"Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in the muscles." -Alex Karras

While the previously stated quote does have a lot of truth in it, who doesn't want a ripped body showing muscles you didn't even know existed?

In recent years, the influence from the health & fitness industry, medical professionals, everyone's favourite action movies, and social media to have a perfectly toned physique has persuaded individuals from all walks of life to get gym memberships, burn fat to attain a favourable bodyweight, and pump iron to look their best during swimsuit season.

Nevertheless, it is essential to state that with so much information about personal training, workout routines, and bodybuilding available in books, Youtube channels, workout videos, and fitness blogs.

For some, it can seem overwhelming to decide on a workout plan that will boast the best results. 

Whether you want to build a better chest, work towards having a six pack, have a drainage ditch back, get massive arms, or be the talk of the town for your fantastic buttocks, an effective fitness programme that is recommended by workout professionals is necessary.

Qualified personal trainers have extensive knowledge about which exercises need to be done to tone specific parts of the body.

Therefore, without further ado, to help our interested readers get the beautiful and glistening chest they've always wanted and deserve, Superprof has consulted many trustworthy resources to find the best upper body exercises that can be performed at the gym to build pectorals that even Thor would envy!

Also, additional information will be provided in today's article about the upper body anatomy (what is a bicep or a tricep?), and the necessary nutrition to create an effective chest training programme correctly.

In the beginning, the enthusiasm takes over and when we first sign up for a gym membership or start doing exercises, we often only think about the future results and how amazing we are going to look naked. However, it is crucial to have a thorough knowledge of the human body's muscles to achieve a great outcome and avoid unnecessary injuries.

Before trying out new upper body exercises and creating workout programmes, it is essential for fitness amateurs to have a basic understanding of the anatomy of the part of the body they wish to tone.

Therefore, this article is meant for novice bodybuilders and fitness trainers who honestly don't know the difference between the triceps and the quadriceps; hint, it has nothing to do with three or four! 

Without further ado, to instruct those who love fitness training sessions such as Zumba or Pilates but don't have a thorough knowledge of the muscle groups they are working out, the following is a summary of the muscles that are targeted during upper body or lower body training programmes:

  • Trapezoids: to correctly understand what a trapezoid muscle is, think back to elemental geometry. These muscles are shaped like a triangle, and they are located on your upper back. They are integral to the smooth movement of your head, shoulders and arms and they also play a crucial role in helping protect your cervical spine. It is essential to state that your fitness trainer will most likely assign you several exercises to work the trapezoid muscles, right at the start of your training sessions; the results of working out these muscles is truly something else!
  • Rhomboid Muscles:  called rhomboids by many, these rhombus shaped muscles are closely associated with the scapula and its retraction. The dorsal scapular nerve innervates them and there are two rhomboid muscles on each side of the upper back: Rhomboid major muscle and Rhomboid minor muscle.
  • Pectorals: known for short as "pecs", they are the most visible muscles of your upper chest. When built up and toned they are the envy of everyone. Interestingly, swimmers tend to have well-developed pectorals since the very nature of their sport compels them to especially develop this muscle group in and out of the water.
  • Deltoids: known as the muscles that drape over your shoulders, any fitness professional would instruct you to strengthen the deltoids before toning your arms.
  • Biceps and triceps: both of these muscles move the elbow and the shoulder; however, it is essential to state that the biceps are moving in the opposite direction of the triceps. Biceps are for movements where pulling is required, and triceps are for pushing. The majority of professional bodybuilders and fitness amateurs work hard to build muscular biceps and triceps to look good while wearing a t-shirt!
  • Forearm muscles: a series of muscles that are often overlooked in the course of fitness training is the forearm muscles. It is essential to mention that there are over twenty muscles in the forearm that are divided into three major sections: anterior, lateral and posterior. For example, the anterior muscles have three primary muscles: flexor digitorum profundus, flexor pollicis longus, and pronator quadratus. The forearm muscles are responsible for many essential movements such as finger movements to wrist flexing.
  • Abdominals: ever heard of a six-pack? Of course, you have! A body featuring a set of perfectly defined abdominals is the dream of all when starting fitness training. The abdominal muscles consist of four groups:  external abdominal obliques, the internal abdominal obliques, the rectus abdominis and the transversus abdominis. Abdominal muscles are not just a feast for the eyes, but they help maintain good posture and protect your lumbar region. So abs look good and are beneficial to the body? I want defined abs now!

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Awareness of the previously mentioned muscle groups and how they work, or in other words, a knowledge of kinesiology, is critical to your fitness education and overall health.

