You can gain upper body mass with weightlifting super-set workouts that are progressive in nature. Increasing the resistance against muscles will break down muscle tissue to be rebuilt with more muscle tissue. The American College of Sports Medicine advises high volume training in order for muscle cells to hypertrophy, or grow in size. Specifically, complete five to six sets of six to 10 reps per for muscle hypertrophy, as indicated by the American Council on Exercise.
A progressive super-set type of upper body workout allows you to work one muscle group while the other recovers, enabling you to increase the weight for subsequent sets. You will need to complete a set of flat bench presses then a set of lateral pull downs. Alternatively, you can do negative sets with a training partner. Negative or eccentric training sets training is when you forcefully resist the weight as your muscle lengthens, requiring your partner to assist in lifting most of the weight to return it to starting position. When you do eccentric training, you lift heavier weights compared to a regular concentric, or muscle shortening, lift. Take two to three minutes of rest between rounds for both types of workouts.
Muscle is a very adaptive tissue. When you stimulate muscle cells with progressively heavier weights or more difficult training methods, the cells lay more muscle protein down within the muscle cell walls. It is the increase in your muscle’s number and size of contractile components, made up of protein, which lead to the growth of your overall upper body muscles.
In order for your upper body muscles to continue to gain mass, you must constantly vary your upper body training methods. For instance, while you should complete most of your sets using a six to 10 rep scheme, you must occasionally lift heavier weights for three to five reps increasing your strength. Stronger muscles enable you to lift progressively heavier weights, leading to increased muscle mass.
It is difficult to build muscle mass when your body is drained from lots of aerobic exercise and from cutting calories. Do the minimum cardio for heart health, 30 minutes of moderate intensity like a brisk walk or easy jog four days of the week. You should not be on a calorie restriction diet and you should consume 1g of protein per pound of body weight per day.
Chest and Back Super Sets
Pair the following exercises using the super set method -- flat bench press and one arm dumbbell row, incline bench press with lateral pull downs and incline dumbbell flies with seated rows.
Bicep and Triceps Super Sets
For your arms, complete one set of each exercise in the super set -- hammer dumbbell curls with triceps rope press downs, EZ barbell curls with one arm triceps extensions and dumbbell curls with triceps dips.
Shoulders and Abs Super Sets
Hold a weight plate for weighted abdominal exercises to build mass for your abs. Pair abs with shoulders -- barbell shoulder presses with crunches on a decline bench, barbell upright rows with seated oblique twists on the floor and dumbbell lateral raises with full sit ups on a decline bench.
Consult with your doctor prior to starting an exercise program.
- American College of Sports Medicine: Progressive Models in Resistance Training for Healthy Adults
- Personal Trainer Manual; American Council on Exercise
- Exrx.net: Exercise & Muscle Directory