Build Upper-Body Muscle With This Two-Day Workout | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

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
Margus Hunt Benches 385 Pounds for Five Reps
Views: 18,595,916
Jadeveon Clowney on Making Big Hits
Views: 3,155,784
Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs
Views: 1,086,781

Featured Videos

Quest for the Ring: Duke University Views: 217,694
Eastbay: It Begins Now Views: 67,081
Path to the Pros 2015: Training Days Views: 118,412
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

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Never Bench Press With Your Feet in This Position

I don't like using the terms never, everyone, and always when discussing any topic related to fitness. Why? Because, generally, it's arcane and short...

Use Eccentric Lifts to Increase Size and Strength

Make Lifts More Challenging With Resistance Bands

Reach New Training Heights With Resistance Band Exercises

Perfect Your Squat Technique With the Unloaded Squat

7 Best Lower-Body Strengthening Exercises

Build Max Power With These Pulling Exercises

Posterior Chain Fixes to Improve Your Game

Improve Soccer Agility with Lateral Strength Exercises

A Better Way to Train Your Core

How Strength Training Changed Rory McIlroy's Game

The Science of Building Muscle: 2 Ways to Maximize Hypertrophy

How Often Should You Vary Your Exercise?

Increase Your Explosiveness with the Power Curl

Kyle Lowry's 12-Week All-Star Training Program

7 Strategies for Faster Workout Recovery

7-Exercise Core-Blasting Workout

12-Week Resistance Band and Chain Workout

Bench Press Grip Guide: How Hand Placement Changes the Exercise

5 Ways to Get a Higher Vertical Jump

How to Design a Greco-Roman Wrestling Training Program

4 Deadlift Variations to Increase Your Pull

Mike Boyle's 5 Tips for More Effective Workouts

Master the Lateral Lunge to Improve Your Hockey Stride

Putting Together an Off-Season Workout for Point Guards

Dominate Your Bench Test With This Strategy

5 Exercises to Develop Soccer Power

3 Post-Activation Potentiation Combos for Explosive Strength

12 Strength Moves from NFL WR Harry Douglas's Full-Body Workout

7 Farmer's Walk Variations for Improved Core Strength

The Best Single-Leg Exercises for Youth Athletes

4 Simple Golf Core Exercises to Increase Your Driving Distance

3 Nordic Hamstring Curl Exercises to Boost Your Performance

Mike Boyle: 4 Small Muscles That Can Lead to Big Gains

Improve Your Squat Depth With 5 Easy Warm-Up Exercises

3 Tricks for a Stronger Front Squat

4 Weaknesses That Can Ruin Your Exercise Technique (With Fixes)

10 Ways to Get Stronger With a Sandbag

7 Ways to Work Out Competitively Without CrossFit

These 3 Single-Leg Movements Will Improve Your Squat Technique

Develop Core Strength for Throwing

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Exercise

How Functional Training Has Overly Complicated Strength Training

6 Gym Machines That Are Actually Worth Your Time

How NOT to Perform a Pull-Up (With Fixes)