If you’re getting bored with your upper body workouts lately, and are looking to shake things up, try one of these exercises. You can do them in the gym, in the pool, or in the pool with water weights.
1. One-arm dumbbell floor press
Upper body target area: chest
Instead of lying on a bench, like you would do during a normal dumbbell bench press, lay on the floor. Hold one dumbbell in your hand, and focus on one side at a time. Your body may be in a position that you’re not accustomed to. Like a regular bench press, push up to the ceiling with your dumbbell in whatever hand you start with, and slowly come back down.
2. Pool punches
Upper body target area: arms
Practicing air punches on land (like a boxer) is a great exercise that will tone various muscles in your arms. When you perform this same exercise in the pool with water weights, the water adds more resistance for an even better upper body workout. Hold your water weights up close to your chest. Punch out into the water, and then pull the weight back. Alternate arms.
3. Cuban shoulder press
Upper body target area: shoulders, rotator cuffs
Shoulder presses are the norm for building strong shoulders. To create a more challenging shoulder workout, this combo shoulder and rotator cuff movement isn’t your typical seated dumbbell press. This workout starts in a scarecrow position with your arms parallel to the floor, hands hanging straight down. Start with external rotation, then go right into a shoulder press. This exercise is all about the right form and may require you to start off with lighter weights. The extra movement will surely fire up your shoulders.
4. Pool shoulder shrugs
Upper body target area: shoulders
This is a great upper body exercise to relieve stress and sculpt your shoulders, targeting the traps. Try this in the pool to challenge yourself, get greater range of motion, and achieve great results with less stress on your joints and muscles. Stand with your arms at your sides and your palms facing your body. With your water weights in hand, slowly raise up your shoulders. Be careful to use your shoulder muscles only. Push them up, then down.
5. Band skull crusher
Upper body target area: triceps
This exercise is commonly done with the EZ-bar or even dumbbells, the power band version provides a whole new feel. This exercise is all about finding the right band for resistance, while being able to have a full range of motion. Secure a power band to the base of a rack or the bench. Lay on the bench so that the band is lined up with your head. Grab the band, raising your elbows so that the upper arm is perpendicular to the floor. Your elbow should be flexed at a 90 degree angle, and the band should be above your head. Next just extend through the elbow to straighten your arm, keeping your upper arm in place. Pause when your arms are fully extended, and then bring them back down until your elbows are back at a 90 degree angle.
6. Pool rows
Upper body target area: shoulders and back
Rows will define the muscles in your shoulders and back. Doing this in the water with weights will improve your results with limited stress and more resistance. Hold your water weights up close to your chest as you did doing pool punches. Put your arms out in front of your body with your palms facing down. Then pull both of your arms forcefully back to your chest using your arms and shoulders. The key is to use your shoulders in this exercise and pretend you are trying to touch your shoulder blades together.
An important part to building muscle is to always keep your body guessing. If you keep doing the same workouts with the same amount of weight, your body will know it, which could result in minimal results. Varying your exercises by using a pool that has a resistant current or target different parts of the muscle. If you haven’t done these upper body workouts before, chances are you will want to start off with lighter weights until your muscles began to build up its memory.
~ Authored by Lucas Saunders