Upper-body exercises build strength in the upper body by targeting muscle groups in the shoulders, arms, chest, abs, and back. Strong upper-body muscles can help improve your athletic performance, increase your stamina, and provide stability. Many upper-body workouts include bodyweight exercises that you can easily incorporate into your home workout routine. \n\nWhile weighted exercises—such as deadlifts and bench presses—require you to have access to exercise equipment, you can perform many variations of weighted upper-body exercises with common exercise gear such as light dumbbells and resistance bands.\nConsider incorporating these unweighted and weighted exercises into your workout routine to build upper-body strength and increase muscle mass. \n\n1. __Close-grip push-ups__: [Close-grip push-ups](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/close-grip-push-ups-guide) are a variation of the standard push-up that involve placing your hands narrower than shoulder-width apart. This calisthenics exercise works muscle groups throughout your entire body, including your deltoids, pecs, and triceps muscles. Perform close-grip push-ups by placing your palms a few inches apart on the floor and holding yourself in a high plank position. While keeping your back and legs in a straight line, lower your body toward the floor, then push back up to the starting position.\n2. __Wide-grip pull-ups__: [Wide grip pull-ups](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/wide-grip-pull-ups-guide) are essentially regular pull-ups with a wider hand position. The main benefit of a wider grip is increased activation of the latissimus dorsi (lats for short). The lats are back muscles just below the shoulder blades. Perform wide-grip pull-ups by grabbing hold of a pull-up bar with a grip wider than shoulder-width, and lift your body up from a dead hang position until the bar is beneath your chin.\n3. __Dumbbell overhead press__: A [dumbbell overhead press](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/dumbbell-overhead-press-guide), also known as a dumbbell shoulder press, is a weightlifting exercise that targets muscles throughout your body—including your triceps, glutes, trapezius, and lower back muscles. Perform dumbbell overhead presses by getting into a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them at shoulder height. Lift the dumbbells overhead, then lower them slowly. Repeat this movement for your desired number of repetitions.\n4. __Incline dumbbell curl__: This biceps curl variation is an isolation exercise that works the muscle groups in your upper arms. Perform [incline dumbbell curls](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/incline-dumbbell-curls-guide) by sitting on an incline bench set to a 45- or 60-degree angle. Hold a pair of dumbbells at your side. Squeeze your biceps and bend your elbows to lift the dumbbells to shoulder level, then lower them again. Repeat this movement for your desired number of reps.\n5. __Bench press__: Perform [bench presses](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/bench-press-exercise-guide) by lying on your back on a flat bench with your eyes aligned directly underneath a weighted barbell. Grab the barbell with a shoulder-width grip and unrack it carefully. Lower the barbell towards the middle of your chest just above your sternum and then lift it again. \n6. __Lateral raise__: A [lateral raise](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/lateral-raise-guide) is a strength-training shoulder exercise characterized by lifting a pair of dumbbells away from your body in an external rotation. Lateral raises work the trapezius muscle in your upper back as well as the deltoid muscle group in your shoulders—particularly the anterior and lateral deltoids.\n7. __Burpees__: [Burpees](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/burpee-guide) are a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercise that builds full-body strength and delivers a powerful cardio workout. Burpees are performed by moving from a standing position to a squat position, then kicking your legs back and getting into a plank position. At the end of each repetition, you stand and jump off the ground before moving on to the next rep.\nThere are several notable reasons to practice upper-body exercises. \n\n1. __Upper-body exercises can help improve athletic performance__. Many sports require strong arms, abs, and shoulders. Personal trainers often encourage athletes to build upper-body strength in order to improve their performance. \n2. __Upper-body exercises can improve your posture__. By targeting your core, shoulders, chest, and back muscles, upper-body exercises can help fix muscular imbalances and reduce shoulder slouching. \n3. __Upper-body exercises promote overall wellness__. In addition to a healthy diet, regularly exercising the upper-body can help improve your overall health and wellness.\nIf you have a previous or pre-existing health condition, consult your physician before beginning an exercise program. Proper exercise technique is essential to ensure the safety and effectiveness of an exercise program, but you may need to modify each exercise to attain optimal results based on your individual needs. Always select a weight that allows you to have full control of your body throughout the movement. When performing any exercise, pay close attention to your body, and stop immediately if you note pain or discomfort.\n\nTo see continual progress and build body strength, incorporate proper warm-ups, rest, and nutrition into your exercise program. Your results will ultimately be based on your ability to adequately recover from your workouts. Rest for 24 to 48 hours before training the same muscle groups to allow sufficient recovery.\nThrow on some athleisure, fire up a [MasterClass Annual Membership](https://www.masterclass.com), and get ready to sweat it out with exclusive instructional videos from Nike Master Trainer and *GQ* fitness specialist Joe Holder. Want to improve your cardiovascular endurance? Give Joe’s HIIT workout a go. Trying to get a little swole? He’s got a strength training workout for that. From fitness tips to nutrition hacks, Joe will have you feeling healthier in no time.\nLearn how to perform seven upper-body exercises to build upper-body strength and increase muscle mass.