T Nation

Need an Upper Body Workout

Hey, I need help coming up with an upper body workout. I olympic lift but only 2-3 times a week and its good but my upper body is pathetic. Now that I got my diet in order I think I can make some good gains. I’m tired of being 210 with 14 inch arms. I’m trying to get 15’s. Do you guys have any arm workouts you recommend or better yet, a full upper body workout?

All I care about upper body wise is hypertrophy. This can be a pre written routine or not. I was currently thinking of just using the upper body days in the west side for skinny bastards thread. I want this to be a split.

You think GVT or OVT training would be smart, or just do something like an arm specific routine and make the rest myself. I know CT has a routine that is suppose to add an inch to ur arms in 3 months which is how long summer is. Might be worth a shot.

CT SUPERHERO WORKOUT

Superhero Program
by Christian Thibaudeau

WEEKS 1-4

Monday (Shoulders conjugate/Traps heavy)

A. Seated dumbbell press
4 x 6-8 reps

B1. Upright rowing
3 x 10-12 reps

B2. Seated incline lateral raise
3 x 10-12 reps

C. Arnold press
3 x 8-10 reps

D. Lateral raise
1 x 100 reps (take pauses if needed)

E. Barbell power shrugs
5 x 5 reps

Tuesday (Quads/Hams/Biceps/Triceps)

A1. Back squat
1 x 15, 1 x 12, 1 x 8, 1 x 20

A2. Romanian deadlift
1 x 12, 1 x 10, 1 x 8, 1 x 15

B1. Barbell curl
3 x 6-8 reps

B2. Close-grip decline press
3 x 6-8 reps

C1. Preacher curl
3 x 10-12 reps

C2. Decline dumbbell triceps extension
3 x 10-12 reps

D1. Hammer curl
3 x 12-15 reps

D2. Cable triceps extension
3 x 12-15 reps

Thursday (Traps conjugate/Shoulders heavy)

A. Barbell shrugs
4 x 6-8 reps

B1. Haney shrugs (behind the back shrugs in the Smith machine)
3 x 10-12 reps

B2. Upright rowing
3 x 10-12 reps

C. Standing calf machine shrugs
3 x 8-10 reps

D. Rear delt machine
1 x 100 reps

E. Military press
5 x 5

Saturday (Chest/Back)

A1. Incline bench press
3 x 6-8 reps

A2. Bent over barbell rowing
3 x 6-8 reps

B1. Flat dumbbell bench press
3 x 10-12 reps

B2. Lat pulldown
3 x 10-12 reps

C1. Decline bench press
3 x 12-15 reps

C2. Seated rowing
3 x 12-15 reps

  • NOTE: Abdominal work is performed after every workout. Alternate between these two:

ABS WORKOUT 1

A1. Kneeling cable crunch
3 x 12-15 reps

A2. Machine crunch (use a 505 tempo)
3 x 6-8 reps

A3. Swiss ball crunch
3 x max

ABS WORKOUT 2

A1. Eagle sit-up
3 x max

A2. Roman chair Russian twist
3 x 12-15 reps

A3. High pulley woodchop
3 x 12-15 reps per side

WEEKS 5-8

Monday (Upper chest conjugate/Biceps heavy)

A. Incline bench press
4 x 6-8 reps

B1. Low-incline dumbbell press (stop short of lockout)
3 x 10-12 reps

B2. Incline cable flies
3 x 10-12 reps

C. Low-pulley crossover
3 x 8-10 reps

D. Bench press
1 x 100 reps (take pauses if needed)

E. Barbell curl
5 x 5 reps

Tuesday (Quads/Hams)

A1. Back squat
1 x 15, 1 x 12, 1 x 8, 1 x 20

A2. Romanian deadlift
1 x 12, 1 x 10, 1 x 8, 1 x 15

B1. Leg press
3 x 10-12 reps

B2. Gironda leg curl (leg curl with an elevated torso, as in a push-up position)
3 x 10-12 reps

C. Leg curl
1 x 100 reps

Thursday (Biceps conjugate/Upper chest heavy)

A. Barbell curl
4 x 6-8 reps

B1. Reverse preacher curl
3 x 10-12 reps

B2. Hammer curl
3 x 10-12 reps

C. Machine curl 2/1 technique (lift with 2 arms, lower in 5 seconds with 1 arm)
3 x 5-6 reps per side

D. Preacher curl
1 x 100 reps

E. High incline dumbbell press
5 x 5

Saturday (Back/Triceps)

A1. Barbell rowing
3 x 6-8 reps

A2. Fat-man pull-ups
3 x max reps

B1. Weighted chins
3 x 6-8 reps

B2. Lat pulldown
3 x 10-12 reps

C1. Decline EZ-bar triceps extension
5 x 6-8 reps

C2. Rope triceps extension
5 x 12-15 reps

  • NOTE: Abs work is still performed after every workout in an alternate fashion.

