Are you interested in knowing how you can build upper body strength and have a better body shape?

Have you spent a lot of time in the gym doing biceps workouts and triceps curls without a result? You are in the right place to do it right.

How it works?

If you are going to build muscle, this means an increase in the cross-sectional area of the muscle, which reflects an increase of the contractile proteins. To accomplish this, you need to combine relatively high to moderate loads, repetitions, and rest intervals to cause muscle damage.

By the end, it will generate enough stimuli for an adaptation like an increase in circulating testosterone and growth hormones, which leads to increased protein synthesis and decreased protein degradation. (1,2)

How to train yourself?

1) Warm-Up:

Warm-up is an essential element of a training session, which consists of preparing the body for the demands of the upcoming workout. In particular, to increase muscle temperature, causing contractions to be more forceful accompanied with quicker relaxations, increase blood delivery to working muscles. The result is more oxygen extraction and an increase in the joint’s range of motion. (3)

Training your upper body and fitness performance together

2) Reps and sets:

Beginner 1-3 sets / 8-12 reps / rest between sets: 30 sec to 1.5 min

Intermediate >3 sets / 6-12 reps / rest between sets: 30 sec to 1.5 min

Advanced >3 sets / 8-12 reps / rest between sets: 30 sec to 1.5 min

You should avoid too much rest with a max of 2:30 minutes between brakes, because this may decrease the amount of testosterone and growth hormones released (2).

Exercises program design

The superset system is a type of program design that is popular among bodybuilders and may be very beneficial for muscular building (3). You can do this workout system without weights or machines.

The system uses two exercises performed in the rapid succession of one another. There are multiple variations of the superset system; the first includes performing two exercises for the same muscle group.

For example, an individual performs shoulder dumbbell press immediately followed by push-ups to fatigue muscles of the chest. The second variation consists of performing two exercises of the same muscle group and then antagonist muscle groups. (4)

Combining workouts with breathing

To maximize the efforts of your body, try to combine the workouts with respiratory training. Training your breathing muscles works just like training any other muscle group using resistance. With greater resistance, your muscle can distribute the oxygen from your lungs to your working limbs.

Try breathing training that is tailored to the needs of your body. The breathing trainer measures your expiratory and inspiratory strength along with your vital capacity. With complete insight into your physical condition, you can get to know your body through real-time data. To learn more, visit

Repetition tempo

Repetition tempo refers to the speed with which each repetition is performed. The pace of your workout represents an important variable you can manipulate to achieve specific training objectives, such as muscle building.

Building muscle is best achieved with a moderate tempo.

An example of a biceps workout can be: 2-second eccentric action, 0-second isometric hold, and 2- second concentric contraction (2/0/2).

Weekly sessions planning?

You perform muscle building training for different body parts in what we call a split-routine system. The system involves training separate body parts on separate days.

This way, you can work out on different days, achieve greater performance for each muscle group, and adequately recover between training sessions (7,8,9).

Here are examples of several different split routines:

Routine Day(s) - Body Parts Trained


Monday: Chest, shoulders, triceps

Thursday: Back, biceps, legs


Monday: Chest, shoulders, triceps

Wednesday: Legs

Friday: Back, biceps


Monday and Thursday: Chest, shoulders, triceps

Tuesday and Friday: Back, biceps, legs


Monday: Chest

Tuesday: Legs

Wednesday: Back

Thursday: Shoulders

Friday: Arms


Monday and Friday: Chest, shoulders, triceps

Tuesday and Saturday: Legs

Wednesday and Sunday: Back, biceps

Beginner: 2-3 sessions

Intermediate: 3-4 sessions

Advanced: >4 sessions

7 exercises to train upper body and build strength

These are upper body exercises that will target your chest, shoulders, and triceps.

Reps: 8

Sets: 4

Rest between sets: 1min

Tempo: 2 sec/0 sec/2 sec

1. Machine Seated Chest Press (Chest)

1. Sit upright, making sure back is rested on the backrest, both hands holding the horizontal position handles and close to your shoulders, elbows bent.

2. Push both handles forward to a straight arm position in front of your chest.

3. Bending at the elbows, slowly return to starting position.

2. Barbell Bench Press (Chest)

1. Lie on a flat bench and begin by holding a barbell above your chest with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width.

2. Slowly lower the barbell to the middle of your chest and then press the barbell back up to the same start position until your arms are straight.

3. Cable lateral raise (Shoulders)

1. Stand upright holding the cables with your hands crossed and your feet hip-width apart.

2. Raise the handles up and outward to shoulder height, keeping your arms straight or with a slight bend at the elbows.

3. Lower the handles returning to starting position.

4. Barbell Upright Row (Shoulders)

1. Stand upright holding the bar with a closed grip, with your arms straight and palms facing back.

2. Raise the bar to just below your chin, keeping your elbows above your hands, bar close to your body.

3. Return to starting position.

5. Dumbbell Front Raise (Shoulders)

1. Stand with a dumbbell in each hand, with feet shoulder-width apart.

2. Lift the weight in one hand in front of you in a wide arc until it is slightly higher than shoulder height. Pause, and then lower the weight while simultaneously lifting the weight in your other hand, so that both arms are in motion at the same time.

3. Keep your elbows slightly bent at all times.

6. Triceps Extension Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extension (Triceps)

1. Lay back on a flat bench and hold a dumbbell with both hands palms facing up.

2. Start by holding the dumbbell with your arms straight upwards.

3. While keeping your elbows still, lower the dumbbell until it is behind your head.

4. Once the dumbbell goes just past your head, use your triceps to lift the dumbbell back to the starting position.

7. Cable Rope Triceps Extension (Triceps)

1. Grasp a rope attached to a high cable pulley.

2. Your forearms should be parallel to the floor. With your elbows against your sides, push the rope downwards as far as possible.

3. Pause and return to starting position.


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2. Buresh, R., Berg, K., & French, J. (2009). The Effect of Resistive Exercise Rest Interval on Hormonal Response, Strength, and Hypertrophy With Training. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 23(1), 62-71.

3. Tan B. Manipulating resistance training program variables to optimize maximum strength in men: a review. J Strength Cond Res 1999;13:289–304.

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