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5 effective exercises for the upper body

Even the best medicine in the world cannot compete with the beneficial effects of regular strength training. With the following 5 exercises, you can train most of the muscles of your upper body. 

How to prepare your workout

You will need a comfortable but not too soft surface for the following exercise program, a few dumbbells, resistance bands, and a stable bench. As with any sporting activity, you should warm-up for a few minutes. Trotting on the spot, arm swings, jumping jacks, and other active movements will get your heart and blood flow going. If available, you can also use an ergometer to warm up or go for a slow jog for ten minutes and then do some active stretching exercises. 

Exercise 1: Biceps curls

For this exercise, you need a couple of dumbbells. Their weight depends on your fitness level. They should be heavy enough to make the last two repetitions reasonably tricky.

  • You can do the exercise standing or sitting.
  • It is important to keep the upper body upright and as still as possible.
  • The strength should come exclusively from the biceps.
  • You do 3 times 12 repetitions with 30 to 60 seconds rest.
The power for the biceps curls only comes from the upper arm (ⓒ: adpic)

Exercise 2: Triceps dips

For this exercise you need a stable bench, stool or chair.

  • You sit on the bench and place your hands to the right and left of your thigh. 
  • Then lift the buttocks off the seat and push them forward. 
  • Then lower your upper body until your elbow is at a 90 degree angle.
  • Hold down briefly and push up again with the force of the drive.
  • Depending on your fitness level, do 3 times 8 to 12 repetitions.
  • Tip: The further you place your feet forward, the more difficult the exercise.


Also with this exercise, make sure the upper body is as straight as possible (ⓒ: adpic)

Exercise 3: Dumbbell rows

Posture plays a significant role in this exercise. You have to keep your back straight, and your pelvis tilted the whole time. Take a sufficiently heavy dumbbell in each hand and stand shoulder-width apart.

  • Then bend your knees and bring your upper body forward.
  • The arms hang so that the dumbbells are at the side of your knees.
  • From this position bend the arms and bring the dumbbells towards the upper body.
  • You do 3 times 12 repetitions with 30 to 60 seconds rest.

A straight back is particularly important in this exercise (Source: Hyperstrike8) Hyperstrike28)

Exercise 4: Bench press with dumbbells

This exercise is one of the most popular movements of all. This may be because it is also beneficial. You need two sufficiently heavy dumbbells, each held in one hand. Then lie down either on a not too soft surface, a bench, or a fitness ball. 

  • No matter how you lie down, both feet are firmly on the ground.
  • Lying on the floor your legs are bent.
  • You hold the dumbbells at the side of your chest with your elbows pointing outwards. 
  • Then push it upwards in a controlled way. Hold briefly and lower again.
  • You do 3 times 8 to 12 repetitions with 30 to 60 seconds rest.
Bankdrücken für einen starken Oberkörper
Bench press is ideal for building chest muscles (ⓒ: adpic)

Übung 5: Seitheben mit Kurzhanteln

Another highly effective exercise for your upper body. It mainly trains your shoulder muscles and the deltoid muscle and thus ensures better posture. 

  • You have a sufficiently heavy dumbbell in each hand and stand upright and shoulder-width apart.
  • Hold the arms with the dumbbells at the sides of your body.
  • With arms very slightly bent, bring the arms up sideways to a 90-degree angle in a controlled manner.
  • Hold briefly and lower again. 
  • The palms of the hands point downwards. 
Seitheben mit Hanteln
Lateral raises strengthen the shoulders and the deltoid muscle (ⓒ: adpic)

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