When it comes to flexing during beach season or simply looking fit while doing yard work, a shredded torso is a must. With summer rapidly approaching, it's time to get a jumpstart on your beach body and prep yourself for whatever the season has in store. As long as you have the #1 best upper-body workout for a shredded torso on deck, you'll be in top shape in no time.
Achieving a buff torso requires you hit the major muscle groups from your neck to your waistline. Generally, this includes your pectorals (chest), deltoids (shoulders), lats, rhomboids, traps (upper back), and your abdominals and obliques (core). If this sounds overwhelming, don't worry, because you're totally covered. I've had many clients achieve stellar results with my ultimate 30-day upper-body workout. This routine includes exercises to hit all of these muscle groups for some serious definition. When combined with a high-protein, nutrient-dense diet, solid recovery habits, and healthy lifestyle habits, you can achieve a shredded torso in 30 days or less by following the below program.
Perform the following workout twice per week. Complete three sets of eight to 12 repetitions with a weight that causes failure in that range. Rest for 60 to 90 seconds to allow maximal effort on each set. You can also split it up into three or four workouts based on the body part or your personal preference, as long as you hit a total of six sets per exercise across the entire week. Just be sure to take two to three days of rest throughout the week, and avoid doing more than two workout days back-to-back.
Keep reading for the #1 upper-body workout for a shredded torso. And next, don't miss The 10-Minute Dumbbell Workout to Sculpt Boulder Shoulders.
The bench press is a fundamental compound exercise that builds serious mass in your chest, triceps, and front of your shoulders. You can use a barbell or dumbbells, based on your preference. The following technique is for the barbell variation.
To set up, lie on a flat workout bench with your feet planted firmly on the ground and a barbell racked above your neck area. Position your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart on the barbell, ensuring a strong grip. Unrack the barbell, and lower it to your chest, keeping your elbows at a 45-degree angle to your body. Press the barbell back up to the starting position by engaging your chest, triceps, and shoulder muscles. Repeat for the target repetitions.
Wide Grip Pull-ups
The wide grip pull-up is an effective bodyweight exercise that helps develop serious lat and upper-back muscles. This variation uses a prone grip to build width across the lats and develop the classic V-taper look associated with a shredded torso.
To begin, grab a pull-up bar with an overhand grip, palms facing away from you, with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Hang onto the bar with your arms fully extended and your feet off the ground. Pull yourself up by engaging your back muscles and visualizing driving your elbows down to the floor as you retract your shoulder blades and squeeze at the end range of motion. Raise your body until your chest hits the bar, avoiding shrugging throughout the range of motion. Lower yourself back down to the starting position with control. Repeat for the target repetitions.
Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Next up in our upper-body workout is the dumbbell shoulder press. The dumbbell shoulder press is a compound exercise that builds up mass on your deltoids (shoulders), triceps, and upper traps (upper back). I like the dumbbell variation because it's more forgiving on the shoulder joint than a barbell but still provides excellent muscle-building stimulus.
To perform a dumbbell shoulder press, stand straight and hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height with palms facing forward. Engage your core, and press the dumbbells overhead by extending your arms, avoiding shrugging throughout the range of motion and preventing your lower back from arching. At the top of the movement, ensure your arms are fully extended, and bring the dumbbells together slightly. Lower the dumbbells back to the starting position with control. Repeat for the target repetitions.
Bent-over Barbell Rows
The bent-over barbell row is an excellent exercise to strengthen and beef up the muscles in the middle of your back to build definition. This reverse grip variation also adds some pump to your biceps as well.
To perform a bent-over row, stand with your feet shoulder-width distance apart while holding a barbell with a reverse grip. Bend your knees slightly, and hinge forward at the hips, keeping your back straight and parallel to the ground. Pull the weight up toward your torso, visualizing crushing a piece of fruit in your armpits as you retract your shoulder blades and squeeze at the end range of motion. Avoid shrugging throughout the range of motion. Lower the weight back to the starting position with control. Repeat for the target repetitions.
The tricep dip is an effective bodyweight exercise that targets your chest, shoulders, and triceps at a different angle than other exercises, adding size, definition, and strength.
To perform tricep dips, position your hands shoulder-width distance apart on parallel dip bars. Hold your body up with arms fully extended and legs either straight or bent at the knees. Lower your body by bending your elbows and lowering your chest until your upper arms are parallel to the ground, keeping your elbows close to your body. Push yourself back up to the starting position by extending your arms and raising your chest. Repeat for the target repetitions.
Hanging Leg Raises
The hanging leg raise is a great ab exercise for targeting your lower abdominal muscles for serious muscle shred in the area.
To perform hanging leg raises, grab a pull-up bar with an overhand grip, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width distance apart, and hang onto it with your arms fully extended and your feet off the ground. Engage your core, and slowly raise your legs up toward your chest, keeping them as straight as possible. At the top of the movement, pause for a moment and then slowly lower your legs back down to the starting position, maintaining control throughout the movement. Repeat for the target repetitions.
The last exercise in this upper-body workout for a shredded torso is bicycle crunches. The bicycle crunch is a dynamic core exercise that effectively targets the oblique muscles in addition to the upper and lower abdominals, giving you the classic V-shred appearance on the front of your torso.
To perform bicycle crunches, lie on your back with your knees bent, your feet flat on the floor, and your hands lightly touching the sides of your head. Lift your head, shoulders, and feet off the ground, engaging your core. Extend your right leg out straight while simultaneously bringing your left knee toward your chest and twisting your upper body to bring your right elbow toward your left knee. Switch sides by extending your left leg out straight, bringing your right knee toward your chest, and twisting your upper body to bring your left elbow towards your right knee. Continue alternating sides in a smooth, controlled motion as if pedaling a bicycle. Repeat for the target repetitions on both sides.