WEEKS 9-12

Monday (quadriceps/hamstrings)

A. Back squat
1 x 10, 1 x 8, 1 x 6, 1 x 8, 1 x 10

B1. Leg press
3 x 10-12 reps

B2. Leg extension
3 x 10-12 reps

C. Romanian deadlift
1 x 10, 1 x 8, 1 x 6, 1 x 8, 1 x 10

Tuesday (Shoulders/Back)

A1. Upright rowing
1 x 10, 1 x 8, 1 x 6, 1 x 8, 1 x 10

A2. Seated incline dumbbell lateral raise
4 x 12-15 reps

B. Cable lateral raise (one arm at a time)
3 x 15-20 reps per arm

C1. Barbell rowing
1 x 10, 1 x 8, 1 x 6, 1 x 8, 1 x 10

C2. Lat pulldown
1 x 10, 1 x 8, 1 x 6, 1 x 8, 1 x 10

E. Haney shrugs
3 x 12-15 reps

Thursday (Biceps/Triceps)

A1. Preacher curl
4 x 8-10 reps

A2. Alternate dumbbell curl
4 x 10-12 reps per arm

A3. Reverse barbell curl
4 x 12-15 reps

B1. Close-grip bench press
4 x 8-10 reps

B2. Lying barbell triceps extension
4 x 10-12 reps

B3. Rope triceps extension
4 x 12-15 reps

Saturday (Chest/Shoulders)

A1. Decline dumbbell press
3 x 8-10 reps

A2. Dips
3 x max reps

A3. Cable crossover
3 x 12-15 reps

B1. Seated dumbbell press
4 x 8-10 reps

B2. Standing lateral raise
4 x 10-12 reps

B3. Front dumbbell raise
4 x 12-15 reps

  • NOTE: Abs should be worked after every workout (same as two other phases) plus additional resistance free abs work everyday.

The superhero program is NOT a good idea. The guy is already doing 2-3 Olympic lifting workouts a week… the SHP is overkill!

The thing is that too much upper body work can hurt you in your Olympic lifting efforts. So it’s a matter of choosing if your main goal is Olympic lifting, overall strength or looking good.

If it’s Olympic lifting you should focus on upper body exercises that will help, or at least not hurt, your performance in the Olympic lifts. For example:

  • military press, push press, DB shoulder press, Incline bench press, triceps work (preferably of the ‘‘pressing’’ not ‘‘extension’’ type), biceps work should be mostly done with a hammer and/or reverse grip, rowing of all kinds are good, chins and pull-ups… these are all good choices. Stay away from too much direct chest work as it might hurt your snatch performance.

If it’s general strength … being strong in the ‘‘big 5’’ (snatch, clean & jerk, squat, bench, deadlift) without the objective of competing, then you can have more leeway and use more of a powerlifting approach. The westside upper body work of one max effort workout and one dynamic effort session would fit the bill.

If it’s appearance that you’re after, by all means train the upper body like a bodybuilder, but it will not be optimal for Olympic lifting performance.

I tought he was looking for a routine and some suggestions(inches to your arm in 3 months = superhero???)…that was just my 2 cents but CT right in all the sense…

The best thing for you to do is to begin with your back.

All the major strength from the entire body situates in the legs and back.

If your happy with your legs, now is the time to start on the back as you will have the core strength in your legs to cope with the lifting and such. (DON’T STOP TRAINING LEGS THOUGH)

Day 1

Deadlift 3 X 8
Wide Grip Pull Ups 3 X MAX
Lat Pull Downs 3 X 12
Seated Row 3 X 8

Day 2

Straight Leg Deadlift 3 X 8
Bent Over Row 3 X 12
Single Arm Row 3 X MAX

Day 3

Bent Over Flyes 3 X 10
Lateral Raises 3 X 10
Shoulder Press 3 X 10

(I put a shoulder day in as it is important that with the development of the back, the development of the shoulders is maintained)

(Back training will also as everyone knows act as a great start point for arm training)

(I have also left out weights to use as obviously I do not know what weights you lift now)

I would do this programme for up to 8 weeks, then I would move onto a focused Chest Routine (please rememeber that I have writtin out the Back routine as this is where I feel you should start. NEVER STOP TRAINING THE OTHER BODY AREAS…you’ll just look stupid, whilst training back. Throw some Press ups and Tricep Dips in at the end, just so that the chest and whole arm are till working.

Chest

Day 1

Dumbbell Press 3 X 8
Dumbbell Flyes 3 X 12
Incline Dumbbell Press 3 X 8

Day 2

Bench Press 3 X 8
Cable Flyes 3 X 12
Decline Bench Press 3 X 8

Day 3

Press Ups 3 X MAX
Cable Press 3 X MAX
Cable Flyes 3 X MAX

I would do this chest programme for another 8 weeks then swap around and start on the back again. Remember to keep training back whilst doing the chest routine…throw in Wide Grip Pull ups 3 sets of maximum reps at the end and a Bent Over Row 3 sets of maximum reps to keep the back ticking over.

With this training the arms should also grow in size.

Let me know what you think and if you want and arms and abs routine. Just get in touch and ill give you some info.

Many thanks and keep lifting

Thanks for the routine above. My main objective is olympic lifting but I have a gym membership I am paying for now so I’d prefer some kinda upper body work to use it. I dont rly train chest, I have a thing about BB bench, I think banded push ups and DB bench is fine though.

I dont think I’m at the level yet to train legs, day after day so I want to fill some gym time. I decided against the 12 week arm workout, I think it might interfere with other workouts. I’ll work with that above program though, thanks.
Back and core is somthing I plan to hit hard this summer.

btw: I’m currently at 2 Olympic lift sessions but I’m switching to 3. The thing is, the leg training isnt that intense at my olympic lift gym IMO. Will it be a bad thing that I’m not rly training that heavy? Do you think I should add in a leg day following one of my O-lift training days?

If you really wanted to increae STRENGTH in the legs to aid in your lifting…then I would suggest that now you measure your vertical jump (for record use)…and then at the end of every Olympic lift session…do 4 sets of 8 - 12 reps of Plyometric Squat Jumps…

Where I play rugby I often struggle with squats as I ruptured my Cruciate Ligaments a while ago…I still do them…but progress is alot slower that it used to be…

These Squat Jumps have helped with Strength to no end…especially explosive power.

Definatly recommend this exercise.

Let me know how progress goes.