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It is important to state that during a total body workout many muscle groups are targeted. 

However, to sculpt a better chest, knowing which muscles to effectively work out is necessary to see the best results after a few months of training. 

If you are still unsure about which muscles should be exercised in your specific workout sessions, consider hiring a qualified home or online personal trainer who can identify the body's distinct tissues and can plan an exercise programme along with nutrition tips to have you see results as soon as possible. 

No matter if you are a beginner or an expert, the help of a fitness trainer should never be taken for granted since they will address what type of training would be most beneficial to your fitness goals.

Also, our muscles need to be well taken care of to prevent injury which results in time away from the gym and failure to achieve goals; personal trainers have the best tips to avoid damaging mistakes when performing a full body workout. 

Now, without further ado, in the following subheading, we will consider the most highly recommended exercises to define the upper body that is practised by the vast majority of fitness enthusiasts in all parts of the world.

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Top Exercises to Develop Upper Body Muscles

the best exercises
The most well-known exercise for building a bigger chest is bench presses. (Source: pixabay)

Do you want a well-defined chest that would make even The Rock jealous? For those who said yes, Superprof has done its research to find the top bodyweight exercises to effectively develop upper body muscles perfectly from the beginning.

Many bodybuiliding websites list over 80 distinct upper body exercises that can be done on chest day!

Without further ado, the following are the most highly recommended upper body exercises that are practised by professional bodybuilders daily using a series of weights and bodybuilding machines:

  • Bench Presses: probably the most famous of body workouts completed to acquire more defined upper body muscles. There are plenty of bench press programmes that can be followed and customised to fit all needs. Bench presses are great since they can be learnt and mastered rather quickly. To effectively perform a bench press, lie flat on the bench, disengage the barbell from its cradle and lower it to just above your chest. Remember to keep your forearms perpendicular to your supine form to get the best results and avoid injury. To be extra safe when performing bench presses a spotter with previous experience should be present to encourage and supervise.
  • Dips: not a delicious spread that you immerse crudities into, dips are a famed exercise that, when effectively executed, can define the upper body muscles especially the pectoral muscles. When doing dips, it is vital to put your feet up behind you, lean forward as far as possible, and allow your elbows to flare out as you dip. They are a great alternative to the decline press exercise that requires a spotter; dips can be done alone.
  • Pull Ups: one of the best moves for your arms and back musculature; nevertheless, it is essential to state that you have to be an advanced athlete to pull off this move successfully. To perform a pull up effectively fitness amateurs need to hold a pull-up bar using an overhand grip with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Also, it is necessary to brace your core and pull yourself up until your lower chest touches the bar. To finish, lower your body until your arms are straight again.
  • Dumbbell Biceps Curls: a beneficial exercise that should be on everyone's top ten list for upper body muscle gain, dumbbell biceps curls, when performed correctly, are incredibly useful. When performed flawlessly, fitness practitioners place dumbbells in each upturned hand. By keeping their wrist straight, bring the weight to their shoulder slowly and, just as concentrated, roll your arm back down to initial position to finish. When performing curls, it is beneficial to cultivate the habit of inhaling on the curl and exhaling on the release.

The previously mentioned exercises are some of the most common activities down at health clubs all over the UK and other parts of the world to define upper body muscles.

Nevertheless, it is essential to state that there are many more exercises that are equally effective to building a bigger chest such as the bent-over row, the diamond press ups, push-ups, chin-ups, and the squat-thrust which is also known as the Burpee that works your legs and glutes along with everything else in body!

Before performing any new upper body exercise, it is vital to do extensive research on how it is correctly accomplished. For example, watch videos on Youtube from highly-recommended bodybuilders, read articles from trustworthy sites such as bodybuilding.com or coachmag.co.uk, and consult the expertise of a personal trainer at fitness centres across the UK.

Upper Body Workout Programmes

the best trainers
Before trying out any new exercises it is highly recommended to seek the help of a qualified personal trainer. (Source: Unsplash)

Before beginning to plan a new workout programme that will adequately define the upper body, it is essential to remember that every workout routine should include some minutes of warm-up at the beginning, a series of resistance and strength training in the middle, and a cooling down period before heading home.

Warm-ups involving some cardio are ESSENTIAL since they will prepare the body for a significant workout without shocking it silly. Also, cool-down periods at the end fitness training is necessary to wind-down and stretch muscles to prevent serious injuries.

Therefore, without further ado, Superprof will suggest some of the best upper body workout programmes that include the most effective exercises and are categorised by the desired results of new fitness enthusiasts.

