Your upper body is extremely complex and is comprised of many different muscles groups. If you’re training for strength and hypertrophy and thus, wanting to grow your muscles, it is imperative that you train each one of these muscle groups to maximize your progress.
If this is your objective, the following 6 exercises are excellent choices to help you reach your goal. Try using this routine twice a week for 4-6 weeks, gradually increasing the weight as you progress. At the end of these 4-6 weeks you should see a major difference in your strength, as well as noticeable changes in your physique.
Activation: Seated Overhead Band Flys
15 reps 3 rounds
- Using a resistance band, hook it under the bench you will be sitting on. Grip each side with one hand each.
- Pull up and forward towards the ceiling
- Pause at the top for a second
- Lower your arms back down
Banded exercises are often overlooked or dismissed at not being effective for hypertrophy. However, the opposite couldn’t be truer. Banded exercises are amazing to activate and warm up your muscles. When you initially begin a workout, your muscles are “cold” and are not at their peak performance levels. Using banded exercises, or very light weights, helps activate and warm your muscles up without tiring them out before you begin your actual workout. Having your muscles activated (warmed up) going into a workout will not only help prevent injury, but will also help you lift more than you would be able if you had gone into the workout “cold”. Another common use for banded exercises is to “burn-out” your muscles at the end of the workout.
10 reps 3 sets
- Lie on the bench with your eyes under the bar
- Grab the bar with a medium grip-width (thumbs around the bar!)
- Unrack the bar by straightening your arms
- Lower the bar to your mid-chest
- Press the bar back up until your arms are straight
Tips for Bench Pressing:
- Try to keep your feet back toward your butt as far as you can while still keeping them flat on the ground. The point of this is to be able to generate power from the ground up through your entire body.
- Make sure to squeeeze those shoulder blades together! This will help you stay tight and protect your shoulders.
- Arch your back. While this is a controversial topic among bodybuilders, arching your lower back will actually help maintain a neutral spine and keep your back tight and protected as you press.
- Try to lightly tap your chest at the bottom of the exercise
- Your forearms should create a 90 degree angle at the bottom of the exercise position
Left, Right, Center Pull Up Variation
10 reps 3 sets
- Start with an overhand grip with your hands about 6 to 12 inches wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Pull your body up toward your right hand then lower yourself back to the starting position
- Similarly on the next rep pull your body up to your left hand, then lower yourself back to the start position
- The third rep will be a regular pull up, bringing your body up and to the center, then lowering yourself back to the start position
Close Grip Rope Pull Up
10 reps 3 sets
- Start off by hanging a rope extension over the top of a pull up bar then grab it with a neutral grip, palms facing inward.
- Holding tightly onto the rope, slowly pull yourself up until your hands are almost touching your upper chest.
- Squeeze with your lats and hold for a count.
- Return back to the starting position.
Smith Machine Incline Bench Press
8 slow reps 3 rounds – 5 fast reps 3 rounds
- Start off by placing an incline bench at a 45 degree angle in the middle of a smith machine, then lie down with your back flat on the bench making sure that the bar is aligned across the upper portion of your chest.
- Grab onto the bar with a shoulder-width grip, unlock it and slowly lower it down towards your chest until you feel a stretch in your pectoral muscles.
- Hold this position for a count then return back up to the start.
- Refrain from “bouncing” the bar off your chest
Landmine Back Row
12 reps 3 rounds
- Stand with a loaded landmine between your legs.
- Bend at the hips and a little at the knees and grasp the landmine bar just under the plates with both hands. You can either interlink your fingers or place one hand over the other. Instead of grasping the landmine bar, you can also hook a double-row bar around it. Your back should be straight and close to horizontal.
- Keeping your elbows close to your body, exhale as you pull the landmine to your chest.
- Hold for a count of two and squeeze your back muscles.
- Inhale as you lower the landmine in a controlled manner until your shoulders stretch downward. Don’t allow the landmine to touch the floor.
- Keep your back straight and close to horizontal.
- Pull with your elbows, not with your biceps.
- Keep your elbows close to your body.
Good luck! Let us know if you try this routine and how it goes for you! Don’t forget to tag us on Instagram @ecsportsusa for chances to be featured, win products or merch!