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Upper Body Strengthening

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SparkPoints: (891)
Fitness Minutes: (860)
Posts: 51
1/14/13 8:48 A

Sounds like you need strengthening exercises that mimic harnessing a horse. Throwing the harness up and need to do kettle ball exercises...or clean and jerks(look it up on's exercise data base) with either weights or dumbbells. You also need to work your core which will keep everything steady and stabalized so you don't injure yourself. Of course you also need to keep your lower body strong as well cause it'll make your work much easier.

SparkPoints: (31,031)
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1/14/13 1:49 A

Another good upper-body exercise is the inverted row:

All you need is a bar. Easier than pullups, but still a great challenge for your upper body. The closer you are to parallel to the floor, the harder it is, by the way.

Posts: 13,903
1/13/13 9:59 P

Pushups are a great exercise, as they work several different upper body muscles (triceps, shoulders and chest), with no equipment required.

If you add pull-ups, then you should be working most of the major upper body muscles in just a couple of moves (in this case, biceps, shoulders and back). However, pull-ups are a tough exercise to start out on. Lateral pull-downs on the bowflex are a good substitute. Bent over dumbbell rows are another good substitute, but of course, they require dumbbells.

The motion you describe (twisting and flinging) also works the core - definitely include some planks and side planks to strengthen these muscles as well.


SparkPoints: (7,041)
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1/13/13 7:26 P

Thanks for the input! I love the idea of practicing the specific movement with a sandbag or something, and I, too, LOVE pushups!

Posts: 382
1/13/13 12:57 P

Several times per week my job involves hoisting 35-40 pounds of leather onto my right shoulder, then walking several yards before slinging it all onto a horse that stands 5-6' tall at the withers.

That's a pretty specific movement, and when it comes to training for specific movements, the best preparation is to try to simulate the movement as closely as possible. One way to do this is with a sandbag. Here are instructions how to do it, using sand or gravel from any pet store:

Here's another variation:

Then just do the movement you described. Start light (weigh the bag on a scale), then work your way up over time.

You can certainly add in a bodyweight strength program for general conditioning. Check this thread for ideas:

Do the sandbag routine before your bodyweight exercises, so you're not too fatigued. Or do it on a different day.

SparkPoints: (15,563)
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1/13/13 12:44 P

There's a ton of great upper body exrecises that you can do. But IMO the absolute BEST is the good ol' fashion push up. You can very the way you put your hands (close, regular, wide) to target different parts of your upper body. You can even do them on your knees, up against a wall, with your feet on a chair. So many varieties and it's just your body weight. They're awesome!

SparkPoints: (1,764)
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Posts: 27
1/13/13 12:19 P

I did a great 10 in 10 exercise. I am horrible at getting motivated to exercise and this is 10 different exercises in 10 minutes. I want to share with as many people that will listen mostly because I don't want this lady to stop making them :) but more importantly I get all kinds of support from this site so i want to share my great fitness tips with everyone.

There is a whole free series on Youtube. I discovered that this fitness trainer has a great blog too - where all the 10 in 10 videos are posted - check it out - there are videos for core, for full body, just for legs, upper body like your looking for, arms, strength. Its great! You can get to videos right on home page.

SparkPoints: (7,041)
Fitness Minutes: (4,874)
Posts: 122
1/13/13 10:44 A

Hey guys! I recently started a new job, which I absolutely LOVE, and even better, it's a highly physically active, outdoor job! After my first week and a half, I'm quickly realizing I'm going to need to strengthen up a bit in my upper body to be able to complete some of my tasks easier. One thing, in particular, that I need to strengthen up for is harnessing the draft horses. Several times per week my job involves hoisting 35-40 pounds of leather onto my right shoulder, then walking several yards before slinging it all onto a horse that stands 5-6' tall at the withers. Right now I can do it, but I'd really like to hear some ideas on upper body strengthening that might make it easier for me.

The areas I'm looking to target are upper arms, shoulders, and back. I have access to an original bowflex weight trainer and a swiss ball, but I like to do bodyweight strength training without equipment, and I could get small hand weights if I must.

Thanks in advance!

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