Need a training pick-me-up? Plan your strength-training sessions around specific muscular movements instead of muscle groups!
This upper-body push workout, which targets your chest, shoulders and triceps, will get you started. Do each exercise as described, leaving 30 to 60 seconds of rest between sets. Complete this gym routine once or twice per week on nonconsecutive days, balancing it with sessions that target your lower body and other upper-body muscle groups.
Smith-Machine Chest Press
Target Muscles: pectoralis major (sternal aspect)
- Lie face up on a flat bench under the bar of a Smith machine.
- Grab the bar with an overhand grip and space your hands wider than shoulder-width.
- Unlock the bar and lower it towards your body; it should be positioned a few inches above your chest.
- Press the bar away from you until your arms are straight but unlocked, then slowly lower back to the start.
- Aim for four sets of 10 to 12 reps.
One-Arm Incline Cable Flye
Target Muscles: pectoralis major (clavicular aspect)
- Attach a D-handle to a low cable and sit on an incline bench a few feet away from the weight stack.
- Hold the handle in the hand closest to the weight stack as shown.
- Keeping a slight bend in the elbow, move the handle from beside your body to in front of your chest.
- Hold for one count, then slowly return to the start.
- When your set is through, repeat on your other arm.
- Try three sets of 10 to 12 reps on each side.
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Standing One-Arm Overhead Press
Target Muscles: anterior deltoids
- Stand tall and hold a dumbbell in one hand just above your shoulder, with your palm facing forward.
- Extend your arm upwards until it is straight but not locked, then use control to lower the weight.
- When your set is through, do the same on your opposite side.
- Do four sets of 10 to 12 reps on each side.
Dumbbell Incline Lateral Raise
Target Muscles: lateral deltoids
- Position yourself sideways on an incline bench as shown, and hold a light dumbbell in your outside hand.
- Use control to raise your arm out to the side and up.
- Pause at the top, then slowly lower back to the start.
- When you are finished, switch sides.
- Aim for three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions on each arm.
Related article: 9 Exercises That Challenge Your Body and Brain For A Satisfying Body Changing Workout
Standing Cable Rear-Delt Crossover
Target Muscles: posterior deltoids
- Stand between two cable stations with D-handles set low.
- Grab the handle to your left with your right hand and vice versa, lean forward slightly from your hips, and extend your arms below your shoulders.
- Maintain a slight bend in your elbows as you open your arms out to the sides.
- Slowly return to the starting position.
- Do three sets of 12 to 15 reps.
Smith-Machine Close-Grip Push-Up
Target Muscles: triceps brachii
- Set the bar on the Smith machine at hip height.
- Hold the bar with an overhand, narrow grip and extend your legs behind you to bring your body into a straight line.
- Bend your arms to lower your chest towards the bar; keep your arms tight to your sides and don’t allow your hips to drop.
- Extend your arms to return to the start.
- Do 15 to 20 repetitions, then repeat three times (for a total of four sets).
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Smith-Machine Triceps Dip
Target Muscles: triceps brachii
- Set the Smith machine’s bar to knee height.
- Face away from the bar, grab it with an overhand grip and straighten your legs out in front of you, with your heels touching the ground.
- Bend your arms to lower your glutes towards the floor.
- Stop when your triceps are parallel with the ground, then extend your arms to return to the start.
- Perform three sets of 10 to 12 reps.