These days, it’s almost impossible to escape the IG booty pose, not to mention the ubiquitous peach emoji. There’s certainly nothing wrong with having a great behind, but true lifters know that it’s only one part of a well-defined physique and it’s just as important to train and sculpt the upper body!
So, what is the best way to do it? Train on an upper/lower-body workout schedule. This approach not only allows you to bring more intensity than full-body training to each session, but it’s also not as demanding on your schedule or lifestyle as training just one muscle group per workout. That’s why experienced lifters like IFBB bikini pro Tawna Eubanks prefer to hit two upper and two lower workouts per week.
Here are three upper-body workouts—beginner, intermediate, and advanced—to help you build and shape your arms, back, and shoulders while tightening your core to create that flawless hourglass shape!
Beginner Upper-Body Workout
If you are new to resistance training or are just getting back into the swing of things after some time off, this no-equipment-required beginner workout will get you started on your building upper body. Because it uses bodyweight movements to target the shoulders, chest, back, and core, it can also be your go-to upper-body workout at home! You’ll perform each exercise for 30 seconds, and then rest for 30 seconds before moving on to the next exercise.
Once you complete the full routine, repeat the entire sequence 2 more times for a total of 3 rounds. This workout should take no more than half-an-hour to complete from warm-up through to your post-workout protein. Perform it three-times-a-week as part of your fitness routine to begin building upper-body strength and definition right away!
You did the work. Your protein shake is the reward!
Intermediate Upper-Body Workout
If you have some workout experience under your belt, or you’ve completed a few weeks of the beginner workout listed above, you can challenge yourself with this intermediate upper-body routine. Perform 3 sets of each exercise, 1-2 times per week, with at least two full days off in between workouts. Train your lower body or perform cardio on your days off.
This workout requires a set or two of dumbbells, but feel free to use whatever weights you have available. Since this is an intermediate workout, you can adjust it to fit your goals. To build muscle, aim for a rep range of 8-12. If you have limited equipment or don’t have the ability to use heavier weights, increase your repetition to 20-30.
Advanced Upper-Body Workout
Push past training plateaus with this advanced upper-body routine. It is designed for experienced exercisers who have full gym access, but if you are training at home, you can use Bodybuilding.com’s Exercise Database to find suitable at-home substitutes for gym-based exercises.
To encourage your body to grow and become stronger, your No. 1 goal is to fatigue the muscle bellies fully during each set. Restrict your rest periods to less than 1 minute to maximize muscle-building potential. This workout uses supersets and dropsets to keep it under an hour, so be ready to work hard and lift heavy!
The best upper-body workouts are even better with fatigue-fighting ingredients in the best pre-workouts.