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Max Upper Body Building in Minimum Time

By Eric Broser

Each and every one of us steps foot into the gym because we want to improve our physical selves in some way. While we all might have somewhat different goals, the same theme exists for all of us…progression. Now, there are a few guys out there that get to body build for a “living.” Perhaps they have been lucky enough to gain major sponsorship or have lucrative contracts with a magazine and/or sports supplement manufacturer. These guys “get paid” to workout, so for them the gym is their office and they may spend many hours a day there – sometimes twice per day!

For most of us, however, we cannot afford to build our lives around the gym, but must fit the gym into our lives. Between work, family, friends, errands, a social life and more, many are lucky to find just 3-4 days per week to train for perhaps 60-90 minutes at a time. Thus, it is very important that every moment we spend fighting the resistance of DB’s, BB’s, cables or machines be used with maximum efficiency. That means choosing the “best bang for your buck exercises” that yield optimal muscle building results in a minimum of time.


Here are two upper body workouts that will help you in doing just that.

A. Upper Body Blaster

1. Bench Press…1 x 13-15, 1 x 10-12, 1 x 7-9, 1 x 4-6

2. Incline DB Press…1 x 10-12, 1 x 7-9, 1 x 4-6

3. Bodyweight WG Pull-up...3 x max reps

4. Underhand Grip BB Bent Row…1 x 13-15, 1 x 10-12, 1 x 7-9

5. Seated BB Military Press…1 x 10-12, 1 x 7-9, 1 x 4-6

6. Shoulder Wide Grip BB Upright Row…1 x 10-12, 1 x 7-9

7. Bodyweight Triceps Dips…3 x max reps


B. Upper Body Blitzer

1. Partial Rack Deadlift…1 x 13-15, 1 x 10-12, 1 x 7-9, 1 x 4-6

2. One Arm DB Row…1 x 10-12, 1 x 7-9, 1 x 4-6

3. BB Incline Press…1 x 10-12, 1 x 7-9, 1 x 4-6

4. Bodyweight Chest Dip…3 x max reps

5. Seated DB Press…1 x 10-12, 1 x 7-9, 1 x 4-6

6. CG BB Upright Row…1 x 13-15, 1 x 10-12

7. CG Bodyweight Pull-up…3 x max reps


Exercises at a Glance


Bench Press

*Main Muscles Worked: General Pectorals/Anterior Deltoids/Triceps

*Quick Tip: For maximum stimulation of the chest, position your torso on the bench with a slight arch in the lower back; the ribcage held high; and the shoulders shrugged back and downward.


Incline DB Press

*Main Muscles Worked: Pectorals (Focus on Clavicular section)/Anterior Deltoids/Triceps

*Quick Tip: Vary the incline of the bench workout-to-workout or set-to-set from 30 to 45 to 60 degrees to target different motor unit pools


WG Pull-up

*Main Muscles Worked: Lats/Rhomboids/Mid-Traps/Rear Delts/Biceps/Brachialis/Forearms

*Quick Tip: Vary grip widths and the angle of the torso when pulling to effectively stimulate all areas of the back musculature.


Underhand Grip BB Bent Row

*Main Muscles Worked: Lats/Rhomboids/Mid-Traps/Rear Delts/Lower Back/Biceps/Brachialis/Forearms

*Quick Tip: Keep the torso bent at an angle of about 75 degrees and pull the bar into the lower abdomen to best stimulate the belly of the lats.


Seated BB Military Press

*Main Muscles Worked: Anterior Shoulders/Triceps/Upper Pectorals

*Quick Tip: Use a bench with back support and keep your torso upright throughout the set (leaning back engages too much upper pecs). Bring the bar just below the chin before driving it back to the top.


Shoulder Width Grip BB Upright Row

*Main Muscles Worked: Anterior and Lateral Shoulders/Traps/Biceps/Brachialis/Forearms

*Quick Tip: Raise the bar to a level where the upper arms are parallel to the floor. At the top the hands should be lower than the elbows to best stimulate the shoulders.


Triceps Dip

*Main Muscles Worked: Triceps/Pectorals/Anterior Deltoids

*Quick Tip: In order to keep chest activation to a minimum and target more triceps activation, make sure your torso remains upright throughout the set. Lower yourself to the point where your upper arms are parallel with the floor.


Partial Rack Deadlift

*Main Muscles Worked: Lower Back/Quads/Hips/Glutes/Hams/Upper Traps/Forearms

*Quick Tip: For complete back development vary the range of motion from just above knee height to as low as the mid-shins. It is best to stick with one range of motion per workout.


One Arm DB Row

*Main Muscles Worked: Lats/Rhomboids/Mid-Traps/Rear Delts/LowerBiceps/Brachialis/Forearms

*Quick Tip: Keep your upper body parallel to the floor throughout the set. As you raise the DB, keep the elbow close to the body and do not allow the elbow to go higher than the height of your torso.


Incline BB Press

*Main Muscles Worked: Pectorals (Focus on Clavicular section)/Anterior Deltoids/Triceps

*Quick Tip: Use the same torso position that was mentioned above for the bench press. Lower the bar to the top of the chest, just below the chin.


Chest Dip

*Main Muscles Worked: Pectorals (Focus on Sternal Section)/Triceps/Anterior Deltoids

*Quick Tip: Keep your torso leaning forward throughout the set to more strongly engage the pecs. Lower yourself to a point where you can feel a slight stretch in the chest before pushing back to the top. To keep more tension on the pecs do not lockout.


Seated DB Press

*Main Muscles Worked: Shoulders/Triceps/Upper Pectorals

*Quick Tip: To put the greatest emphasis on the anterior delts, press the DB’s with the palms facing each other. To work the anterior delts but also bring the lateral heads greatly into play, press with the elbows held back in line with the torso and palms facing forward.


CG BB Upright Row

*Main Muscles Worked: Anterior Shoulders/Mid-Traps/Biceps/Brachialis/Forearms

*Quick Tip: Take a grip on a BB with your hands spaced about six inches apart. Raise the bar to about the height of your chin to bring the mid and upper traps into play along with the anterior delts.


CG Pull-up

*Main Muscles Worked: Biceps/Forearms/Lats

*Quick Tip: Take a slightly less than shoulder width grip on the pull-up bar. Lift your body up to a point where you feel your biceps are fully contracted, while focusing on keeping lat activation to a minimum. Lower yourself to a point where there is still a slight bend in the elbows to keep tension on the biceps.

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