Build Upper-Body Muscle With This Two-Day Workout

November 29, 2012 | Bill DeLongis

Must See Strength Training Videos

As an athlete, you don't need to spend three hours in the gym when attempting to build muscle. It's simply not practical, and when combined with your sport practices and games, it can actually lead to overtraining and chronic fatigue.

However, this doesn't mean you can't bulk up. Try the following two-day upper-body superset workout instead of working your chest, back, shoulders and arms on separate days. By pairing two exercises together, you get twice as much work done in the same amount of time. (Discover the 5 best supersets for athletes.)

This is possible when you superset exercises that work opposing muscle groups. For example, perform a set of Bench Presses and follow it up with Bent-Over Rows. Although you won't rest between exercises, your muscles will have a chance to recover when you perform the opposite exercise.

Not only is this time-efficient, but working more muscle groups releases additional muscle-building growth hormone, improving your overall conditioning and creating better balance between muscles.

Guidelines

  • Rest only as long as it takes to get from one exercise to the other, then rest one minute between supersets; e.g.,  perform 1a, then immediately perform 1b and rest one minute before repeating.
  • Since the goal is to build muscle, time under tension (how long a rep takes) is crucial; make sure to take three or four seconds to lower the weight on each exercise.
  • Attempt to increase the weight used or reps performed each week. Write down what you did each workout, so the next week you have a benchmark you can try to exceed. If you cannot get at least eight reps with proper form, decrease the weight; if you can hit 12 reps, increase it.
  • Make sure to warm up before all workouts. Check out this article on common warm-up mistakes.
  • Each workout should last no longer than an hour, including your warm-up and eight to 10 minutes of core work.
  • Another two days should be devoted to your lower body. Take 48 to 72 hours off between upper-body days and lower-body days.

Your week can look like this:

  • Monday: Upper
  • Tuesday: Lower
  • Wednesday: Off
  • Thursday: Upper
  • Friday: Lower
  • Weekend: Off

Day 1

1a. Push Press or Shoulder Press: 3x4-8
1b. Pull-Ups: 3xMax
2a. Push-Up Variation: 3x8-12
2b. Incline Row: 3x8-12
3a. TRX Inverted Row: 3x12
3b. Band Pull Apart: 3x20
4.   4-Way Shoulder Raise: 2-3x12 each
5a. Bicep Curls: 2-3x12
5b. Triceps Pushdowns: 2-3x12

Day 2

1a. Bench Press: 3x8-12
1b. Lat Pulldown or Chin-Ups: 3x8-12
2a. Incline Chest Press: 3x8-12
2b. Single-Arm Row: 3x8-12
3a. TRX W Raise: 3x15
3b. Band or Cable High Row: 3x15
4.   Shrug Pull: 3x8
5.   Forearms/Grip

See a sample forearm workout and check out STACK's Build Muscle Guide for more ideas on how to build muscle mass.

Bill DeLongis
- Bill DeLongis, CSCS, is the assistant director of speed, strength and conditioning at Stony Brook University, where he works with baseball, volleyball, men's lacrosse, women's...
Bill DeLongis
- Bill DeLongis, CSCS, is the assistant director of speed, strength and conditioning at Stony Brook University, where he works with baseball, volleyball, men's lacrosse, women's...
Must See
Patrick Willis' Homegrown Off-Season Workout Patrick Willis' Homegrown Off-Season Workout
Views: 1,226,447
RGIII Talks About His Legacy RGIII Talks About His Legacy
Views: 25,773,369
Abby Wambach Will Do Whatever It Takes Abby Wambach Will Do Whatever It Takes
Views: 4,617,499

Featured Videos

Real Workouts: Randall Cobb Real Workouts: Randall Cobb Views: 20,495
Greg Nixon's Full-Body Dumbbell Circuit Greg Nixon's Full-Body Dumbbell Circuit Views: 317,794
SEALFIT: Pushing the Limits of What Athletes Are Capable Of SEALFIT: Pushing the Limits of What Athletes Are Capable Of
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive
Views: 6,081,054
Allyson Felix Explains How To Choose a Coach Allyson Felix Explains How To Choose a Coach
Views: 8,690,928
Dustin Pedroia on Training Dustin Pedroia on Training
Views: 10,919,945
Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker
Views: 29,869
Yoga for Athletes: Crow Pose Yoga for Athletes: Crow Pose
Views: 3,539,411

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
Abby Wambach's Soccer Power Workout

