Looking to build muscle mass quickly? Want to get that upper body that turns heads whenever you go?
If so, you must be paying attention to some of the top training techniques and exercises available for the upper body muscles.
Too many people get caught up in the trap of going to the gym and performing the same bland workout routine over and over again. They do the same bench press, the same bent over row, the same shoulder press, and so on.
All they try and do is add more weight over time. And while that is one approach to help you grow, it is definitely not the most effective approach. To see even better results, you must make sure that you are continually changing it up, challenging your muscles in new and innovative ways.
Ready to discover some smart strategies to employ? Give any one of these 6 tips a try.
#1 Reverse Grip Bench Press
The first smart tip to remember as you go about your upper body program is to crank your bench press up a notch by reversing your grip. You can also check out my article on Bench Pressing Tips.
Don’t be surprised if when you do this you see a significant decline in the total amount of weight you can lift – this is all normal and natural.
The most important point is that you feel it in your triceps as they are now directing the movement to a much larger degree.
For a real challenge, perform two sets of reverse grip bench press to fatigue and then go back and perform your single set of straight bench press.
Since your triceps will be so tired by this point, you’re going to find that your chest now is doing more of the work.
This is a perfect way to bust through a chest plateau where you simply can’t add any more weight to the bar. Once you go back to your normal straight sets after doing this, you should find you’re that much stronger. If you’re very new to the gym you might want to check out beginner’s workout guide.
#2 Close Grip Bent Over Row For Mass Building Workout
The next exercise to add into your workout protocol is the close grip bent over row. While the wide grip bent over row is going to target the deltoids and traps to quite a high degree, when you close your grip, you’ll be hitting the fibers running along the mid back to a much greater extent.
This is excellent for really bringing out maximum back definition, while also helping to keep your total strength gains more balanced.
Few people devote as much total energy to back training as they should. You need to really make sue that you are performing exercises on as many planes of movement as possible in order to see optimal results.
Remember to balance out your horizontal pulling exercises with vertical pulling exercises as well to avoid suffering from any degree of muscular imbalance.
#3 Single Arm Lat Pull-Down
Speaking of pull-downs, this brings us to the next technique to consider trying – single arm lat pull-downs. The great thing about this technique is that it is going to eliminate any possible chance of one arm taking over the movement.
When doing traditional pull-downs if one side of the body is much stronger than the other, it can easily overcompensate for this weaker side.
By doing the single arm lat pull-down however, you get around this. Each arm will be responsible for it’s own weight, thus there is no ‘cheating’ involved.
When doing this exercise, make sure that you are always focusing on the mind muscle control as you do it. It’s very easy to let the biceps take over, pulling that handle down with all your might.
#4 The Pause Technique When Doing Mass Building Exercises
Adding a pause technique to your upper body exercises is yet another way to see faster progress and add more of a challenge without adding any additional weight. If your extremly skinny you can check out this article on how to build mass.
You can do this on virtually any upper body exercise, however it tends to work best on the bicep curl, bench press, or overhead tricep extension.
What you will do for this protocol is perform a few fluid reps as normal and then on the next 3-4 reps, pause halfway up to the top for a second or two.
Keep the tension on the muscle the entire time and remember to breathe as you perform it. You will feel great fatigue developing as you add those pauses into the picture.
Then once you’re finished with the pause reps, try and crank out another 3-4 regular reps once again. These reps are going to be a real challenge, so make sure that you are focusing on maintaining good form.
If you can only do two reps, so be it. Never let poor form take over.
This technique is going to be very fatiguing of whatever muscle group you are performing, therefore you will want to make certain that you are doing it towards the end of the workout when you don’t have another 2-4 exercises to get through.
#5 Cable Lateral Raises
If you are always doing your lateral raises with dumbbells, it might be time to give them a break and think about using some cables instead. Cable resistance is great because it’ll keep a constant level of tension on the muscles at all times.
Basically, while with the dumbbell the resistance lightens as you reach the top of the movement, with the cable, there’s no let up. This can promote greater strength gains and when you do eventually go back to using a dumbbell again, you might find that you can get to the next strength level up.
Just be sure when doing these that you are performing them in a very slow and fluid movement pattern in order to avoid allowing momentum to take over and avoid going up much higher than 90 degrees or you could place too much strain on your shoulders.
#6 Twisting Curl For The Mass Building Code
Finally, you should also explore the twisting curl. For this one, start with the dumbbells in a hammer curl position. Curl the weight up and as you reach the top, twist as much as you can, trying to get the little finger to touch your chest. You can also check out mass building tips here.
As you do this twist, really squeeze the bicep muscle as you move to the top of the bicep curl position. Pause at the very top so that you can fully focus on this position and then start to lower back down again.
On the way back down, untwist so you move back into the hammer curl position.
This is a great technique for working more of the bicep muscle fibers and bringing out that bicep peak.
So don’t let your upper body training grow stale any longer. By taking the time to learn some advanced training techniques and new exercises, then applying them to your workout program, you can bust through any plateau you might be facing and start to build muscle fast again.
Just remember to only add one or two of these at a time – not all at once. You want to shock your body, not overload it to the point of overtraining. Alternating between each of these techniques over time will ensure you can keep up with the new stimulus that you’re providing.
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