Balanced Upper Body Lifting Session

author - melissa witmer strength and conditioning

A balanced upper body session will include an equal emphasis on pushing and pulling exercises.

Below is a moderate intensity strength training session involving sets of 8-10RM.  The Rest between sets should be less than 2 minutes.  To have more efficient workouts, you can pair the pushing and pressing exercises (do sets of pulling exercises while “resting” between sets of pressing exercises). 

This is a pretty standard example of the type of upper body exercises I do. Three sets of 8-10 reps are standard for this type of upper body session.

  • feet elevated pushups
  • wide grip assisted pullups
  • one arm incline bd bench
  • DB rows
  • DB flys
  • single-leg one arm rows

You’ll notice that there are equal parts pulling and pressing exercises.  Furthermore, in the same way, I incorporate two-legged and one-legged exercises in my lower bodywork, I use both two armed and one-armed pulling and pressing movements in every upper body workout.  
While one-armed pulling movements like the dumbbell row are pretty common in lifting programs, people often forget about one-armed pressing.  One-armed presses are great because your core is active in stabilizing against the rotational forces of an asymmetric load.
Try this variation on the DB press in your next workout. You’ll feel a surprising amount of core activation!