your left hand on the front edge of the bench. Place your right foot on the floor beside the bench and the dumbbell beside your right foot. Grasp weight with your right hand and pull weight straight up moving at your shoulder and elbow. The weight should be pulled up to approximately the height of the bench and then slowly lowered to the floor. Keep you back straight throughout this exercise. You should feel this in the lats and rhomboid muscles located in the upper back and posterior shoulder


Standing with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent, grasp weights off a bench with your hands with your thumbs facing forward. Using your trapezius muscles raise weights by shrugging your shoulders up and forward and then lower the weights by doing the reverse. You should feel this in the trapezius muscle located where the neck meets the shoulder.

Standing Curls

Standing with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent, grasp weights off a bench with your hands with your palms facing forward. Use your bicep muscle to bend the your elbow and bring the weight towards your shoulder. You should feel this in the bicep muscle located in the front side of the upper arm.

Pull Backs

Stand with your feet in tandem approximately 18-24” apart with your left foot in the front. Slightly bend your torso forward and grasp weight off the bench with your right hand. Align your right elbow with the middle of your right lateral rib cage. Extend at your elbow and bring your weight up and backward. You should feel this in the tricep muscle located in the back side of the upper arm.

Thanks as always for reading. Stay strong.

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