A Total Upper Body Workout

ASK THE COACH
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
A TOTAL UPPER BODY WORKOUT
A Total Upper Body Workout

Dear Coach,

 

I am 31 years old and have been working out for about a couple of years now. Truth be told, my upper body is much narrower than my lower body. The focus of my workout has been on my lower body, trying to burn the fat around my hips and thighs. Nevertheless, they seem to be getting bigger. As for my shoulders, they seem to be getting narrower, and my neck seems to be getting shorter.

 

I have been watching my diet and have been trying my best to eat healthy; I am not gaining weight, but my pants and skirts are getting tighter on me. I would really appreciate your expertise and opinion on this matter. My questions are:

 

1-      How should I plan my workout?

2-      What types of exercises would help me to narrow down my lower body?

 

Thank you in advance,

 

Carol Matar

 

-------

 

Dear Carol,

 

Planning your workout is the most important aspect of your training. Just about everybody likes to see noticeable results from her/his workout plan. When we witness visible results in our body, it motivates us to keep on going and working hard; it helps us to not give up or quit all together. Furthermore, without the right workout plan for one’s body type, one can create more damage, and sometimes it can be difficult to reverse the damage done.

 

Now, you need to examine your body and look at your silhouette. Individuals with a wider lower body quite often make the same mistake. Many start working on the larger area in attempt to narrow it down. In fact, you are not only creating damage, you are creating imbalance in your body because you are strengthening an already ‘strong' area, making it virtually impossible to thin down. Remember, spot training never works; in other words, you cannot lose weight in one particular area, even though you are working on it. Your body loses weight proportionately, not locally.

 

Based on the description of your body, I can recommend a workout program for you, but you would have to implement it with awareness to its progress and its effect on your body. If you start seeing good results within 3 to 4 weeks, then keep it up and follow this program for 12 to 14 weeks. Approach your training with a positive attitude, and you will most likely reach your goal in no time.

 

First of all, you need to focus on strengthening your upper body as a whole, with particular emphasis on your shoulders. If you build up your shoulders, they will become wider, and it will immediately improve the shape of your silhouette. However, your shoulders cannot be strengthened in isolation of the rest of your upper body. By doing so, you would create more disproportion in your upper body – and you don’t want to do that. Your goal should be to build up your total upper body including your chest, back, and arms.

 

One-Week Upper Body Program

 

Monday

Body Part

Exercise

Shoulders

Dumbbell overhead press

Shoulders

Lateral raises

Shoulders

Front raises

Upper back

Assisted pull up – wide grip

Upper back

Bend over rows (dumbbell)

Upper back

Push ups

 

Tuesday

Body Part

Exercise

Chest

Bench press (dumbbells, machine, or barbell)

Chest

Flies (dumbbells or cable crossover)

Chest

Chest dips

Chest

Incline press (free weight or machine)

 

 

Wednesday Rest Upper Body

 

Thursday

Body Part

Exercise

Biceps

Biceps curls (barbell)

Biceps

Hammer curls

Biceps

Preacher curls

Forearms

Reverse curls (barbell)

Triceps

Triceps extension

Triceps

Triceps press (or dips)

Triceps

Triceps dumbbell kickback

Arms

Push up (arms parallel)

 

Friday

Body Part

Exercise

Shoulders

Barbell overhead press

Shoulders

Rear lateral raise

Shoulders

External rotation

Upper back

Pullover (free weight or machine)

Upper back

Lat pull down (machine with bar)

Upper back

Barbell row

 

As for your lower body, I strongly recommend that you stop weight training it and focus on jogging or fast walking 4 to 5 times a week for about 6 to 8 weeks. After that, you will need to reevaluate your silhouette. If your lower body is slimming down, continue your program for up to 12 weeks; then you can start exercising your butt and legs, applying 12 to 15 repetitions on each set. Make sure you perform a minimum of 12 repetitions per set for all your lower body muscle groups.

 

When you start reaching your goal, you will need to change your program and go on a balanced and sensible training routine. And of course, it is always a great idea to consult your physician before starting any training program.

 

Best of luck!

 

Abdo G. Mansour

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