Workouts for Women: Upper Body

Female personal training client trains upper body to get results

A lot of my female clients think every day should be leg day.

They’ll happily squat, leg press and lunge all day, but avoid chin ups and chest press whenever they can.

It makes sense for a few reasons:

#1  Fine motor requirements

Upper bodies have more small muscles and joints with wider ranges of motion that require much finer motor control than the lower body.

What it means:
It can be harder to feel the right muscles when training and feel confident in your execution.  
#2  Booty prioritization

Because developed glutes look great and improve athletic performance, they’re often a big training focus.

What it means:

Limited time and energy often means that you can’t train all body parts as intensely as you want all the time and you have to prioritize.

#3 Sweat goals 

Many women have weaker upper bodies and can’t produce as much power as they can with their lower body.

What it means:
Everyone wants to feel like they trained hard and get that endorphin rush and big bang exercises that exert a lot of power are the best way to do this.


Despite all of this—I firmly believe that everyone must train upper and lower body regularly.

I work closely with each client to understand their vision and to build a program that will sculpt their dream physique. Sometimes though, clients are surprised by certain aspects of their training.  

Most women who come to me for personal training have a very specific idea of how they would like to look. A lot of times, that means building a booty, creating shapely legs, and generally toning up.

They’re surprised that training upper body is key to getting there.  Here’s why:

#1 Full body training is most effective for fat loss
Fat loss is largely diet, but the right workouts can go long way! There is a time and place for long rests and isolation work, but this isn’t it.
Shorter rest periods and a high power output are key for fat loss—and pairing upper and lower body exercise let you keep breaks short without getting so tired that your performance drops off.  
#2 Look toned and fit
Looking toned depends on building the right muscles and full body training is worth more than the sum of its parts when it comes to muscle building.
You can split up body parts across workouts however you like—and different splits will make sense for different people—but your body reacts positively to having all muscle groups regularly stimulated.

Katrina, who you can see in the picture above, had never trained before coming to me a few months ago. The more she’s increased the weight she lifts, the more her body has changed.

#3 A strong upper body lets you target your lower body
Many exercises that build muscles in your lower body and that support fat loss, require a strong upper body. Squats and deadlifts are rough without a strong back and core. Prowler pushes and dumbbell work require study shoulder blade retraction.
The list goes on and on, but the bottom line is that your lower body strength and muscle capacity will be limited by your upper body.



Want to come train with me?  

Downtown Toronto

If you’re in Toronto, personal training is the fastest way to get results. I train individuals and partners at Fortis Fitness in Leslieville. 


Not in Toronto? We can still make it work! I build fully customized nutrition and workout programs and provide daily support.

Let’s talk more and see if training with me is a fit!