Most men bring the wrong approach to training their upper half: Whether it’s defaulting to the same exercises, not working hard enough on them, or completely overlooking lower body moves—yes, some of them can help build your top half, too—training wrong can lead to muscle imbalance and injury.
Another consequence? Wasted time and effort, which can hold you back from the results you want.
So train smart instead. We’ve made it easy for you with The Men’s Health Ultimate Upper Body, a 12-week program that supersizes your chest, back, arms, and shoulders that I created for my celebrity clients when they land a big-budget role and need to add slabs of lean muscle—fast. These are the exact workouts that have turned even the lankiest, softest guys into big-screen Greek Gods. And by exact, I mean exact: I created the program, and then gave it to Men’s Health and one of my A-listers on the same day.
While I can’t reveal many of my clients’ names, I can tell you that I work daily with a long roster of athletes like Klay Thompson and Jordan Bell, and models like Kate Upton. So I’m in the business of getting people into the best shape of their lives. These 5 exercises are pulled directly from my Ultimate Upper Body program. Use them to sculpt the muscles that get you noticed.
These five exercises below are a preview of the workouts. Try this program and you won’t just work harder—you’ll work smarter. These specific moves all hammer your chest, back, shoulders, arms, and abs in the safest, most effective way possible.
- BAND PULL-APART
The band pull-apart is a favorite exercise of mine because it’s super low load and doesn’t put a lot of stress on your joints. Thatmeans you can do a high volume of them at one time.
The exercise hits your upper back muscles, and as a result, helps counteract all the sitting people do during the day and all the pressing (ahem, benching!) most men do at the gym. So it’ll improve your posture and help stabilize your shoulder joints so you can lift heavier weights in just about every other upper-body exercise.
How to do it: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a resistance band overhand, with your arms straight out in front of your chest and parallel to the floor. Keeping your arms straight, slowly pull your hands back and out to your sides. The band should be tight and touching your chest. Pause, then reverse the move back to the starting position.