T Nation

Upper Body Only Training

Im unable to train my lower body for the next few months due to an injury sustained at work.

Therefore i can only train my upper body but im wanting to bulk until april, with no lower body training is it possible to make upper body gains?

Im thinking of doing upper body workouts with compounds only, rows, dips, bench variations, chins, overhead presses and alternating between horizontal and vertcial plane each workout, with workouts either 48-72hrs apart.

Could i simply use one of Chad Waterbury’s routines like ABBH that has seperate lower and upper body training days and just complete the upper body workouts?

Or would something like this be ok


Wide Dips 4x6
chins 4x6
overhead press 4x6


bench press 5x10
rows 5x10

what would you do in my situation?

Sure, you can make gains. Some of us can ONLY train upper body. Try to listen to your body and not overtrain. It’s easy to do so when you are specializing on just the upper body. Make sure your joints get the recuperation they need. When training only the upper body, it REALLY sucks to get an injury.

What’s the injury?

thanks for the response

what about a routine?

is what i outlined above ok

Bench,chins,overhead presses, rows

I’m in your same exact situation and doing exactly what you suggested

I reinjured my back at work so i’m basicly doing only the upper body portion of ABBH right now and things are going good.

Thank god I can start deadlifting soon and hopefully light squats in the next few weeks

I smashed my ankle playing football and was relegated to upper body only training for 5 months until I got off the crutches then the cane. I made huge gains (for me) and improved my max bench from 275 to 305 (not herculian but I was happy).

I trained chest and back on monday/thursdays and shoulders/arms on tuesday/friday.

Maybe a little much but I enjoyed myself.

One exercise that I really reccomend is the seated clean. As well as the chins/bench reccomended by the other guy.

One exercise you can try is putting a board across a squat rack, lying belly down and rowing. The legless bent-over row. I know they talk about it in one of the articles on here but I’ll be jiggered if I can remember what they called it.

Hope that helps. Good luck with the injury.


I would just train every other day but train different strengths. One day go for max effort for a pressing and pulling exercise, then keep you assitance work around 6-8 reps. Next day do speed/power with higher rep rep, 10 and above, could even use something like superman sets like CT suggests. Then the next day i would train for purely hypertrophy but do one exercise for chest and back in the 4-6 rep range, then assitance work for 8 and above.
And you would just rotate these days on a every other day schedule.

Actually monday/wed/fri split would probably be better, and take the weekends off. I would focus on heavy benches, rows, overhead presses and chins for your main exercises and use dumbbell presses and rows, machine presses and rows, any work for arms and any shoulder raises for assistance. Eat alot and this should blow up your upper body and make you hella strong.


I damaged ligaments in my ankles after a nasty fall at work and tore a hamstring. Doh!

this kind of thing binford?


superset of
8x3 dips
8x3 chins (underhand)

3x8 close grip bench


superset of
5x10 bench press
5x10 chest supported row


superset of
4x6 dips
4x6 pull ups (overhand)

3x8 overhead press

shoulders would get hammered with the above maybe.