A strong, fit upper body can set the tone for your summer outfit. Strengthening this section is probably the most popular fitness training most people do and we incorporate this workout into our Upper / Lower Split program.

The workout targets your chest, back, shoulders, and triceps in both isolated and compound movements. If you’re a beginner, go with light weights to really nail each movement and exercise, before moving onto higher weights. Because no one muscle is targeted extensively in this workout try going to failure on your last set of each exercise to get maximum results. To increase cardiovascular training, also take shorter breaks in between sets and exercises.

Because this workout targets such a full section of your body, we recommend doing this no more than 1 – 3 days a week while allowing 1 or 2 days in between for rest. If you’re looking for bulk, try to do heavier weights and go on a caloric surplus. If you’re going for tone, rep out and go for a caloric deficit.

Because your arms are involved in all of these movements you may experience some fatigue in your forearms. Here are few solutions:

  1. Use wrist wraps to compress your wrists. These wrist wraps will help isolate the movement to only to the primary muscle you’re working so you don’t feel as much fatigue in your forearms.
  2. Rest. Resting is not only recommended but necessary. Between sets take 2 – 3 minutes to “shake it out”, stretch, and hydrate. This will help ensure that your next set will be more productive.
Exercise no. 1

Tricep Dips

4 sets of 10 reps

  1. Place your hands shoulder width apart on a stable chair or a secured bench. Slide your butt off the seat with your legs stretched out in front of you. Straighten your arm while keeping just a small bend in your elbows to reduce elbow joint tension.
  2. Bend your elbows to lower your body until your elbows are at about a 90 degree angle. Make sure to keep your back as close to the bench as possible.
  3. Once you reach the bottom of the movement, press down into the bench to straighten your elbows, returning to the starting position. This completes one repetition.
  4. Repeat for the desired amount of reps.

Tips: Keep your shoulders down as you’re performing this exercise. You can also bend your legs to make the dip easier.

Exercise no. 2

Skull Crushers

4 sets of 10 reps

  1. Start by grabbing an EZ bar. Load weight if desired and lay flat down on a flat bench with your head almost touching the end of the bench. At this point you should be holding the EZ bar in your hands with your palms facing each other following the close grip, inward curls of the EZ bar.
  2. Keep your upper arms close to your body and raise the bar up so that your arms are perpendicular with your body.
  3. While inhaling, slowly lower the weight back backwards towards your head while keeping your upper arm and elbow still.
  4. Once you’re about to touch the top of your head pause, then exhale as your bring the weight back up to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired amount of reps.
Exercise no. 3

Shoulder Press

4 sets of 10 reps

  1. Start by picking two dumbbells that will allow you to complete the desired number of reps. Sit on a utility or military press bench that will give you back support and place both dumbbells on your thoughts. Grip the dumbbells with your palms facing each other.
  2. Use your thighs to kick the weights up to shoulder height on either side. Your wrists should be rotated so that the palm of your hands are facing forward.
  3. Exhale while pushing (“pressing”) the dumbbells up until your arms are almost fully extended and the two flat sides of the dumbbell touch.
  4. Pause, then inhale while moving the weights back down to shoulder height.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of reps.
  6. Once you’re done with your set, rotate and lower the dumbbells back onto your thighs to prevent injury.
Exercise no. 4

Seated Rows

4 sets of 10 reps

There are a few variations to this exercise based on the equipment that you have. Some gyms have pulley systems set up with seated rows that have a flat bench with a place for your feet, others don’t.

