Building muscle is done primarily though confusing your muscles into growth. When you keep changing your sets, weights, exercises then your muscle grow to accommodate the changing stress of the workout.
One of my favorite ways to train the upper-body is using push-pull super-sets. Not only am I getting a complete upper-body work, but I’m saving a ton of time and maximizing my “training economy”.
But these aren’t your typical universal machine super-sets! Too many people get stuck in their training and perform the same movements week after week, and wonder why they’re not making progress or why they start to HATE going to the gym. Strength training doesn’t have to be boring, and once you start incorporating a variety of movements, your sessions not only become more productive, but you’ll actually start having FUN again and feel like you did when you bought your first barbell set.
With these super-sets, you are going to perform your upper-body pushing movement and then immediately work your upper-body pulling movement. Rest only after both movements have been completed.
Push Pull Supersets to Try
1)Ring dips or Parallel bar dips 3 x max reps
Dips are one of the best upper-body size developers, and ring dips are especially brutal! For these, stick with just your body for awhile and try to work up to 3 sets of 15+ reps.
– Towel barbell rows 3×8-12
These are an awesome variation for your grip and back, just be sure to keep a neutral spine and row into your lower abdomen. Sets of 8-12 will work fine here.
2) – One arm dumbbell bench 4×5-8
One arm dumbbell benches are not only a great unilateral upper-body pressing movement, but also an excellent core movement. Go heavy with these!
– One arm dumbbell row 4×12-20
High rep one arm rows, aka “kroc rows” made popular by champion powerlifter Matt Kroczaleski are great for building your grip, lats, and upperback (rhomboids,traps).
3) – Weighted push up series (divebomber + regular + hindu) x 3 sets
Wearing a ed vest or with heavy chains as resistane, perform 3-5 divebomber push ups, 3-5 regular push ups and then 3-5 hindu push ups. Great for upper-body strength endurance, shoulder stability, and core strength.
– Weighted recline rows 3×6-12
I prefer using a thick rope or tow straps for these for added range of motion (instead of a barbell), so just strap on some and pull away!
4) – Reverse hand over hand rope climb x 5-8
Set up like you’re about to do a tricep extension, but climb up your rope or tow straps, hand overhand and then back down. Repeat for 3-5 reps and be sure to maintain a forward lean to keep this movement very difficult.
– Recline rope climb x 5-8
Lay on your back and climb up hand over hand and then reverse the motion back down. Actively pull yourself in on every rep! Again, 5-8 of these up and down, then right back to the reverse rope climb.
Perform max rounds in 5-10 minutes.
5) – Handstand Push Ups x 10 / 8 / 6 / 4 / 2
Kick your feet up against a wall and press away! If you can’t do full handstand push ups, you can do half reps or hold the static position for 30 seconds.
– Mixed grip pull ups x 10 / 8 / 6 / 4 / 2
For these, you can add each set if you want, or just stay with one (might just be your own body) and try to complete the entire super-set as fast as possible – trying to beat your record the next time out.
So there you go, 5 different upper-body workouts that will each take 10 minutes or less while packing on muscle and getting you plain old strong. Give em a go and don’t be afraid to start making up your own super-sets. A little creativity and imagination can go a long way! Train Hard