Upper Body Workout For Building Muscle Mass, Fast

A powerful back, muscular shoulders and strong arms: these items are usually at the top of many people’s wish lists when they start working out for muscle mass.

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The following workout is designed to build mass in your upper body in as short a time span as three weeks. It focuses on isolation exercises vs. compound exercises to target individual muscles; what’s more, it will hit all the opposing muscle groups in your upper body, ensuring physical symmetry and balance.

You’ll want to keep your reps in the 10 to 12 range, which is ideal for promoting muscle hypertrophy, or an increase in size. If you are used to lifting in the six to eight rep range, drop your weights in order to crank out those extra reps. The last two reps of every set are the most important, and should be the last two reps you can complete with good form, so pick your weights accordingly.

Gaining muscle in a short period of time requires the right balance of volume to rest. To pack on mass you need ample recovery time, so do this workout just twice per week; this guarantees your body enough time to repair your muscle fibers. Doing more sets in a workout can put your body into a catabolic state, which metabolizes existing muscle tissue instead of building more. And remember: Your diet must support your efforts in the gym or you won’t build muscle. What and when you eat is paramount to your results.

1. Bench Press

4 sets, 10-12 reps

Lie back on a flat bench under a loaded barbell. Using a medium width grip, so your elbows create a 90-degree angle when your upper arms are parallel to the ground, lift the bar from the rack and hold it above your chest with elbows locked. To begin, flex through the elbows to slowly lower the bar to the center of your chest. Pause, then press the bar away from your chest, extending through the elbows to starting position. Keep your belly button pulled in to your spine to brace your core, and protect your back. It’s always a good idea to have a spotter when benching.

2. Barbell Rows

4 sets,10-12 reps

Hold a barbell with an overhand grip, hands just wider than the hips, barbell resting along the front of your thigh. Bend your knees slightly, and retract the shoulder blades to keep your chest up and your back flat. Hinge forward at the waist letting the barbell hang, arms perpendicular to the ground. To begin: Flex through the elbows to bring the barbell to your chest. Keep the elbows squeezed in by your sides. Don’t lift with the forearms; pretend there is a string from your elbows attached to the ceiling and the string is being pulled to lift the weight. Squeeze the shoulders blades and pause, then slowly lower the barbell back to starting position.

3. Bicep Curls

4 sets, 10-12 reps

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, a dumbbell in each hand resting at your sides. Roll your shoulders back, supinate your grip so your palms are facing forward and glue your elbows by your sides. To begin: Flex through the elbows to curl the dumbbell up to your shoulder. Pause, then slowly lower the dumbbell back to your side, extending through the elbows. The movement should be slow and controlled, especially on the downward movement. Do not rock, use momentum, or allow your elbow to pull away from your side.

4. Skull Crushers

4 sets, 10-12 reps

Lie face up on a bench with an EZ bar extended above you in both hands, using a close grip. Keeping your elbows in and above your shoulders at all times, flex through the elbows to slowly lower the bar toward your forehead. Pause, then extend through the elbows to bring the bar back to starting position.

5. Seated Shoulder Press

4 sets, 10-12 reps

Sit on a bench with back support at the squat rack with a barbell just above head height. Grab the barbell with a medium, overhand grip, so your elbows are at a 90-degree angle with your shoulders. Lift the bar off the rack and lock your elbows. Rest your head against the back support. Your back will be at a slight angle so the bar can pass your face during the exercise. To begin: Flex through the elbows to slowly lower the bar to your upper chest. Pause, then extend through the elbows to lift the bar back to starting position. Do not arch your back; it should stay in contact with the bench at all times.