If you’re serious about enhancing your upper body strength and toning your physique, an upper body bench must be part of your home gym equipment planning. With a few types of upper body benches on the market, it pays to spend some time selecting the right one. In order to do that, you need to understand the purpose of the bench, what features should be included, and how to use the bench to best effect.
Along the way, understanding how to select benches with the right materials and what it takes to keep the bench in top shape will also be important. Here are some tips on how to find the right one and get plenty of use from the bench in the years to come.
What Is The Purpose Of An Upper Body Bench?
The primary purpose of an upper body bench is to aid in toning the muscles of the upper body. Those include the pectoral muscles, the arms, and the shoulders. Depending on the exercises done using the bench along with other equipment intended to tone and build muscles in the upper body, workouts of this type will also help to tone the abdominal muscles and flatten the stomach.
Another aspect of using an upper body bench is to perform different types of exercises safely. The size and contours of the bench make it possible to use resistance training without placing too much stress on certain muscle groups. The result is that you get the benefit from the workout but keep the risk of injury to a minimum.
What Features Should I Consider Essential?
As you look at different types of upper body benches, it’s apparent that some are more elaborate than others. The thing to remember is that more is not always better. That certainly applies to selecting the right type of upper body bench for your purposes. Whatever bench design you choose, there are certain features that are considered essential.
A sturdy frame is a must with any type of workout bench, including those designed for upper body exercises. The frame must be stable even when you’re going through an intense routine. No shaking, buckling, or even squeaking should be present. All are signs that the framework is not strong enough for what you have in mind.
Cushioning is another essential feature of any upper body bench that you consider. Many of the exercises you perform will require that you lie flat on your back with your legs bent and the feet on the ground on either side of the bench. You want the padding to provide support for your back that’s firm but also avoids undue stress on the spinal column.
Make sure the covering for the padding is made of a non-porous material. Synthetic materials are often used and they are excellent choices. Ideally, you should be able to sweat without causing any stains to the covering. Once you finish a set, the bench should need nothing more than a quick wipe down with a towel before you begin the next set.
What Features Would Be Considered Optional?
The essentials that you want in any upper body bench are all found with what’s known as a flat bench. While this basic design works fine for beginning and some intermediate workouts, you may want a bench with more bells and whistles if you’re moving on to more intense exercising. That’s where some of the optional features come into the picture.
An adjustable bench design is almost as common as a flat upper body bench. The difference is that the bench itself can be adjusted to a flat position or inclined slightly to provide more leverage. This is a great additional feature, since you can perform different types of curls and pressing exercises depending on how the bench is inclined.
You might also want to add a weight rack to the upper part of the bench. This makes is possible to use barbells along with other types of weights. The rack provides a way to set the bar in a secure position in between sets. Some racks also have space to store your weights when they’re not in use.
You might want to consider investing in a folding upper body bench. That’s especially helpful if you have limited space at home for workouts. There are folding benches that come with the basic features offered with flat and adjustable benches. Typically, the setup is simple and won’t take long to manage. Once you complete your workout, fold the bench and store in the closet.
What Materials Are Best For An Upper Body Bench?
While there are other options like wood or aluminum, your best bet for an upper body bench is to go with one that’s made of composite steel. The durability of this material is important in terms of bearing the combined weight of your body and the weights you will use for parts of the workout. Remember it’s not just about supporting your weight one time; the bench you choose to buy should be strong enough to hold up to recurring use.
Along with the composite frame, your upper body bench needs proper padding. When you’re prone on the bench, you should not feel the steel underneath. If you do, that means the padding is too thin. You also want to go with something like no-slide vinyl for the seat covering. It will be easy to keep clean and is less likely to crack over time.
What Part Does Cost Play In My Selection?
With an upper body bench, the last thing that you want to do is let the cost drive your decision. The focus should be on the quality of the materials and the construction. As with many other products, you’ll find that a truly higher-quality upper body bench will cost more than a cheaply made model.
Even so, it’s possible to find good deals on higher-quality benches. Focus more on the details for any bench you’re considering. That includes checking ratings and reviews to see what other users think. If you notice that two benches are the same in quality and both receive positive reviews from users, it’s fine to invest in the one that costs a little less.
What Does An Upper Body Workout Include?
Along with investing in a quality upper body bench, you will need workout equipment that’s designed to focus on your back, neck, shoulders, arms, and chest. Some equipment that helps tone your abdominal muscles will also be helpful as well.
