The Best Full UPPER BODY Workout for Max Muscle Growth (Science Applied)

Optimise your gains.

This excellent upper body workout for max muscle growth will help you transform your body and level up your training.

Designed by Jeff Nippard, this is a great way to level up your training.

Upper Body Workout for Max Muscle Growth – Warm Up

  • 5 minutes general warm up. Goal is to break a light sweat.
  • 5 minutes on incline treadmill
  • 5 minutes dynamic stretching routine

Exercise 1 – Barbell Overhead Press

  • 2 sets x 4 reps

Keep the RPE high on the Overhead Press.

Exercise 2 – Wide Grip Pull Up

  • 3 sets x 6 reps

Make sure you are close to failure on the sixth rep. Add weight if necessary.

Try to maintain the same tempo on all reps.

Exercise 3 – Close Grip Bench Press

  • 2 sets x 10 reps

This targets the clavical (upper) head more.

Exercises 4 and 5 (Superset)

  • A1 – Wide Grip Seated Cable Row
  • 3 sets x 12 reps
  • A2 – Incline Dumbbell Lateral Raise
  • 3 sets x 15 reps

With the Incline Dumbbell Lateral Raise, lean forwards by 15-30 degrees.

Stop the range of motion about 10 – 15 degrees from the bottom of the range of motion to maximise contraction and emphsise the lateral delt.

Exercise 6 and 7 (Superset)

  • A1 – Cable Crossover
  • 2 sets x 10 (low) and 10 (Mid) Reps
  • A2 – Rope Facepull
  • 2 sets x 20 reps

Use an underhand grip and externally rotate at the top for the Facepulls.

Exercise 8 – Supinated Dumbbell Curl

3 sets x 12 reps

Hit all reps with your weaker/smaller arm first. Then match the reps with your stronger/bigger arm.

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Who is Jeff Nippard?

“I’m a Canadian natural pro bodybuilder and internationally-qualified powerlifter with a BSc in biochemistry/chemistry and a passion for science. I’ve been training for 12 years drug-free. I’m 5’5 and fluctuate between 160 lbs (lean) and 180 lbs (bulked).”

Learn More about Upper Body Anatomy

Upper Body Workout for Max Muscle Growth – Pectoralis Major

The pectoralis major muscle covers the anterior thoracic cage. It has three heads; clavicular, sternocostal and abdominal. Its clavicular head originates from the anterior surface of the medial half of the clavicle. The sternocostal head originates from the anterior surface of the sternum and rib cartilages 1-6, while its abdominal head originates from the anterior layer of the rectus sheath.

By inserting into the crest of greater tubercle of the humerus, it enables adduction and internal rotation of the arm. Also, it draws the scapula anteroinferiorly. The pectoralis major muscle is innervated by the lateral and medial pectoral nerves.

Upper Body Workout for Max Muscle Growth – Pectoralis minor

The pectoralis minor lies underneath the pectoralis major muscle. It originates at the rib cartilages 3-5 and inserts to the medial border and the coracoid process of the scapula. The medial pectoral nerve supplies the muscle. The pectoralis minor draws the scapula anteroinferiorly and anchors it to the thoracic cage.

Upper Body Workout for Max Muscle Growth – Trapezius

The trapezius muscle is a large muscle that defines the nuchal region. It has three parts; descending, transverse and ascending. Same as in serratus anterior, the parts have different origins and insertions.

The descending part originates at the medial third of the superior nuchal line, external occipital protuberance, spinous processes of cervical vertebrae or nuchal ligament. It inserts to the lateral third of clavicle.

Best Rear Delt Exercises t bar row Upper Body Workout for Max Muscle GrowthSource: Nigel Msipa

The transverse part originates from the broad aponeurosis at spinous processes of vertebrae T1-T4 (or C7-T3), while it inserts to the medial aspect of the acromion and to the superior crest of spine of scapula.

The ascending part originates from the spinous processes of vertebrae T5-T12 (or T2-T12), and inserts to the medial end of spine of scapula.

The muscle is innervated by the branches of the spinal accessory nerve (CN XI) and the anterior rami of spinal nerves C3-C4 via the cervical plexus.

The trapezius functions are also part-specific. The descending part draws scapula superomedially, extends and laterally flexes the head and neck and rotates the head. The transverse part draws scapula medially, while the ascending parts draws it inferomedially.

Upper Body Workout for Max Muscle Growth – Latissimus dorsi

Latissimus dorsi is another large muscle at the posterior shoulder area. You already assume that this one also has some parts, and you’re correct; there are four parts of this muscle. They are the vertebral, iliac, costal and scapular.

The vertebral part originates from the spinous processes of vertebrae T7-S1 and the thoracolumbar fascia.

The iliac part originates at the posterior third of the crest of the ilium, a part of the bony pelvis.

The costal part originates from the ribs 9-12, while the scapular part originates from the inferior angle of scapula. All parts converge and insert together to the intertubercular sulcus of humerus.

The muscle is innervated by the thoracodorsal nerve. Its functions are the adduction, internal rotation and extension of the arm, while it also assists in the respiration.


There are two rhomboid muscles; rhomboid minor and rhomboid major. The rhomboid minor muscle originates from the nuchal ligament and the spinous processes of the vertebrae C7-T1 and inserts to the root of the spine of scapula. The rhomboid major originates from the spinous processes of T2-T5 vertebrae and inserts to the medial border of the scapula from inferior angle to root of spine of scapula.

The dorsal scapular nerve innervates both muscles, and they both share functions of drawing scapula superomedially, rotating the glenoid cavity inferiorly and supporting the position of scapula.

Learn More

Add Nordic Curls and Reverse Hyperextensions into your training.

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