This Upper-Body Workout Is All You Need to Build Strong Arms and Shoulders

This Upper-Body Workout Is All You Need to Build Strong Arms and Shoulders

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Matthew Kelly

If you want to work your arms, back, and chest at the gym (or at home!), look no further than this six-exercise upper-body workout that’ll get you in, out, and feeling strong in no time. This upper-body gym workout is structured in supersets, which means you’ll alternate between two exercises that work separate muscle groups. Because the first muscle group gets a break when you’re doing the second exercise, you can blast through this workout with minimal rest, which saves time and keeps your heart rate up.

You can do supersets in any workout, but today we’re focusing on your upper body. If you want to be able to do push-ups for days or carry shopping bags (and everything else) more easily, you’ll need to strengthen your upper body. This routine is a great place to start — and it’s more than just an “arm day” workout. In just six moves, this comprehensive upper-body workout targets your chest, triceps, biceps, shoulders, and back, and includes a little bit of sneaky core-strengthening work, too.

All you really need is a set of dumbbells, so you can do this upper-body workout at the gym or at home, as long as you have some weights. Ready? Check out the full workout below, and get ready to work.

Upper-Body Workout For Gym or Home

Equipment needed: You’ll need a set of medium-weight dumbbells. Beginners, try five to 10 pounds. Advanced exercisers, go with 10 or 15 pounds. (Here’s a guide on how to choose the right weight.) You’ll also need a large-loop resistance band and a place to do pull-ups. (But don’t worry if you don’t have the latter two. We’ll offer an alternate exercise.)

Directions: Start with a warmup, such as this upper-body warmup. This workout should be completed in supersets, taking little to no rest in between each exercise. For example, in superset one, you’ll do a set of dumbbell bench presses immediately followed by a set of band-assisted pull-ups. Take no more than 60 seconds of rest after you complete the superset, then repeat. Once you’re done with three sets of both exercises, you’ll move on to the next superset. As always, listen to your body and take rest and hydrate as needed.

Superset 1: Do 3 sets

  • Exercise 1: Dumbbell bench press: 15 reps
  • Exercise 2: Banded assisted pull-up: 8 reps

Superset 2: Do 3 sets

  • Exercise 1: Overhead shoulder press: 12 reps
  • Exercise 2: Single-arm row: 12 reps per arm

Superset 3: Do 3 sets

  • Exercise 1: Biceps curl: 12 reps
  • Exercise 2: Overhead triceps extension: 12 reps

Keep reading for a detailed explanation of how to do each of these upper-body exercises.

— Additional reporting by Lauren Mazzo and Maggie Ryan