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Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Top Upper-Body Workout


Do you follow a traditional body-part workout split, training each muscle group around once a week? It’s a legitimate tactic, and with the right training programme you’ll add muscle size at a decent rate (try our twice a week upper-body workout, if so). But if a decent rate is too slow because you want to make big muscle gains as quickly as possible, this month’s main workout from Coach’s sister publication Men’s Fitness is for you.




When you do this four-times-a-week training plan, you’ll work your chest and back twice each week, while working your biceps, triceps and shoulders directly and indirectly twice a week too. This additional workout volume can help you transform your torso by adding lean muscle mass where you want it to create a V-shaped torso that screams health, strength and fitness.

How the plan works

This month’s four-week workout is made up of four sessions a week. Workout one targets your chest and back; workout two, your legs and shoulders; workout three, your chest and triceps; and workout four, your back and biceps. This approach means that all your major upper body muscles get trained directly or indirectly twice a week, and it’s this increased gym time and increased training volume that will prompt these muscles into growing bigger quickly.

Each workout is made up of six moves, split into three parts. The first is a superset comprising two big compound lifts, and you’ll do five sets. The second superset is done for four sets and the number of reps increases. The third set is a single exercise but the reps are even higher.

This approach will work your more of your muscle fibres to a greater stage of fatigue by taxing them with a mix of heavy-weight, low-rep sets, moderate-weight, moderate-rep sets and light-weight, high-rep sets. Simply do the workouts in order, sticking to the sets, reps, tempo and rest periods detailed, and transform your torso with more muscle mass across the board.

Tempo training

To get the full effect from these workouts, you need to stick to the four-digit tempo code for each exercise. The first digit indicates how long in seconds you take to lower the weight, the second how long you pause at the bottom of the move, the third how long you take to lift the weight, and the final digit how long you pause at the top.

The accumulated time under tension increases your heart rate to burn body fat and break down muscle tissue so it’s rebuilt bigger and stronger. Keep each rep smooth and controlled so your muscles – not momentum – do the work, and move through a full range of motion.


Workout 1: chest and back

Bench press                                   Sets 5 Reps 8 Tempo 2110 Rest 30sec
Bent-over row                               Sets 5 Reps 8 Tempo 2011 Rest 60sec
Chin-up                                          Sets 4 Reps 6 Tempo 2011 Rest 30sec
2B Incline flye                                Sets 4 Reps 12 Tempo 2010 Rest 60sec
Diamond press-up                         Sets 3 Reps 15 Tempo 2110 Rest 60sec

Workout 2 – legs and shoulders

Back squat                                      Sets 5 Reps 8 Tempo 2010 Rest 30sec
Overhead press                              Sets 5 Reps 8 Tempo 2010 Rest 60sec
Barbell split squat                          Sets 4 Reps 6 each side Tempo 2010 Rest 30sec
Barbell high pull                            Sets 4 Reps 12 Tempo 1010 Rest 60sec
Lateral raise                                    Sets 3 Reps 15 Tempo 2011 Rest 60sec

Workout 3 – chest and triceps

Bench press                                      Sets 5 Reps 8 Tempo 2110 Rest 30sec
Seated dumbbell shoulder press    Sets 3 Reps 12 Tempo 2010 Rest 60sec
Hammer-grip dumbbell press        Sets 4 Reps 12 Tempo 2010 Rest 30sec
Dumbbell triceps extension            Sets 4 Reps 12 Tempo 1010 Rest 60sec
Diamond press-up                           Sets 3 Reps 12 Tempo 2010 Rest 60sec

Workout 4 – back and biceps

Pull-up                                              Sets 4 Reps 6 Tempo 2011 Rest 30sec
Chin-up                                             Sets 4 Reps 6 Tempo 2011 Rest 60sec
Barbell biceps curl                           Sets 3 Reps 12 Tempo 2010 Rest 30sec
Reverse-grip bent-over row           Sets 3 Reps 12 Tempo 2010 Rest 60sec
Dumbbell biceps curl                      Sets 3 Reps 12 Tempo 2010 Rest 60sec
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