  1. Start by attaching a V bar to the lower or mid to lower setting of the pulley. If you’re on a fixed seated row machine that has a place for your feet you can simply leave the pulley as is. If there is no seated pulley row machine, bring a seated bench about 2-3 feet from the cable machine.
  2. Sit with your feet planted against the feet pads or firmly planted. Hold the V Bar firmly in front of you with your arms extended, but relatively straight. Lean back slightly while keeping your torso straight.
  3. Pull the V bar towards your chest, while trying to keep your elbows close to your body. You should feel your back muscles contracting towards each other. Exhale through the movement.
  4. Pause for a moment then slowly release the weight back to the starting position. Inhale through the movement.
  5. Repeat for your desired number of reps.
Exercise no. 5

Dumbbell Flyes

4 sets of 10 reps

  1. Start by picking two dumbbells that you can do the desired number of reps with. Lay down on a flat bench with the two dumbbells on your thighs. You should be gripping the dumbbells with your palms facing inwards.
  2. Raise the dumbbells over your head with your knuckles facing upwards like you’re punching the ceiling, but don’t lock your elbows. Rotate the dumbbells so your palms are again facing each other. Bend your elbows slowly and slowly bring each arm down to your side as to create a T with your body.
  3. With your elbows still slightly bent bring the dumbbells back to the center completing one rep.

Tips: Squeeze your chest together through each rep for maximum effectiveness. Keep your arms relatively stationary and push through your shoulders to bring the weights together during each movement.

Exercise no. 6

Barbell Bench Press

4 sets of 10 reps

  1. Lie back on a flat bench. With a medium width grip (a grip that produces a 90-degree angle in the center of the motion between the forearms and the upper arms), lift the bar from the rack and hold it straight above you together with your arms locked. This is your place.
  2. From this position, as you inhale and slowly come down until the bar touches your middle chest.
  3. After a brief pause, push the bar back to the starting place while breathing out. Concentrate on pushing on the bar using your chest muscle. Squeeze your chest at the peak position of the movement, hold for a second and then begin coming down slowly. Tip: Ideally, lowering the weight should take about twice as long as raising it.
  4. Repeat the movement for the amount of repetitions.
  5. When you’re done, set the bar back in the rack.

Additional Tips:

  • If you’re new at this Exercise, it’s recommended that you use a spotter. Also, be conservative with the amount of weight if you don’t have a spotter.
  • Beware of letting the Bar drift too far forward. Ideally, you want the bar to touch your middle chest
  • Don’t bounce the weight off your chest. You should be in fully control of the barbell at all times.
Exercise no. 7

Alternating Hammer Curls

4 sets of 10 reps

  1. Stand upright with a dumbbell in each hand held at arms-length. The elbows should be close to the torso.
  2. The palms of your hands should be facing your torso. This is will be the starting position.
  3. While holding the upper arm stationary, curl the weight forward as you breathe out while contracting the biceps. Complete the movement until your bicep is fully contracted and the dumbbell is at shoulder level. Hold this contracted position for a second as you squeeze the bicep. Tip: During this exercise, the forearms should only move.
  4. Slowly bring back the dumbbell to the starting position.
  5. Repeat this movement with the other hand. This equals one repetition.
  6. Continue alternating hands for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Variations: There are Lots of Variations for this movement. As an example, you can do this exercise sitting down on a bench with or without back-support and you can also perform it by doing both arms at the same time.

Exercise no. 8

Alternating Dumbbell Curls

4 sets of 10 reps

  1. Stand upright with a dumbbell in each hand held at arms length. The elbows should be close to the body and the palms of the hand should be facing your thighs.
  2. While holding the upper arm stationary, curl the right dumbbell as you rotate the palm of your hand until they are facing forward. At this stage continue contracting the biceps as you exhale until your bicep is fully contracted and the dumbbell is at shoulder level. As you squeeze the biceps hold this position for a second. Tip: During this exercise, the forearms should only move.
  3. As you breathe in, slowly bring the dumbbell back to its original position. Tip: Remember to twist the palms back to the original position as you come down.
  4. Repeat this movement with the opposite hand. This equals one repetition.
  5. Continue alternating hands for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Kiyan Sheikh

My goal is to inspire others to reach their fitness goals and become a confident, better version of themselves. Being fit doesn’t just mean going from fatty to lean, people that are lean also need help increasing things like their cardio or endurance.
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Linda Piyawadhanachai

I first got into weight lifting when I got hired into an office job. I found myself eating junk food and fast food all the time. I knew if I kept this up, I would later regret it in the future. I wanted to make a change and want to help others make a change too!
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