Four Pillar Exercises to Create Upper Body Strength

October 31, 2010

Performing exercises that target the entire upper body—not just the chest—sets true athletes apart from those concerned with just looking good. If your muscle group has a strength deficiency, you may be sabotaging the chance to execute a skill to your full potential. These four pillar exercises ensure that your entire upper body is equally strong by targeting each major muscle group.

Pull-Up
This exercise primarily targets your lats; however, other back, shoulder and arm muscles are also activated during the body's ascent and descent. Furthermore, your shoulder stabilizers and core are engaged to keep the body steady during the movement.

Dumbbell Power
Three different Dumbbell Presses are combined into one exercise to develop a powerful chest. Two variations of the Single-Arm Press work single-arm strength, which is applicable to many skills needed during gameplay. The third exercise, the Two-Arm Press, works on explosive pushing power.

Military Press
This develops the delts, upper pecs, traps and arms to help push the bar up and over the head. This is particularly valuable for strengthening the shoulders in the overhead position, which is where they are most vulnerable to injury.

Barbell Bent-Over Row
This pulling exercise activates many of the muscles in the back, including the traps, lats and posterior delts. It also offset any pushing exercises you perform to ensure balanced upper body strength, which improves your posture and ability to execute a skill.

Sets/Reps: 4x8 each exercise with 2 minutes rest after each set

Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is the Performance Director at STACK. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Miami...
Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is the Performance Director at STACK. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Miami...
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