Blitz your upper body with this classic push/pull formula for maximum muscle.

While push and pull sessions often occupy separate days, this workout combines the two to activate every muscle from the waist up.

The benefits of push/pull training are numerous, but chief among them is balance.

If you want a well-rounded physique, this method makes it very difficult to either overtrain, or overlook, certain areas.

Instead, each muscle gets its time in the spotlight – and by the end of this session your entire upper body will be singing (screaming) in perfect harmony… 

Take On This Dumbbell Only Upper Body Workout | Men's Fitness UK

1. DB Reverse Bent-Over Row

Reps: 12, 10, 8, 8, 8
Sets: 5
Rest: 60 secs

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a pair of dumbbells with palms facing forward. 
  • Bend your knees, press your hips back, keep your chest up and your shoulders down.
  • Row the weights up to your sides, keeping your elbows tucked in.
  • Pause at the top, then return.

Take On This Dumbbell Only Upper Body Workout | Men's Fitness UK

2. DB Romanian Deadlift 

Reps: 12, 10, 8, 8, 8  
Sets: 5
Rest: 60 secs

  • Start with your feet hip-width apart, holding a pair of dumbbells with palms facing towards you.
  • Pull your shoulders down and back, and engage your lats (imagine squeezing a tennis ball under each arm).
  • Soften your knees, push your hips back and let your chest descend, while keeping your core engaged and back straight.
  • Lower the weights until you feel your hamstrings stretch.
  • Pull through your hamstrings and squeeze your glutes to return to standing.

Take On This Dumbbell Only Upper Body Workout | Men's Fitness UK

3. Reverse DB Flye

Reps: 12, 10, 8, 8, 8
Sets: 5
Rest: 60 secs

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding both dumbbells with palms facing towards you.
  • Hinge at the hips and lower your torso towards the floor. Your chest should be almost parallel with the ground in the starting position.
  • Extend your arms directly towards the floor and bend your elbows slightly – your palms should be facing each other.
  • Arc the weights to the side, then up as you squeeze your shoulder blades together, maintaining a bend in your elbows.
  • Slowly perform the same movement in reverse to return to the start.

Take On This Dumbbell Only Upper Body Workout | Men's Fitness UK

4. DB Pullover 

Reps: 12, 10, 8, 8, 8
Sets: 5
Rest: 60 secs

  • Lie on a bench with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Holding a dumbbell over your chest, keep your arms long and begin to lower the weight over your head towards the floor.
  • Pause when you feel a good stretch through your pecs and upper back, then squeeze your lats to bring the dumbbell back to the start.

Take On This Dumbbell Only Upper Body Workout | Men's Fitness UK

5. Incline DB Bench Press

Reps: 12, 10, 8, 8, 8
Sets: 5
Rest: 60 secs

  • Set the bench to a 45-degree incline. 
  • Pick the dumbbells up off the floor and sit on the seat of the bench.
  • Kick your knees up as you lean back onto the bench – using the momentum from your kick to bring the dumbbells to the sides of your chest.
  • Tense your glutes and core, then powerfully press the weights towards the ceiling, stopping when the dumbbells are an inch or so away from each other.
  • Lower with control – all the way down until the dumbbells are at chest height – then repeat.

Take On This Dumbbell Only Upper Body Workout | Men's Fitness UK

6. DB Crush Press 

Reps: 12, 10, 8, 8, 8
Sets: 5
Rest: 60 secs

  • Sit on a flat bench, with dumbbells held on your thighs. 
  • Lie back, keeping the weights close to your chest.
  • Once you’re lying flat on the bench, the dumbbells should be held together in the centre of your chest.
  • Force the weights together, then press them up until your arms are extended.
  • Continue to ‘crush’ the dumbbells together as you lower under control.
  • Once the dumbbells touch your chest, push them back to the starting position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Take On This Dumbbell Only Upper Body Workout | Men's Fitness UK

7. DB Flye

Reps: 12, 10, 8, 8, 8
Sets: 5
Rest: 60 secs

  • Lie back on the bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand with arms straight and palms facing.
  • With your chest up and a slight bend in your elbows, lower the weights out to the sides until you feel a good stretch across your pecs.
  • Reverse the movement, focusing on moving the weights with your pecs, until your arms are extended.
  • Stop the weights just before they touch and squeeze your pecs for a count of one – you should really feel it in your inner chest.

Take On This Dumbbell Only Upper Body Workout | Men's Fitness UK

FINISHER
Press-Up to Renegade Row 

Reps: 30 secs AMRAP
Rest: 30 secs
Sets: 5

  • Assume a press-up position with your feet hip- to shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand directly below your shoulders.
  • Keeping your core engaged and elbows tucked, lower your chest until it’s almost in line with your hands, then push back up to the starting position.
  • Row the dumbbell in your left hand towards your ribs.
  • Lower the dumbbell back to the starting position, press-up, then row the right-hand dumbbell.
  • Keep the tempo up to complete as many reps as possible in the time.

 

 

Model: Alex Beattie  |  Photography: Eddie Macdonald

 

 

 

GET FIT FOR LIFE

Subscribe to Men’s fitness Magazine today and pay just £12 for your first 6 issues – Saving 54%