Workout Routines

The upper-body big-muscle workout program

Build shoulders, traps, and forearms that will pop—whether it's at the beach or under even the bulkiest cold-weather clothing.

by
The upper-body big-muscle workout program
Duration 10
Exercises 4-5
Equipment Yes

Sure, you don’t get a lot of props for your six-pack abs in fall and winter, when layers of insulation replace summer’s skimpy tank tops and tees. But your traps, shoulders, and forearms can still pop out and look powerful under long-sleeve shirts and sweaters.

With this program, you’ll pack on muscle to these areas and get an upper body no amount of cloth can conceal—whether it's in the heat of summer or the dead of winter.

How it works

While this routine has plenty of legs and abs work, it particularly targets the “sweater muscles” with exercises that train them heavy and hard. Hang snatch high pulls—an Olympic weightlifting move popular in CrossFit—will train your traps in a brand new way, while rack pulls will add thickness to your shoulders and back.

You’ll also focus on the forearms—but by integrating them with other muscle groups for efficiency. Instead of wrist curls, we’re calling for hammers and farmer’s walks with a thicker dumbbell handle. This forces you to grip harder to hold on to the weight, firing up your forearm muscles without isolating them.

Directions

Perform each workout (Day I, II, and III) once per week, resting a day between each session.

Exercises marked “A” and “B” are alternated, so you’ll do one set of A, rest, then B, rest again, and repeat until all sets are complete.

Jeb Stuart Johnston, C.P.T., is a trainer in New York City. Visit him at brooklynstrong.net.

Day I Pull and press

Exercise 1.

Snatch-Grip High Pull You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Snatch-Grip High Pull  thumbnail
8 sets
3 reps
Every minute on the minute rest

Exercise 2.

Rack Pull You'll need: Barbell How to
Rack Pull Exercise thumbnail
4 sets
6 reps
90 sec. rest

Exercise 3A.

Incline Dumbbell Press You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Incline Dumbbell Press thumbnail
4 sets
12 reps
60 sec. rest

Exercise 3B.

Chest-Supported Row How to
Chest-Supported Row thumbnail
4 sets
15 reps
60 sec. rest

Exercise 4.

Six-Way Shoulder Raise You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Six-Way Shoulder Raise thumbnail
3 sets
10 reps
60 sec. rest

Day II Legs

Exercise 1.

Front Squat You'll need: Barbell How to
Front Squat thumbnail
3 sets
8 reps
90 sec. rest

Exercise 2.

Bulgarian Split Squat You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Bulgarian Split Squat thumbnail
4 sets
6 reps
90 sec. rest

Exercise 3.

Inverted Row You'll need: Power Rack How to
Inverted row thumbnail
3 sets
10 reps
60 sec. rest

Exercise 4.

One-Arm Farmer's Walk You'll need: Dumbbells How to
One Arm Fat Grip Farmers Walk  thumbnail
4 sets
100 ft. (each side) reps
90 sec. rest

Day III Intensive arm strengthening

Exercise 1A.

Dumbbell Overhead Press You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Dumbbell Overhead Press  thumbnail
4 sets
6 reps
60 sec. rest

Exercise 1B.

Pullup You'll need: Pullup Bar How to
Exercise: How to do an Eccentric Pullup thumbnail
4 sets
As many as possible reps
60 sec. rest

Exercise 2A.

One-arm Reverse Cable Pushdown You'll need: Cable Machine How to
One-arm Reverse Cable Pushdown thumbnail
4 sets
15 reps
30 sec. rest

Exercise 2B.

Fat-Grip Hammer Curl You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Fat-Grip Hammer Curl thumbnail
4 sets
10 reps
30 sec. rest

Exercise 3A.

Dragon Flag You'll need: Bench How to
Dragon Flag thumbnail
3 sets
12 reps
60 sec. rest
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