When it comes to putting on upper body mass, there is nothing like getting down to the basics. Time to get rid of the fancy workouts and focus on time-proven routines that have been basic staples used by bodybuilders everywhere. An upper body workout routine will have you doing some compound movements involving pushing or pulling, and will be relatively simple. As you pursue the goal of putting on more muscle mass, there are two main principles that are essential for you to follow. The first is lifting heavy weight. An upper body workout with heavy weights, put simply, stimulates more muscle fibers. The best upper body workout necessitates heavier weights and low reps which is a proven formula for adding mass as stated here in illpumpyouup.com.
“The only way for you to increase your strength and build muscle is to challenge your muscles with progressively heavier weights. Set a long-term goal for yourself and the mini-goals that will help you get there. For instance, if you currently bench 225 pounds and would like to be able to bench 315, aim to increase the weight by 5 pounds per workout until you reach your ultimate goal.
Of course, the only way to achieve this strength increase is to limit your rep range. So make sure that you can only do a maximum of 8 reps per set. Remember that in order to gain size, it’s better for you to be able to do 4 reps of 225 pounds than 15 reps of 185 pounds.”
The second principle is you have to eat more. Do not expect to put on mass, unless you put on weight. Go for healthy proteins that are vital for muscle growth. Illpumpyouup.com weighs in again on this fundamental rule.
“That doesn’t mean that you should be eating an extra bag of chips and a six-pack every day — far from it. Remember, you want to put on muscle, not fat. So make sure that those extra calories come from protein and carbs, not fat. A good breakdown for bodybuilders is 40% carbs, 35% protein and 25% fat. So if you’re consuming 2,500 calories per day, make sure that only about 625 of those come from fat, and that the rest are made up of almost equal amounts of protein and carbs.”
When putting on mass, you must also understand that it is very difficult to bulk-up without gaining some amount of body fat in the process. Manage expectations during this phase of your bodybuilding. You will be able to shed the body fat when you enter the leaning or “cutting” phase of your program.
Finally, allow yourself to rest between workouts. Intense training sessions require longer recuperation periods, which is when you actually grow. Allow for at least three days of recovery before you train a muscle group again. Train too soon and you might run the risk of injury.
Here are 5 effective upper body workouts for mass. These routines will be applicable as an upper body workout for women as well as an upper body workout routine for men. The main difference will be more dependent on the weight tolerance level of each individual, and not gender.
1. Chest – Bench Press
The bench press and all its variants will always be an exercise that is highly effective for pectoral development. Here is a routine designed for building a massive chest. The definitive way to do it is outlined here from no other than schwarzenegger.com.
Step 1: Grab the bar at an equal distance on each side of the knurling. For most lifters, this is typically around shoulder width, or slightly greater than shoulder width apart. Squeeze very tightly to create tension in your hands, forearms, upper arms, shoulders, back and chest.
Step 2: Take a deep breath, driving your chest upwards and pulling your shoulder blades back and down into the bench.
Step 3: Plant your feet and drive them downward. Squeeze your glutes to tighten up your hips and lock them into place.
Step 4: Unrack the weight (with the help of a spotter) and move the bar directly over your chest WITHOUT losing the tension in your upper back or allowing your chest to collapse.
Step 5: Reset your air by taking another big breath. Hold your breath and tighten up.
Step 6: With your entire body as tight as possible, row the weight downward under control until it reaches your chest. Ensure that your wrists and elbows stay in alignment. This will give you the best leverage and keep the weight centered.
Step 7: Without allowing your chest to collapse or losing any tension, coordinate your leg drive with driving the bar powerfully back to lockout.
Step 8: Reset your breath and repeat for the next repetition.
2. Back (Width) – Pull-ups
Ditch the lat pull downs for now. Go all out and perform pull-ups to develop your back width. Make sure you use strict form clearing the bar with your chin, and lowering yourself down all the way. Here is a video showing the right way to do a complete pull-up. Once you get used to your body weight, you can use a weight belt to increase the resistance.
3. Back (Thickness) – Bent Over Barbell Row
For thickness and depth, the bent over barbell row is also the way to go. Proper form and execution is seen here in this video from ScottHermanFitness.com.
4. Arms – Biceps EZ Bar Curls
For your arms we will be using an EZ bar, which allows more weight since the angle with which you hold the bar allows less strain on the wrist. These methods are from bodybuilding.com
1. Stand up straight while holding an EZ curl bar at the wide outer handle. The palms of your hands should be facing forward and slightly tilted inward due to the shape of the bar. Keep your elbows close to your torso. This will be your starting position.
2. Now, while keeping your upper arms stationary, exhale and curl the weights forward while contracting the biceps. Focus on only moving your forearms.
3. Continue to raise the weight until your biceps are fully contracted and the bar is at shoulder level. Hold the top contracted position for a moment and squeeze the biceps.
4. Then inhale and slowly lower the bar back to the starting position.
5. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.
You may also use the closer grip for variety purposes.
5. Arms – Triceps EZ Bar Skullcrusher
1. Using a close grip, lift the EZ bar and hold it with your elbows in as you lie on the bench. Your arms should be perpendicular to the floor. This will be your starting position.
2. Keeping the upper arms stationary, lower the bar by allowing the elbows to flex. Inhale as you perform this portion of the movement. Pause once the bar is directly above the forehead.
3. Lift the bar back to the starting position by extending the elbow and exhaling.
Use these 5 exercises to build upper body mass, keeping in mind that you must always lift till you fatigue the muscles. Allow yourself ample rest, and always be sure to eat enough protein to sustain muscle growth.