Jump to the routine

The best upper-body workout

Make enormous gains fast with this intense arms, chest, back, and abs routine.

Jump to the Routine
  • 30

  • 4

  • Yes

Triceps Dip
Nastasic / Getty
Triceps Dip
Nastasic / Getty

If you were to look at some of the most effective muscle-building and strength-building programs, the total number of reps for the main exercises usually add up to around 25.

So to make the most of your workouts and add slabs of muscle to your bi’s and tri’s, shoot for this number of reps—and your gains will add up, too.

This workout offers two different approaches, listed here as Option A and Option B.

The Ultimate Strength-Building MMA workout

The ultimate strength-building MMA workout

Gain real power and total-body strength.

Read article

Option A

This option is more slanted toward beginners or people looking for a slightly less-intense upper-body workout.

How it works

A moderate number of low-rep sets provide a blend of intensity and volume, which has always been associated with size and strength gains. Almost any combination will work: five sets of five, six sets of four, or eight sets of three all allow you to put some work in with big, challenging loads.

Directions

The first time you perform the workout, you’ll hit 25 reps for the main lifts by completing five sets of five, as shown. If you repeat the workout, perform six sets of four reps. In the next session, do eight sets of three. Do not perform this workout more than twice a week, and allow at least three days before repeating it. On each lift that you use the 25-rep rule for, spend the first three or four sets warming up so that only the last two are done with heavy weights.

Forced reps, dropsets, static holds, and various other bodybuilding techniques all have their place for building muscle. But you shouldn’t place a priority on any of these techniques over simply aiming to increase your strength. If you’ve spent years trying to trick your muscles into new gains with fancy programs that ignored the basics, it’s time you learned how to add weight to the bar.

Today's Workout 2: The total-body burner

4 unique moves for an upper-body muscle burn

Strengthen and define your chest, back, and arms.

Read article

Option B

Option B ups the ante a bit. It’s a powerful, max-effort workout that you must build up to before attempting to execute.

How it works

The max effort method is probably the most powerful strength-building protocol available, and it’s a mainstay of powerlifters and football players. It’s also very simple to do: Keep adding weight to the bar until you reach the heaviest load you can handle for a given number of reps. After you max out your bench press, you’ll train the rest of the body heavy using exercises that help you to keep driving up your bench press and overall upper-body strength. As your strength increases, so will your muscle gains. And then we’ll revisit those forced reps.

Directions

Perform the paired exercises (marked A and B) as supersets. So you’ll do one set of A and then immediately do a set of B, rest, and repeat for the prescribed sets. For the remaining exercises, complete all sets for the move before going on to the next one.

Adam Levine's 'Get Out and Do Shit' Workout Routine

Adam Levine's total-body workout

The 38-year-old music star's 'get out and do shit' workout routine.

Read article

Routine

Want a copy on the go?
Print

The best upper-body workout

Option A: The moderate workout

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 1 of 4

Barbell Overhead Press

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
5
Reps
5
Rest
90 sec.
Exercise 2 of 4

Incline Bench Press

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
5
Reps
5
Rest
60-90 sec.
Exercise 3 of 4

Dip

Equipment
Dip Station
Sets
--
Reps
50
Rest
60 sec.
Perform as many sets as needed.
Exercise 4 of 4

Pullup

Equipment
Pullup Bar
Sets
--
Reps
50
Rest
60 sec.
As many sets as needed.

The best upper-body workout

Option B: The max-effort method

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 5 of 4

Bench Press

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
--
Reps
Work up to a 3-rep max
Rest
As needed.
Perform several warmup sets, keeping your reps to five or fewer. Gradually work up to the heaviest weight that you can perform three reps with (this should take at least five sets). Be sure to use a spotter or use a power rack with spotter bars.
Exercise 6 of 4

Neutral-Grip Floor Press

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
4
Reps
8, 8, 6, 5
Rest
180 sec.
Exercise 7 of 4

Dumbbell Row

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
2
Reps
8, 20–25 (each side)
Rest
120 sec.
Exercise 8 of 4

Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
10
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 9 of 4

Seated Dumbbell Clean

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
10
Rest
90 sec.
Exercise 10 of 4

Zottman Curl

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
8
Rest
60 sec.
See all of our tutorials