When looking for the best home gym equipment for the upper body, you have to consider a few things. The price of the machine you are planning to buy should not be the most important factor, but also its features, its upgrade possibilities, the need of extra accessories and extensions for performing a wider range of exercises, as well as the dimensions and design of the machine.
You can perform an effective workout routine for the upper body in the comfort of your home as long as you have a quality, multifunctional machine and you are familiar with the common types of exercises for the chest, shoulders, core area, back and arms.
Therefore, in case you are not a professional body builder or a regular gym goer and you are not sure where to start from with your upper body training routine, take some time to read our recommendations below!
Home gym equipment features and exercises for the upper body
To make it easier for you to understand which features and components are necessary for your upper body workout, we will look at the stations each home gym machine should have:
- For the chest, the best features are the bench press or chest press and the pec deck machine. To tone these muscles, start with 3 sets of 12 reps on the seated bench press, using a lighter resistance for the first set and then heavier weights on the second and third set. This first exercise targets your entire chest area, so it is great for overall tone and strength, but some isolation exercises are needed as well, for improving the appearance and size of your chest. So after you do the bench press reps, switch to the butterflies on the pec deck machine. Again, do 3 sets of 12 reps, starting with a lighter resistance.
- For shoulders, you should do the Smith machine shoulder press, as an isolation exercise, and the previously mentioned routines as compound exercises, as they not only sculpt the chest but train and strengthen the shoulders as well. You can start with a warm-up set of 10 reps, with lighter weights and then add some resistance for the next 3 sets of 10 reps. In case your home gym does not have a feature resembling the Smith machine, you can replace this exercise with some simple shoulder presses, as most home gyms incorporated seated shoulder press stations.
- For the upper and middle back areas, you should look for a machine that incorporates the Smith station or that allows you to perform lat pull-downs. You should start with 3 sets of 10 reps of bent-over rows, the first one with lighter weights as previously said and then do 3 sets of 10 reps of T-bar rows. Last, work your back with 3 sets of 10 reps of lat pull-downs.
- For toning and shaping muscles in your arms, you can opt either for exercising on the machine or for using dumbbells or kettlebells. The first option has the advantage of providing an increased resistance for perfectly defined, massively pumped muscles. The best exercises for triceps and biceps are the preacher curls for the anterior part of the arm, done on the preacher curl station, and push downs for the posterior muscles or triceps. For maximum benefits you should try to do super-sets, which are regular sets but done without any break between exercises. Instead of doing 3 super-sets for biceps and triceps using the mentioned features, you can also do curls on the Smith machine and dips on the dedicated station. Just like before, you should do 3 sets of 10 reps.
- Last, for toning and building stronger muscles in the core area or abdominal muscles, you should look for a machine that incorporates a typical abdominal crunch station or an adjustable bench for you to do seated reverse crunches. Remember to keep your ABS contracted while performing these exercises and do at least 4 sets of 15 reps, using an increased resistance so that you can actually feel the core area burning during the workout. Pay attention to your back’s position while doing the traditional crunches, as an inadequate position can lead to serious injuries in your lower spine. Also, make sure not to overwork these muscles as the lower, upper and oblique abdominals are involved in most exercises done on home gyms, so they benefit from all the previously mentioned routines.
Now that you know which are the best home gym equipment features and exercises for the upper body, you can create a personalized fitness routine for shaping your body without having to hit the gym daily!
Photo credits: Ian Carroll