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Exercises For Your Chest, Shoulders, and Upper Back

Last Updated on June 14, 2017 by Jeff

When most people start lifting weights and doing strength training exercises, they focus on legs, arms, and abs. However, there are lots of other areas that are important to work out to build overall strength and make sure your body is balanced. Here are some of the best exercises for your chest, shoulders, and upper back. These moves work for everyone from beginner exercisers to experienced lifters, and you can do them anywhere.

Deadlift with Upright Row

This move works your entire body—hamstrings, glutes, chest, and shoulders. Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand in front of you. Bend over as far as you can, hinging from the hips while keeping your back straight. Keep your arms straight and the weights against your body. Once you’ve bent over as far as you can, rise back up to standing. Once you’re upright, bend your elbows and bring the weights up to your shoulders. Lower back down and repeat.


A regular fly works your chest. Lie on your back, preferably on a bench, and hold a weight in each hand. Hold your arms out on each side, keeping a very slight bend in your elbow. Raise your arms to bring the weights together in the air over your chest. Lower your arms back to the starting position and repeat.

Standing Rear Flyes

A rear fly will build muscle in your upper back. Stand with your feet hip-width distance and lean forward thirty to forty-five degrees with your back straight. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, bring your arms straight out in front of you while keeping a slight bend in each elbow. Raise your arms out to your side, pinching your shoulder blades together at the top. Bring your arms back out in front of you and repeat.

Standing Dumbbell Rows

Stand in the same position as the rear fly, with your back straight and at a slight angle. Hold your arms at your sides with a weight in each hand and your elbows at a ninety-degree angle. Bring your elbows back as far and you can while keeping your hands along your ribcage and pinching your shoulder blades together. Return to start and repeat.

Chest Press

You’ll need a mat or a bench for this exercise. Lie on your back with a weight in each hand. Keeping them in line with your shoulders, bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle. Straighten your arms over your chest, and lower them back down to 90 degrees. Repeat. To make this exercise more challenging, lift your hips so that you are in a bridge formation or balance your upper back on an exercise ball.

Overhead Shoulder Raises

Stand up with your feet firmly planted on the floor. Hold a weight in each hand. You might need a lower weight than usual since this exercise works a part of your shoulders that often goes unexercised. Bring your arms out to the side so they are parallel with your shoulders and bend your elbows to a ninety-degree angle. Raise your arms, bringing the weights over your head. Lower back to the ninety-degree position and repeat.