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Combining different upper-body exercises create different workouts.
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Upper-body workouts involve moving your torso, arms and shoulders in different directions, which includes pushing, pulling and turning. Whether you want to look more cut or increase your throwing power in baseball, different strength-training routines can give you better results than others. For example, a workout that focuses on muscle growth may not help you perform better in sprinting or climbing. Work with a qualified exercise professional to help you customize your own workout before training on your own.
Start with the Basics
Single-set and multiple-set systems are ideal for beginners to be more familiar with exercise and to establish a regular exercise adherence. In a single-set system, you perform one set of exercise and move on to another exercise with a short rest period. The repetitions are usually high, ranging between 12 to 20 reps, at a low to moderate intensity. Once you're familiar with the exercises, progress to the multiple set system, which involves training two or more sets of an exercise. The number of reps usually range between eight to 15 reps at a moderate to high-intensity, which can vary among individuals. In a meta-analysis of eight studies published in the April 2010 issue of "Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research," researchers concluded that the multiple-set system produces 40 percent more muscle growth than the single-set system in trained and untrained subjects. Work larger muscle groups first, such as your chest and back, before working smaller muscle groups.
Upgrade to Supersets
A superset involves performing two exercises that work different upper-body muscles without rest in between. This allows one group to rest while the other one works, improving your metabolic rate and muscular endurance. For example, perform a set of pushups followed immediately by a set of pull-ups. Rest for one minute and repeat the superset two to three more times. Supersets can also help you appear more cut and burn more calories in less time, even after your workout. A study performed at Syracuse University in New York showed that men who performed a superset workout had a significantly higher metabolic rate after the workout than those who performed one exercise at a time. You can use any upper-body exercise with this method, such as bench press, lat pulldowns, standing dumbbell press, medicine ball chops and sledgehammer chops on a monster truck tire.
Power Up with Interval Training
Interval training usually refers to performing a bout of high-intensity aerobic exercise followed by a longer interval of lower-intensity aerobic exercise. This cycle is repeated over a desired period of time, which is ideal for athletes who perform repeated bouts of high- and low-intensity movements, such as soccer players and gymnasts. You can apply upper-body strength and power training with the interval training format. Instead of training for reps and sets, train for time. For example, perform 15 seconds of pushups or bench press at a high intensity followed by 30 to 45 seconds of medicine ball chest press or overhead throws at a lower intensity. Give yourself enough time to recover between intervals. According to a study performed at Vale do ParaГba University in SГЈo Paulo, Brazil, subjects who rested for one minute between intervals had a reduction in the number of repetitions performed than those who rested for three minutes.
Don't Ignore the Rest
Balance lower-body exercises with your upper-body workout because the strength and stability in your hips and legs can affect how much you can lift or throw. A study performed at Indiana State University showed that the one-rep-max squat test is a better predictor of throwing power than the bench press, 40-yard dash and vertical jump tests. Researchers concluded that your core, which includes your abs and hips, can transfer force from your lower body into your upper body. Incorporate lower-body exercises into the superset and interval training workouts. For example, in a superset, perform one set of dumbbell squats or kettlebell swings followed by a set of pushups and pull-ups. Adding lower-body exercises will get your whole body cut, not just your upper body.