strength training: upper body workout

In looking over my posts, I see that I have never mentioned upper body strength training.   This accurately reflects my bias.  I believe lower body one legged strength and core strength are most important.  I do upper body work as well, but it is not my main focus.

Below is the workout I did yesterday.  This was a moderate intensity strength training session involving sets of 8-10RM.  Rest between sets was less than 2 minutes.  I often pair the pushing and pressing exercises (do my sets of pulling exercises while “resting” between sets of pressing exercises).  For most of the exercises I performed 3 sets.

This is a pretty standard example of the type of upper body exercises I do.

  • feet elevated pushups
  • wide grip assisted pullups
  • one arm incline bd bench
  • db rows
  • db flys
  • single leg one arm rows

You’ll notice that there are equal parts pulling and pressing exercises.  In the same way I incorporate two legged and one legged exercises in my lower body work, I use both two armed and one armed pulling and pressing movements in every upper body workout.   While one armed pulling movements like the dumb bell row are pretty common in lifting programs, people often forget about one armed pressing.  One armed presses are great because your core is active in stabilizing against the rotational forces of an asymmetric load.

3 comments to strength training: upper body workout

  • One thing Dan John and Mike Boyle / others talk about is not only balancing push/pull but having vertical push/pull and horizontal push/pull.

    You have a nice push/pull balance, but a lot “horizontally” moreso than vertically. I should probably figure this out as well, I’ve been doing both TRX inverted bodyweight row (ho pull), TRX atomic pushup / pike (ho push), KB / Olympic plate get-ups (vertical static press into side plane static press actually), but not a lot of vertical pull which means I’m missing something in my training (pull-ups).

    But overall looking good. I know I haven’t done as much upperbody work as may have been useful, but actually practicing the Olympic snatch with a barbell and doing overhead squats / front squats have been hitting the mid-/upper-back.

  • You know, one thing I’ve found (anecdotally) is that horiztonal and vertical pulling tend to overlap decently. Whenever I wind up doing pull-ups or chin-ups there winds up being a more horizontal component at the end-range (where you get your chest to the bar). This is less so with rows, but I’ve recently become more of the opinion that it’s not as important to balance horizontal/vertical within a given workout, so long as you have some components of both within a given program.

  • I attempt various pulling angles during the week. I do some sort of pullup variation on every upper body day. I may not perfectly balanced but I know that I did db rows during this week also. Additionally, I try to balance two arm and one arm varieties of pulling.

    I’m finding the inverted row to be a ton of fun. It is surprisingly difficult to get your chest the whole way up to the bar.
    This is a great assistance lift for the end range of the pullup variations!.

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