Top 10 Upper-Body Exercises

These are the best exercises for your upper body, mainly the back, chest, arms, and shoulders. While these are great lifts to build a program around it is always important to have accessory work in your program that helps muscles develop evenly and avoid imbalances. Because these exercises are not as effective for strength or overall physique they are not listed here, that being said they should not be neglected. When in doubt go find a trainer who knows their stuff to help you build a program. Also, whatever you do, stay away from the smith machine (fixed-path bar) You are cheating yourself out of stabilizer muscles and following unnatural movement patterns.
The items in this list have been selected by the author of the list for you to vote and comment on.
The Top Ten
1 Barbell bench press

The bench press is one of the most popular lifts for good reason. It is relatively simple to perform and effectively hits your chest, triceps, and shoulders. In addition, it is easy to micro load, making it optimal for muscle growth.

2 Pull up

The pull up is another classic exercise that should not be overlooked. It is one of the most simple ways to build your back and biceps. It is also easy to add weight to for a more difficult movement.

3 Standing barbell shoulder press

Shoulders are sometimes not given enough attention, but they are a vital muscle. Not only will they help you lift more in other areas, but working them can help prevent injury. The standing shoulder press hits shoulders, triceps, and chest.

4 dumbbell pull-over

Possibly the best exercise you aren't doing. T-nation ( breaks down all the benefits and variations of this great exercise.

5 bent over barbell row

This is another great back builder. Once again the convenience of micro-loading (adding a small amount of weight each week) takes center stage.

6 Skull-crusher

Terrifying name aside this really is an amazing exercise to hit all three parts of your tricep. You will even get some chest work with this one."

7 Barbell bicep curl

When done with strict form these remain one of the best bicep exercises for growth.

8 Dip

An argument can be made for having dips as high as top 5. The reason they are lower on this list is that so many people perform them incorrectly. When doing a deep you need to avoid shrugging your shoulders up. It is a common mistake and difficult to avoid. Until you have the necessary strength you are better off waiting on this one.

9 Incline bench press

Like the bench press but incline. Doesn't need a ton said. Great to do later in a chest workout to build mass

10 Seated dumbbell shoulder press

Great exercise for higher rep schemes to induce hypertrophy. You want to build some serious shoulders than this will help.