Muscle & Fitness

Upper Body Muscle

Curated By Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S.

If you have all the time in the world, building muscle and strength is simple: Do sets of heavy exercises, with plenty of rest in between. But real life isn’t that simple. And sometimes, you need a quality upper-body pump in 30 minutes.

That’s when I love to go to back-chest supersets. This training style has us alternating a back exercise and a chest exercise, done back-to-back, followed by a quick rest period. And doing 2- 3 supersets like this can push you to your limits. It does so smartly, though: You’re building two large muscle groups (your lats and your pectorals) evenly, while also stoking your metabolism and blasting calories. And you’re doing it time-efficiently.

Try the back-chest superset workout right here to get a sample of how good the upper body pump can be. You can do this workout 2-3 times a week; throw in some squats, deadlifts, or a run on other days, and you’ll be building muscle, burning fat, and building a killer physique.


Half-Iso Incline Row

Half-Iso Incline Row


One underrated rule for back-chest supersets: Always start with the back exercise. This will insure your physique stays in good balance, and protect your shoulders too.

Aim to do these rows with your bench set to a 30-degree incline, and focus on squeezing your shoulder blades as you row up. Do 8-10 reps per arm.

Paused Incline Bench Press

Paused Incline Bench Press


As soon as you finish your rows, flip over so your back is on the same incline bench, dumbbells over your shoulders.

Keep your abs tight as you do this one; there’s underrated core work being done. Do 10-12 reps, then rest 60-90 seconds. Do 3 sets.


Elevated Plank Row Hold

Elevated Plank Row Hold


We’ll start our second superset by blasting our lats and midback, and rocking our abs too. Get in position, then row up. Hold this position for 30 seconds, focusing on keeping hips and shoulders square while in the hold.

Then lower. Do 1 rep on each side (yes, it’ll be enough).

Single-Arm Press

Single-Arm Press


As soon as you’ve done your reps there, flip onto your back on the bench, a dumbbell held in your right arm.

Lower it to your chest, then pause; tighten your abs as you do this. Press up. Do 10-12 reps per arm, then rest 60-90 seconds. Repeat for 3 sets.


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Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S.

Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., is a certified trainer with more than 10 years of training experience. He’s logged training time with NFL athletes and track athletes.

His current training regimen includes weight training, HIIT conditioning, and yoga.

Ebenezer has had multiple prestigious positions including serving as a sports and tech columnist for the New York Daily News.

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