Upper Body Bodybuilding Workout – Garage Strength

Upper Body Bodybuilding Workout

Getting a massive pump in the upper body is awesome AF!

Over the last twenty weeks, we have been traveling for eleven of those weeks. Been to Tokyo, Uzbekistan, Mexico, and Eugene, Oregon. That travel has us feeling tubbish and sluggish. Normally we feel a little bit more muscular, leaner, and holding tension in our muscles.

This feeling led us to make the decision to take on a really blood-filled upper body workout that smashes the shoulders and biceps to get a grand pump to feel that strong strong pump. 

1. Proper Warm-Up

The first thing we want to do is banded reverse flys and banded tricep kickbacks. We want to hit the reverse flies for two to three sets for fifteen to twenty reps to get a nice pump in the upper back. We want to get the deltoids and rhomboids rolling. We want to hit the banded tricep kickbacks for two to three sets of fifteen to twenty reps as well to get some juice into the elbows and get the thyroxine moving. The key is to do both movements and all sets back to back to back to back.

This will help the body feel a little less stiff when hitting the workout.

2. Compound Movement

One of our favorite things when chasing a big-time pump is doing super slow eccentrics with a compound movement. In this case, we want to hit a six-second eccentric on the incline bench, rest thirty seconds, and go right into chest-supported curls.

One of the biggest factors with the long, slow eccentric is it helps the body have better tension and feel a better pump. We want to do the incline bench to create bigger anterior delts; the movement will also train medial delts in the upper chest as well. This is where the focus needs to be when working through the full eccentric: recruiting through the delts! Four sets of three reps with a solid slow count with the eccentric will do the trick. And as always, explode through on the concentric portion of the lift.

It also isn’t a bad idea while working through the sets on the incline bench to add weight, going heavier, potentially pushing the triple as heavy as possible. Adding a drop set afterward that goes until failure is a decent idea to get that swole swoler.

Now as we said earlier, in-between sets of the incline press we will do chest-supported curls. What we love about chest supported curls is that it is almost in an overhead position. Think about being on a cable crossover machine, the way the shoulder is, the point of flexion is essentially overhead.

Performing the chest-supported curls we want the arms to hang loose to really try to recruit in the bicep. Elbow flexion is a big thing. Also, the chest being supported makes it harder to cheat. We also want to say that cheating on curls isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s actually okay here and there. But in this case, no dice. Aim to get ten reps or more do get a decent pump rolling before resting about a minute before heading back over to the incline bench press with a slow six-second eccentric.

As an aside. Talking trash to friends in the gym is a must. It is a key component to making yourself feel better when getting a big pump. Putting other people down always makes you feel better about where you are existing currently (insert emoji indicating sarcasm, lol).

With that silly aside vocalized, we want to mention that a big factor, especially if anabolics aren’t being used, is that lifting heavy is a must. This means to push that triple nice and heavy. Afterward, strip the weight down and go in and rep it out using a short stroke with a huge focus on time under tension. Hitting eight to ten plus reps is substantial.

Do the same thing with the chest-supported curls by executing a drop set. Aim for twenty-five to thirty plus reps.

3. Pre Fatigue Between Pairings

So in between exercises when trying to get a monster pump, we will throw in a movement like a banded upright row with external rotation for two to three sets of ten to fifteen reps. See the thing is there isn’t a ton of tension but it will pre-fatigue the muscles we are trying to work on. We will get a little bit of bicep, rhomboid, upper back, and deltoids from the banded upright row banded extension.

The next movement pairing we want to get into is a backward military press. A lot of people sit on the military press where they are basically doing a high incline press. By putting the chest forward it forces the body to be extremely upright. Using dumbbells we can perform two to three sets of ten to twelve reps of the backward military press.

Because we want the biceps and shoulder lit up, the next movement we tackle is the trapbar drag curl. We want to aim to hit fifteen to seventeen reps.

The next in-between banded movement before the last pairing is a banded front raise. Again, we want to hit thirty to forty-five reps in two to three sets. As always, we love using PowerLastic bands at Garage Strength. The handles help us get great tension, stimulate series growth, and just make them way easier to use.

4. Penultimate Pairing

Having already tackled the movements that will make us strong strong, the penultimate pairing is a moment when we go after that dummy pump.

The last thing we are going to do here is the XPT-Cable Crossover. This machine is incredible. It is super versatile. It lets us get out and about, but it also lets us stay nice and confined if necessary. For starters, don’t be an idiot and have different weights on each side.

We like to do this specific pairing without any attachments, just flat holding the cables by the karabiners. Remember, we are training bize and upper shoulders so with this movement we want to hit more the rear dealt, rhomboid, and upper trap area which leads us to standing reverse flies.

The cool part with the pulleys is that there is no break at the top as we crossover the cables. This constant tension makes the targeted muscles light up immediately! Do two to three sets for ten to fifteen reps.

Let’s rest about twenty seconds and then grab the cables again with no attachment and perform cable hammer curls. We want to pull the cables almost right to the face for two to three sets of ten to fifteen reps.

Again, because we have the elbows elevated in an overhead position, the point of flexion will be tough. We need to think about training the three points of flexion. This movement is midrange to the upper period. The cable machine will also help provide constant tension to help lead to serious gainz, especially with the muscular tension at the top of the hold.

5. Finisher

Pick a movement that is relatively easy that isn’t super difficult, isn’t demanding of super coordination, but is something that can be performed mindlessly. In this case, we think doing standing barbell curls with an empty barbell for 100 reps is perfect. Don’t want to count to 100? Set a clock for two to three minutes and perform the movement for the duration of the clock.  


Here is the thing, we want to be the guy who is driving out of the gym and can barely put on their seatbelt. We want the pump to be that huge, the massive, that the body lets the mind know that the work was put in. Know that a ton of blood rushed into the targeted areas and the mind-muscle connection has been made.

At the very least, this workout will get ya yoked! Try it out and let us know how it goes.


Dane Miller is the owner and founder of Garage Strength Sports Performance. He works with a select handful of clients on building comprehensive programs for fitness and nutrition. Several times a year he leads a workshop for coaches, trainers, and fitness enthusiasts.

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