Everyone loves a good leg day, but upper body days are just as important.
And just like leg day has its many benefits, training upper body has many benefits too.
Among these benefits are,
Improved posture while sitting and standing.
Improved posture and form for physical activities.
Reduces the risk of injuries.
Helps prevent and relieve upper back, neck and shoulder pain.
And of course, a healthy and fit appearance.
Today, we’re going to look at an intense upper-body workout, that will kick-start and set the tone for the week.
We’re calling this one, the “Full Push” workout, created to dominate your upper body.
We’ve divided the workout into 5 different sets, 3 of which are super sets. Super-sets are great because they save time (no rest breaks in between) and allow you to intensify your workout by overloading your muscle.
Let’s start off this workout with a staple exercise for any good upper body routine. You’ve heard of this one before, the Bench Press, a favorite too bodybuilders and gym goers everywhere.
1. Lie on the bench with your eyes under the bar
2. Grab the bar with a medium grip-width (thumbs around the bar!)
3. Unrack the bar by straightening your arms
4. Lower the bar to your mid-chest
5. Press the bar back up until your arms are straight
Pro-Tip: Hold the weight for a second at the top, with straight arms. Breathe. Then take a big breath, hold it, and lower the bar again. Keep your butt on the bench when you press it back up.
Perform 4 sets of 6-8 reps at a challenging weight. (It should be heavy enough that it is a struggle to finish the last couple reps, especially on the third set, but light enough that you can still complete the set. This is a good rule of thumb for any strength training.)
Smith Machine Overhead Shoulder Press
1. To begin, place a flat bench (or preferably one with back support) underneath a smith machine. Position the barbell at a height so that when seated on the flat bench, the arms must be almost fully extended to reach the barbell.
2. Once you have the correct height, sit slightly in behind the barbell so that there is an imaginary straight line from the tip of your nose to the barbell. Your feet should be stationary. Grab the barbell with the palms facing forward, unlock it and lift it up so that your arms are fully extended. This is the starting position.
3. Slowly begin to lower the barbell until it is level with your chin while inhaling.
4. Then lift the barbell back to the starting position using your shoulders while exhaling.
Pro-Tip: You can use dumbbells or a barbell to perform this exercise.
Perform 4 sets of 10 reps.
Single-Arm Smith Machine Row – 10 Reps Each Arm
Smith Machine Row – 8 Reps
Single Arm Smith Machine Row
Set up for the smith machine one arm row by dropping the bar to the lowest setting and adding the weight you want to use.
Stand on the left hand side of the bar at a 90 degree angle.
Bend at the knees slightly, keep your back straight and bend down and grasp the bar with your right hand. Rest your left and on your left thigh for support.
Stand up slightly to take the weight off the machine. Keeping your eyes facing forwards and head up, slowly pull the bar up as far as possible.
Pause, and then slowly lower the weight back to starting position.
Pro-Tip: Keep your body still throughout the movement and control the weight. Do not let your back arch.
Smith Machine Row
1. Set the barbell attached to the smith machine to a height that is about 2 inches below your knees.
2. Bend your knees slightly and bring your torso forward, by bending at the waist, while keeping the back straight until it is almost parallel to the floor. Tip: Make sure that you keep the head up.
3. Now grasp the barbell using an overhand (pronated) grip and unlock it from the smith machine rack. Then let it hang directly in front of you as your arms hang extended perpendicular to the floor and your torso. This is your starting position.
4. While keeping the torso stationary, lift the barbell as you breathe out, keeping the elbows close to the body and not doing any force with the forearm other than holding the weights. On the top contracted position, squeeze the back muscles and hold for a second.
5. Slowly lower the weight again to the starting position as you inhale.
Perform 10 Single-Arm Smith Machine Row’s then 8 reps of Smith Machine Rows, with about 10-15 seconds of rest between each set. Perform 4 sets in total.
Incline Dumbbell Press 10 Reps
Incline Dumbbell Fly 8 Reps
Incline Dumbbell Press
1. Lie back on an incline bench with a dumbbell in each hand atop your thighs. The palms of your hands will be facing each other.
2. Then, using your thighs to help push the dumbbells up, lift the dumbbells one at a time so that you can hold them at shoulder width.
3. Once you have the dumbbells raised to shoulder width, rotate your wrists forward so that the palms of your hands are facing away from you. This will be your starting position.
4. Be sure to keep full control of the dumbbells at all times. Then breathe out and push the dumbbells up with your chest.
5. Lock your arms at the top, hold for a second, and then start slowly lowering the weight.
Incline Dumbbell Fly
1. Hold a dumbbell on each hand and lie on an incline bench that is set to an incline angle of no more than 30 degrees.
2. Extend your arms above you with a slight bend at the elbows.
3. Now rotate the wrists so that the palms of your hands are facing you. Tip: The pinky fingers should be next to each other. This will be your starting position.
4. As you breathe in, start to slowly lower the arms to the side while keeping the arms extended and while rotating the wrists until the palms of the hand are facing each other. Tip: At the end of the movement the arms will be by your side with the palms facing the ceiling.
5. As you exhale start to bring the dumbbells back up to the starting position by reversing the motion and rotating the hands so that the pinky fingers are next to each other again. Tip:Keep in mind that the movement will only happen at the shoulder joint and at the wrist. There is no motion that happens at the elbow joint.
Perform 10 Incline Dumbbell Presses followed by 8 reps of Incline Dumbbell Fly’s, with about 10-15 seconds of rest between each set. Perform 3 sets in total.
Dumbbell Preacher Curl 15 Reps
Incline Dumbbell Overhead Extension 15 Reps
Dumbbell Preacher Curl
1. Grab a dumbbell with the right arm and place the upper arm on top of the preacher bench or the incline bench. The dumbbell should be held at shoulder length. This will be your starting position.
2. As you breathe in, slowly lower the dumbbell until your upper arm is extended and the biceps is fully stretched.
3. As you exhale, use the biceps to curl the weight up until your biceps is fully contracted and the dumbbell is at shoulder height. Again, remember that to ensure full contraction you need to bring that small finger higher than the thumb.
4. Squeeze the biceps hard for a second at the contracted position and repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.
Incline Dumbbell Overhead Extension
1. Start off grabbing a dumbbell in each hand and lie against an incline bench, face up with your feet firmly planted on the floor in front of you.
2. Extend your arms over your shoulders with your palms facing each other and then slowly lower the dumbbells behind your head by bending your elbows.
3. Hold this position for a count.
4. Then with a controlled motion raise your arms back up to the starting position.
Perform 15 Dumbbell Preacher Curl followed by 15 reps of Incline Dumbbell Overhead Extension, with about 10-15 seconds of rest between each set. Perform 3 sets in total.
Use this routine for your next upper body day and let us know how it goes! Good luck!