Your Upper Body Redefined
By Rachel Crocker | Photography by Gregory James | Model: Natalie Waples
Want a head-turning back and biceps? This movement-specific plan will do it!
There are three topics of discussion that are guaranteed to cause a heated debate: religion, politics and the right way to train.
While many hardcore lifters are dedicated to one fitness method, many seasoned trainers and competitors adhere to ‘periodisation’, meaning they switch up their training variables to arouse new muscular growth. While this term is usually used in reference to overall goals – for example, training for six weeks with the purpose of increasing endurance, followed by six weeks of power training – weaving techniques in and out of your program will work equally well for keeping your muscles in peak form.
What you’re holding is a starting point: a workout that is simple in design, but unique in that it targets your back and biceps – the pull muscle of your upper body. (Your abdominals are also another ‘pull’ group of muscles, so an option is to round out this routine with some crunches and planks.)
For the next month, do this pull workout twice per week on non-consecutive days, and pair it up with two push workouts (for your chest, triceps and delts) as well as lower-body work throughout the week. Try this routine on Mondays and Thursdays, an upper-body push workout on Tuesdays and Fridays, and a lower-body routine on Wednesdays and Saturdays for a well-rounded fitness agenda. After four weeks, revert back to straight sets or total-body routines for another period of time, and continue alternating.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
For your first upper-body pull routine of the week, aim for three to four sets of 10 to 12 reps per exercise, resting 30 to 45 seconds between sets. During your second weekly pull workout, increase the weight so that you can only get out eight reps of each exercise, reduce your amount of sets to two or three, and increase your rest to 60 to 120 seconds. Remember to work both sides evenly!
Barbell Hang Clean
TARGET MUSCLES: trapezius, anterior deltoids, gluteus maximus
Hold a barbell with an overhand grip and lower into a half-squat position. Explode up onto the balls of your feet as you row the bar up toward your neck, then quickly flip your wrists to point your elbows ahead of you, bringing the bar into a ‘racked’ position as you sink back into a squat. Straighten your legs to stand, then reverse to return to the start.
Tip: This is an advanced move; if you don’t feel comfortable, perform an upright row instead.
Barbell preacher curl at bench
TARGET MUSCLES: brachioradialis, biceps brachii
Place your chest against a preacher curl bench and let your upper arms drape over the front. Grab a barbell with a shoulder-width grip, palms facing up, and curl the weight up until you feel it in the muscle.
Tip: Lower the bar until your arms are nearly straight.
For the full article and workout, check out the latest issue of Oxygen in all good newsagents, or you can click here to subscribe.
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