Movement Series: Upper Body Exercise Techniques

Join EXOS Performance Specialist Julius Charles in these practical training sessions to work on your exercise technique. We will break down common upper body movements into digestible parts to help you upgrade your form, improve your skill, increase your strength, and gain confidence in the gym.

Shoulder Raise - Front and Lateral

This is a good upper body exercise to strengthen and protect your shoulders


  1. Feet shoulder/hip width apart
  2. Soft knees
  3. Activate core
  4. As you raise arms up, don’t go higher than your eyes
  5. Decrease difficulty by bending the elbows 

Plank with Row

Upgrade your planks and challenge your upper body along with your core. this exercise focuses on core stability and upper body pulling, focusing on keeping the hips and torso from rotating, while pulling weight upwards.


  1. Keep your dumbbells underneath the shoulders
  2. Feet wide to decrease difficulty. Feet narrow to increase difficulty
  3. Stay tall & long, and tuck your hips
  4. Pull dumb bell weights through your rib cage (alternating)
  5. Don't allow your hips to rotate

Proper Half Kneeling Overhead Dumbbell Press

Follow along with Coach Julius to improve your over head dumb bell technique. By being in a half kneeling position, this is not only a great upper body pushing exercise, but it also to engages your glutes and core. Try this vertical unilateral press exercise while you are at home. You can use dumbbells or any home-made weighs, such as a gallon jug of water.


  1. Start in a half-kneeling position
  2. Make sure the knee that is down is in a straight line with the hips and shoulders.
  3. Engage the core and don’t let the rib cage flair. (Think about doing a crunch while in this half-kneeling position) 
  4. With the arm that is opposite to the knee that is down, press the dumbbell over your head.


  • To make this exercise harder you can move into a split stance (lift the back knee off the group two inches) or use two arms, two dumbbells.

Watch this video to see how to do proper, safe, and effective overhead dumbbell press. We will also show you the variations to increase the difficulty of this skill. 

Bent-Over Dumbbell Row

Follow along with Coach Julius to improve your bent over row technique. This is a great upper body pulling exercise, that engages your back and core muscles. Try this horizontal unilateral pull exercise while you are at home. If you don’t have dumb bells you can load a book bag or duffle bag or any object you with weight that you can grip.


  1. Place knee and hand on stable surface (bed, couch, chair)
  2. Make sure you have a neutral spine (imagine shooting a arrow out your butt, you want to arrow to fly straight)
  3. The leg that’s on the ground should be out like a kick stand
  4. Pull your weight through your rib cage (think about starting a lawnmower)

Watch this video to see how to do proper, safe, and effective bent over row. We will also show you many variations to increase the difficulty of this skill. 

Proper Push Ups

Follow along with Coach Julius to improve your push up technique and maintain healthy shoulders. Learn some easy cues and find out where your hand, elbows, feet, and hips should be to get the most out of this exercise!