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Programming 101: Upper Body

It's common to have a preferred muscle group to train. For many hikers and trail runners, it's likely a lower body muscle group, but today we're talking about upper body exercises. Muscles in the upper body can be overlooked in the hiking and trail running world, when in fact, building strength and endurance in your upper body is beneficial and important. Regardless if you're an avid outdoor enthusiast or someone who is aiming to improve overall wellness, think about including the following upper body movement patterns in your training program. A well-rounded program will include a vertical pull, horizontal pull, vertical push, and horizontal push. We'll get into examples of these in a moment. These movement patterns will provide a base for everything from compound movements to isolation exercises. The terms describe the exercises just as they are -- push/pull from an upright position and push/pull from a lying down position. Of course, there are exercises where you're not exactly horizontal or vertical, but we'll talk about those, too. Vertical Pull Pull-Ups Chin-Ups Lat Pull Down (wide, neutral, and reverse grips, etc.) Single-Arm Lat Pull Downs Horizontal Pull Rows (all modalities) Inverted Rows Seated Rows Single-Arm Rows Vertical Push Overhead Press Push Press Arnold Press Single-Arm Presses Horizontal Push Bench Press Floor Press You'll notice not every beneficial upper body exercise is included in these movement patterns, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do them. Other exercises to consider: incline press, chest fly, back fly, face pulls, bicep curls, tricep extensions, lateral raises, etc. Refer to this blog post to learn how to build your own training program. Learn more about my online programming.


Katharine Moustakes
Hey, friend!

I'm Katharine.

I'm a personal trainer, running coaching, and nutrition coach who's stoked about lifting, the outdoors, summit snacks, and my dog.


I understand that fitness is not your whole life. Fitness is a PART of your life. I approach training in a way that adds value to your life and longevity, so you can enjoy being active whether you're romping around in the mountains, playing with your kids, or signing up for your first 10K race.

I'm here to meet you where you are, so you can train safely and effectively, and gain strength and confidence both in the gym and on the trails.

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