Build Muscle With This Simple Upper-Body Workout Routine

Strengthen your chest, shoulders, back, arms and core with this upper-body workout from STACK Expert Steve Green.

To build muscle, every athlete needs a challenging upper-body workout routine. Here's one for intermediate and advanced lifters that works multiple muscle groups. You can do this two to three times a week, with two days rest in between to give your body time to recover. The reps are short so you can lift heavier-than-usual weight. Enlist a spotter to help.


Dumbbell Chest Press

The chest is one area every lifter focuses on. A powerful chest provides power for throwing, blocking and many other athletic movements.

Dumbbell Chest Presses challenge lifters to use their stabilizing muscles to greater effect. When performing the Dumbbell Flat Press, do not drop the weights after completing a set. Lower them in a controlled manner and place them gently on the floor—or better, have your spotter take the weights from you.

RELATED: 8-Exercise Advanced Bodyweight Chest and Back Workout


Overhead Shoulder Press

Targeting the shoulders, an athlete will use the Shoulder Press, which can be completed in a seated position. Grab the barbell with a medium grip and your palms facing out, and hold it above your head. Gently lower the bar to shoulder level and raise it back to the starting position. Be careful not to lose control of the bar during the lift. In one variation, the lifter stands up, but this is recommended only for advanced lifters. Next, perform the same lift, only use dumbbells.

RELATED: 7 Exercises That Safely Build Shoulder Strength


Lat Pull-Down

The Wide-Grip Lat Pull-Down really hits the back for athletes. Sit at a pull-down machine and adjust the seat to your height. Using a grip wider than shoulder-width, grab the bar and pull it down to your chest in a controlled manner. Concentrate on squeezing your back muscles at the bottom of the lift. Bring the bar back up to the starting position.

Seated Cable Rows target the muscles in the mid-back. Using a v-bar and a neutral grip (palms facing each other), keep your torso at a 90-degree angle and pull the cable back until it touches your abdominal muscles. Gently take the v-bar back to the starting position.


Tricep Dips

When focusing on the arms, lifters move from dumbbells to bodyweight exercises. To focus on the triceps, perform Tricep Dips on a dip bars. Hold your body up at arm's length and keep your arms nearly locked out. Lower your body until your forearms and upper arms are at a 90-degree angle. Raise your body back up.

To hit the biceps, perform Chin-Ups. With your palms facing you, start at a dead hang and pull yourself up so your chest is level with the bar. Hold for a brief moment. Then, in a controlled manner, return to the hang. Repeat.

Perform both Dips and Chin-Ups to failure.

RELATED: Build Bigger Arms in Two Minutes


Ab Roll-Out

Using an ab wheel is a great way to work your core. Starting at a kneeling push-up position, roll your body out with the wheel as far as you can. Do not let your body touch the ground. Pause for a brief moment, then wheel back to the starting position. Go slowly and keep your abdominals tight.

User ab wheel with caution if you have lower-back problems.

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