Workout Programme for Overall Chest Mass

To gain more muscle mass in the chest exercises need to include massive multi-joint movements, and the muscles need to be hit from a variety of angles.

The following fitness programme will help all acquire the desired results of an overall more massive chest:

  1. Dumbbell Bench Press: 4 sets of 6-8, 6-8, 8-10, and 10-12 reps with resting of 60-90 seconds in between each set.
  2. Barbell Incline Bench Press: 3 sets of 6-8, 8-10, 10-12 reps with a resting period of 60-90 seconds between sets.
  3. Leverage Decline Chest Press: 3 sets of 6-8, 8-10, 10-12 reps with a break of 60-90 seconds between each of the three sets.
  4. Incline Dumbbell Flyes: 3 sets of 10, 10, and 12 reps with a rest of 60 seconds between each set.
  5. Butterfly or Pec Deck Fly: 3 sets of 12 reps each with a rest of 60-90 seconds between each set.

Workout Programme for Beginners Wanting to Shape the Chest Muscles

A realistic fitness amateur recognises the fact that bodybuilding and muscle definition takes time.

You won't look like Sylvester Stallone after your first workout! 

When adopting a new fitness programme to gain upper body muscles, many gym machines are required; therefore, a membership at the nearest health club is necessary.

Furthermore, without further ado, to help newbies start from somewhere the following fitness programme is excellent for beginners aiming to define their chest muscles:

  1. Machine Bench Press: 3 sets of 15, 12, and 10 reps with a rest of 60-90 seconds in between sets.
  2. Incline Chest Press: 3 sets of 15, 12, and 10 repetitions with a resting period of 60-90 seconds.
  3. Butterfly: 3 sets of 15, 12, and 1o reps with a break of 60-90 seconds in between sets.
  4. Push-Ups: 2 sets until failure (the number doesn't matter) with 60-90 seconds of rest between sets.

To have a more thorough understanding of each exercise, check out bodybuilding.com's exercise database. However, if you are a visual learner who thoroughly enjoys being subscribed to Youtubers, Ranker has found the best bodybuilding Youtubers who offer much-needed advice from lifting to diet tips.

Essential Food Items to Build a Bigger Chest

the best food items for exercise
The regular consumption of salmon is highly recommended to build upper body muscles. (Source: Unsplash)

While working towards the goal of having an excellent set of pectorals requires many hours at a fitness centre following a strict regime, it is also of the utmost importance to make wise nutritional choices.

Even if you have found the best bodybuilding programme to build the most significant chest physically possible, progress will be severely hindered if the correct food items are not seriously considered. 

Therefore, to help our fitness amateurs who dream of having a chest the same size as Arnold Schwarzenegger, the following list features the most necessary food items that need to be regularly implemented into their diet:

  • Eggs: one of the best food items to bulk up your chest, eggs are a fantastic source of both protein and fat. For example, a large egg contains 72 calories, 4.8 grams of fat, and 6.3 grams of protein. Also, eggs are a great source of vitamin D which has been proven to promote testosterone levels in men. How is that effective? Well, testosterone dramatically encourages the growth of muscle.
  • Salmon: calorie dense foods such as salmon significantly promote the growth of muscles. For example, a 4 oz fillet of Salmon contains over 230 calories, 25 grams of protein, and 14 grams of fat. Protein is necessary for muscle growth and repair, and fat can promote a healthy hormonal environment for building upper chest muscles. Eating salmon a few times a week will make you confident to show off your chest come swimsuit season!
  • Quinoa: known by many in South America as "the grain of the gods", Quinoa was regularly consumed by the Incas. The Incas were definitely onto something since Quinoa is a fantastic whole grain that is rich in healthy carbs with over 31 grams in every dry 1/4 cup. Contrary to popular belief, carbohydrates are necessary to provide energy during workouts and muscle recovery after workouts.

The three foods mentioned above need to be consumed regularly by amateur fitness trainers looking to build a bulkier chest.

Other food items that aid in upper body muscle development includes nut butter (almond or peanut), cottage cheese, lean chicken, tuna, olive oil, greek yoghurt, and various fruits such as strawberries, bananas, and blueberries.

Building a bolder, more significant, more beautiful chest is possible by following all of the advice in today's article. For what are you waiting? Finish reading and hit the gym; the torso of your dreams is waiting!

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As an Englishman in Paris, I enjoy growing my knowledge of other languages and cultures. I'm interested in History, Economics, and Sociology and believe in the importance of continuous learning.