Complex training plans and plateau-busting protocols have their place in any man’s lifting programme, but there’s also much to be said for keeping things simple – especially if you’re not long returned to the gym.

This six-move session – from January cover model and bulk ambassador Alex Crockford – targets every major muscle group in your upper body. It can also be completed in a mere half an hour, making it the perfect workout if you’re short on time and/or energy, or simply want to add some variety to your usual body-part split routine.

After a quick warm-up – to get your muscles and central nervous system primed for the work to come – you’re going to hit three to four sets each of dumbbell chest press, dumbbell shoulder press, lat pull-down and seated row, before finishing your arms off with a biceps/triceps superset.

While the workout is relatively quick, that doesn’t mean you can rush the reps. Keep every movement focus and controlled, and leave your ego at the door. Pushing out ten quality reps on the bench, with a lighter weight, is going to improve strength and size far better than half reps of a weight you haven’t got full control over.  

The Warm-up

  • Rowing Machine x 5 mins
  • High Plank x 30 secs
  • Press-Up x 15
  • Dead Bug x 15

The Upper-Body Workout

Hit The Gym With This 30 Minute Upper Body Workout | Men's Fitness UK

1. DB Chest Press

Reps: 10-12
Rest:
60 secs
Sets:
3-4

  • Lie on a flat bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height.
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor and your back against the bench.
  • Press the weights directly above your head, but don’t lock your elbows at the top.
  • Slowly lower the weights back to the start, flaring your elbows out to the sides as you do so.

Hit The Gym With This 30 Minute Upper Body Workout | Men's Fitness UK

2. DB Shoulder Press

Reps: 10-12
Rest:
60 secs
Sets:
3-4

  • Set the back of the bench to vertical and take a seat.
  • Grab a dumbbell in each hand and position the weights on your thighs.
  • Now ‘kick’ the dumbbells up so you’re holding them at chin height – with elbows out to the sides.
  • Brace your core and glutes, avoid arching your lower back too much, and press the weights overhead.
  • Once arms are extended, lower the weights back to chin height and repeat.

Hit The Gym With This 30 Minute Upper Body Workout | Men's Fitness UK

3. Lat Pull-Down

Reps: 10-12
Rest:
60 secs
Sets:
3-4

  • Sit at the pull-down station and take a wide, overhand grip on the bar.
  • Look forward, retract your shoulders blades and keep your torso upright.
  • Use your lats to pull the bar down the chest height. Avoid leaning back to aid the movement (drop the weight if you find yourself doing so).
  • Squeeze your lats at the bottom of the move, then return the bar with control.

Hit The Gym With This 30 Minute Upper Body Workout | Men's Fitness UK

4. Seated Row

Reps: 10-12
Rest:
60 secs
Sets:
3-4

  • Sit with a flat back and slight bend in your knees.
  • Grab the D-handle attachment with a neutral grip.
  • Sit back to get tension in the cable before you begin.
  • Pull the handle to your sternum, keeping upper-body movement to a minimum.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together, then return the cable with control.

Hit The Gym With This 30 Minute Upper Body Workout | Men's Fitness UK

5a. Cable Biceps Curl

Reps: 10-12
Rest:
Straight into 5b
Sets:
3-4

  • Hold the cable bar with your hands shoulder-width apart and palms facing forward.
  • Keeping your elbows close to your sides, and without leaning back, curl the bar up to your chest.
  • Squeeze your biceps hard, then lower the bar.

Hit The Gym With This 30 Minute Upper Body Workout | Men's Fitness UK

5b. Cable Triceps Push-Down

Reps: 10-12
Rest:
60 secs, then repeat 5a
Sets:
3-4

  • Stand in front of the cable, with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Grab the bar with both hands and pull it down until forearms are just above parallel to the floor.
  • Slightly lean forward from the hips and push the bar straight down, keeping elbows locked in and focusing on the contraction in your triceps.
  • Pause for a second at the bottom, then return your forearms to the starting position.

 

Like That? Try This: The Chest, Arms, Core Workout For Upper-Body Muscle

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