Upper Body Workout

Simple Upper Body Workout Routine


This is about a simple upper body workout routine that I alternate every other gym visit.  Basically I do one set of five different exercises (a circuit), moving through all of the exercises until I reach the first one.  I then do a second set, and finally a third set.  Every set is on 10 repetitions, and I adjust my intensity so that I’m usually failing between repetition 5 and 10 on the third set.

I try to alternate the exercises between muscle groups so that each muscle group has time to rest before I move on to an exercise in a similar group.  For upper body, I tend to move between abs and arms.  I also always start my visit to the gym with a 2 mile run to get my heart rate up.  With a simple 5 exercise x 3 sets x 10 reps routine and a short run, you can easily spend an hour at the gym.

I note the intensity of each exercise I do in my phone and record it on a spreadsheet when I get back to my computer.  This way I can track progress as I go.  In my other life, I’m a data geek, so this stuff is important to me.  I want to see statistical progress in my fitness adventures.

The following is a list of the exercises I do in one of my circuits for upper body work out on odd days:

  • Bench Presses – Lay on a flat bench and push a barbell up towards the ceiling.  This works your pecs and upper arms.  Be sure to vary your hand stance to work different muscle groups.  Increase intensity by increasing the weight.
  • Crunches on an Inclined Bench – Don’t do a full sit up yet.  Just raise your body about a third of the way through a full sit up.  This works your upper abs.  Increase the incline until maximum and then add weight.  I usually carry a disc weight flat across my chest while inclined to add weight.
  • Bicep Curls – This mostly works your biceps, but can also work your forearm and pecs depending on your form. Increase intensity by increasing the weight.
  • Sit Ups on an Inclined Bench – Follow through and touch your elbows to your knees.  This works your lower abs and pelvis.  Be sure not to hold your hands behind your head, because that can cause neck injuries.  Add weight by holding a disc weight.
  • Tricep Curls – Lay on a flat bench and hold a single weight above your head.  Push it towards the ceiling and then bring it back down.  This works your triceps and forearms.  Increase intensity by increasing the weight.

If you’re unsure about how to do one or more of the exercises above, just contact me and I can help you get your bearings.  I will be posting videos about how each one works at some point.  I need to see what the rules are about cameras in the gym I go to.  A quick video search on Google gets some pretty great results as well.

These workouts should work for just about anyone at any level.  You should be able to adjust your weight to increase or decrease the difficulty of the specific exercise you’re doing.  Even if you just started trying to be fit, you can start with one pound weights and move forward from there.  Everyone has to start somewhere.