SMF Newsletter Vol 1 Issue 3

The Upper Body: Anatomy and How To Optimally Train It

It is vital to know the major muscle groups of the upper body especially in improving your body. Knowing the right kind of exercise for every muscle group has a powerful impact. There are 4 main muscles groups of the upper body: the chest, the back, the shoulders and the arms. The muscles that make up the Chest. The main muscle group of the chest is the pectorals. A well-developed chest is very important because it will add major size to your inner upper body.

Pectorials: The pectorals or pecs are the large chest muscles. They are full of thick muscle fibers and add size to the upper body. The chest is divided into two parts, pectoralis major, and pectoralis minor.

Exercises to target the Chest:

Chest Press: Dumbbell Chest Press, Barbell Bench Press, Incline Chest Press, Decline Chest Press

Flyes: Dumbbell Fly, Cable Fly


The Back is made up of five muscle groups . The back is the most complex major muscular structure in the entire body. It is a perfect combination of multiple muscles working in harmony and complementing each other in various physical activities.

  • Latissimus Dorsi: It is a large, flat muscle on the back that stretches to the sides, behind the arm, and is partly covered by the trapezius on the back near the midline. It is sometimes called ‘lats’ or the ‘wings’.

  • Rhomboid: The rhomboids are located in the upper back. They are underneath the trap muscles and not visible from outside.

  • Trapezius: Also known as, the traps, that are located between the shoulders and the neck. The traps can further be classified into three divisions- the upper traps, middle traps, and the lower traps, with the lower traps extending as low as the lower back

  • Teres Muscle: This muscle lies underneath the ‘lats’. It works with the lats as well as the rotator cuffs. Exercises like single arm lat pulldowns and pullovers target this muscle directly

  • Erector Spinae: The erector spinae or spinal erectors is a set of muscles that straighten and rotate the back. They are actually deep muscles that help to extend the spine and are key in posture

Exercises to target the Back

Rows: Barbell Rows, DB Rows, Cable Rows

Face Pulls

Wide arm pulldowns, close grip pulldown

The Shoulders and Arms. The muscles of the upper arm are important working muscles and also provide a fine sense of width and bulk in conjunction with solid chest.

  • Biceps: This muscle is found in the front of the upper arm. The biceps help control the motion of both the shoulder and elbow joints.

  • Triceps: The triceps are muscles in the back of the upper arm. These muscles help stabilize the shoulder joint and allow the elbow joint to be straightened

  • Deltoids: The deltoids, or delts, are known as the shoulder muscles. This muscle group is used on all side of body lifting motions. They provide support when you carry things

Exercises to target the Shoulders and Arms

Shoulder Press, Push Press, Split Jerk

DB Curl, Barbell Curl,

Cable Pushdowns

Standing or Seated Tricep Extension

Close Grip bench Press

Here is a warm up and upper body focused workout that you can do anywhere. All you will need is a resistance band for stretching and a few sets of dumbbells for your workout. Have fun!

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