Abby Wambach's Soccer Power Workout

Tobin Heath's Powerful Leg Workout

Tobin Heath's Powerful Leg Workout

Use Sled Pushes to Increase Speed, Strength and Power

Use Sled Pushes to Increase Speed, Strength and Power

How to Use the Pallof Press for an Iron Core

How to Use the Pallof Press for an Iron Core

3 Keys to Better Softball Workouts

3 Keys to Better Softball Workouts

Get Faster With This Weightlifting Technique

Get Faster With This Weightlifting Technique

5 Quick Workout Fixes for Faster Muscle Growth

5 Quick Workout Fixes for Faster Muscle Growth

The 4 Best and Worst Cable Machine Exercises

The 4 Best and Worst Cable Machine Exercises

Bicep Curl Grip Guide: How Hand Placement Changes the Exercise

Bicep Curl Grip Guide: How Hand Placement Changes the Exercise

German Volume Training: How to Pack on Muscle Mass

German Volume Training: How to Pack on Muscle Mass

Abby Wambach's Strength and Speed Workout

Abby Wambach's Strength and Speed Workout

Train Like a Pro: Baseball Strength Workout Program

Train Like a Pro: Baseball Strength Workout Program

The Un-Liftable Inch Dumbbell: Can You Handle Its Challenge?

The Un-Liftable Inch Dumbbell: Can You Handle Its Challenge?

Why Your Instagram Box Jump Isn't That Impressive

Why Your Instagram Box Jump Isn't That Impressive

Build Bulletproof Chest Strength With This Unconventional Method

Build Bulletproof Chest Strength With This Unconventional Method

Paul Rabil's Powerful Rotational Strength Workout

Paul Rabil's Powerful Rotational Strength Workout

Increase Athletic Strength with Rotational Bodyweight Training

Increase Athletic Strength with Rotational Bodyweight Training

Jump Higher After a Month With These 3 Exercises

Jump Higher After a Month With These 3 Exercises

Train Like a Pro: Henrik Zetterberg's Hockey Strength Workout

Train Like a Pro: Henrik Zetterberg's Hockey Strength Workout

Speed Drill of the Day: Reverse Lunges

Speed Drill of the Day: Reverse Lunges

How You Can Olympic Lift With an Injury

How You Can Olympic Lift With an Injury

Kevin Love's In-Season Workout

Kevin Love's In-Season Workout

Build a Strong Upper Body With These Landmine Exercises

Build a Strong Upper Body With These Landmine Exercises

3 Keys to a Solid Squat Setup

3 Keys to a Solid Squat Setup

Todd Durkin's Complete Football Strength Training Program

Todd Durkin's Complete Football Strength Training Program

Is It Too Soon for Olympic Lifts?

Is It Too Soon for Olympic Lifts?

Add Surprise Sets for a Great Workout Finisher

Add Surprise Sets for a Great Workout Finisher

Train Like a Pro: Los Angeles Lakers Strength Training Program

Train Like a Pro: Los Angeles Lakers Strength Training Program

How to Recover From a Soccer Game or Workout

How to Recover From a Soccer Game or Workout

4 Tips for Reducing Deadlift Back Pain

4 Tips for Reducing Deadlift Back Pain

Use Wave Loading to Take Your Strength to the Next Level

Use Wave Loading to Take Your Strength to the Next Level

Train Like a Pro: Julio Jones 3-Day Sandbag Strength Program

Train Like a Pro: Julio Jones 3-Day Sandbag Strength Program

8-Exercise Advanced Chest and Back Workout

8-Exercise Advanced Chest and Back Workout

Build Muscle With the 2-Second Pause Workout Program

Build Muscle With the 2-Second Pause Workout Program

The Top 10 Mistakes Athletes Make in the Weight Room

The Top 10 Mistakes Athletes Make in the Weight Room

Get Faster to Pitch Harder

Get Faster to Pitch Harder

Build Strong Legs with the Leg Press Lockdown Workout

Build Strong Legs with the Leg Press Lockdown Workout

Train Like a Pro: MLS Soccer Strength Program

Train Like a Pro: MLS Soccer Strength Program

3 Habits of Highly Successful Coaches

3 Habits of Highly Successful Coaches

Speed Drill of the Day: Weighted Arm Swings

Speed Drill of the Day: Weighted Arm Swings

Not Making Bench Press Gains? Try These Strategies

Not Making Bench Press Gains? Try These Strategies

Build Athletic Strength with the Playground Sandbag Workout

Build Athletic Strength with the Playground Sandbag Workout

Train Like a Pro: James Harden's Basketball Maintenance Workout

Train Like a Pro: James Harden's Basketball Maintenance Workout

2 Brutal 10-Minute Workouts That Deliver Serious Results

2 Brutal 10-Minute Workouts That Deliver Serious Results

3 Reasons Why You Should Do Full-Body Workouts

3 Reasons Why You Should Do Full-Body Workouts

YardBarker