Dumbbells as well as free weights are excellent choices for use with your upper body bench. They can be used for several different types of lifting exercises. This is true whether you go with a flat bench or settle on an adjustable design. You can also perform curls with both options.
Resistance is key to enjoying the best upper-body workout. To that end, consider investing in exercise bands. They can be used while in a sitting position or while prone on the upper body bench.
The key is to include a variety of upper body exercises that challenge your muscles and gradually tone them. Some can be done without using anything other than your body for resistance. Others will require the use of other equipment. Don’t hesitate to mix things up so you don’t grow tired of the workout. Make sure to include exercises that are designed to target specific muscle groups in your upper body.
What Exercises Can You Do On A Bench?
There are all sorts of upper body exercises that you can perform on the right type of upper body bench. Here are three examples that are ideal for beginners but can also be part of a workout for someone who is more advanced:
*The Chest Press: This requires laying on a flat bench while holding a dumbbell in each hand. Bend the knees at a 90-degree angle with your feet in the air. Begin with the weights just above your chest. While exhaling, lift the weights until your arms are straight. Hold the position for a count of five, then rotate your wrists and bring the two weights together. Your palms should touch. Hold for a count of five and then slowly spread the weights again. Bend the elbows until the weights are back in the original position. Shoot for a minimum of 15 repetitions.
*Arm Raises: These are somewhat similar to the chest press. You’ll begin in the same basic position. Once your arms are extended and the elbows are straight, lower the weights to the side until the arms are in a “T” position with your shoulders. Hold for a count of five and then bend the elbows until the weights are once again just above your chest. Try for 15 repetitions of this one as well.
*Bench Dips: This exercise requires a bench in the flat position plus a medicine or stability ball. Sit on the floor with your back resting against the long portion of the bench. Rest your feet on the ball while gripping the bench’s seat. Make sure your palms are positioned so the fingers provide a firm grip. Slowly lift your bottom off the floor until it’s parallel to the bench seat. Hold and repeat for 15 repetitions.
These are only some starter suggestions. As you tone and build more muscle, add to these three and continue to build more endurance. You’ll find that the best upper-body workout will work multiple muscles and begin to improve your definition. Keep in mind that you may feel some soreness in areas that have not seen a lot of action before.
What Are The Best Upper Body Workouts?
A full upper body workout routine systematically allows you to work different muscle groups rather than concentrating on only a few areas. Many of those exercises will require the use of an upper body bench. Others will be performed using an exercise mat or while you’re in a standing position.
Getting advice from a trainer will help you structure a workout that does not neglect some of those muscle groups. A typical workout may begin with exercises that focus on the shoulders and upper back. From there, you move to exercises that work the muscles in the chest and the arms. To wrap up your workout, there will be exercises that focus on toning your core.
Once you’re in the habit of working out, it’s fine to shuffle the order of your exercises. You may even want to add some new ones as you build more muscle and endurance. Whether you decide to make changes now and then or stick with the original plan, your upper body bench will remain an essential part of your home gym equipment.
What Is An Upper Lower Body Split?
You’ll hear fitness experts refer to an upper lower body split. The term may confuse you, but the meaning is pretty simple. This type of split is a strategy for dividing your workouts into two distinct sessions. One of those sessions focuses solely on the upper body. The next session in the sequence concentrates on your lower body.
You’ll hear the individual sessions referred to based on what part of the body the sessions target. When you hear someone say that they’re going to split their upper body that means the upcoming session is an upper body workout plan that does not involve working muscles in the lower part of the body. In like manner, a lower body split is a workout plan designed to strengthen muscle groups in the lower body.
You already know that the upper body bench plays a role in strengthening the top half of the body. You’ll use additional equipment once you’re ready to give some attention to your legs, hips, thighs, and ankles. What may surprise you is that your upper body bench may come in handy for performing exercises that also help with the lower section.
What Exercises Can I Do To Split My Upper Body?
Exercises that are performed while sitting or lying prone on your upper body bench work well for splitting the upper body. Many of those, including arm curls and bench presses do provide more resistance to the chest, shoulders, and upper back. Sit-ups performed while on the upper body bench also do more for the core and the chest than for the lower body.
You can also consider other exercises that focus on the upper body. Pull-ups are a prime example. Biceps curls are another option. Chin-ups are also worth working into your plans. Remember that not every exercise has to involve your upper body bench.
Are you ready to get started on your new workout plan? Invest in a good upper body bench today along with some basic weights and as few other accessories. Make it a point to work out at least three times a week. By the time you’ve owned and used the upper body bench for a month, you’ll notice a difference in the way you look and feel.