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The Best Upper Body Workout for Men of All Shapes and Sizes


By: Dr. Anthony Balduzzi, NMD - Men's Health Doctor & Founder, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project,

upper body workout
No matter who you are or what stage of life you're in when you step into the gym or read articles on fitness, you're in one frame of mind: to improve.

Improvements can mean a physical change or a mental change, but all for the better.

muscular shoulders meadows rowFor men who are just starting their fitness journeys or for those who are further along and looking to sculpt, these upper body workouts are a great place to start improving.

When you tone your upper body, your entire frame takes shape.

Toning your shoulders and arms are the first step to creating the coveted inverted triangle body type. To take the geometry lesson out of it, what we're working towards is a built up upper body and a lean midsection.

Learn from our favorite upper body workouts below and make a plan for how you can improve your overall physique.

best exercise for men 40+

What Are The 5 Best Muscle Building Exercises For Men 40+?

best exercise for men 40+
The secret to building age-defying muscle in your in 40s, 50s, & 60s is to modify the best muscle building exercises (bench, squats, rows) to make them safe on your joints…

Weighted Upper Body Workout For Men

Using weights is one of the best ways to challenge our muscles and increase mass.

Pick your favorite weighted upper body workout for men out of our list below, or mix and match to form your own set for weight training day.

Shoulder Presses

upper body workout for menHold dumbbells in each hand with your feet shoulder width apart. Raise your arms to look like goal posts, with a 90-degree angle from your upper arm to your forearm. Then, raise your arms up straight to fully extend your arms.

Bent Over Rows

Stand upright while holding dumbbells in each hand. Bend at the waist so that your torso goes forward while maintaining a straight back.  Start with your arms hanging in front of you in a straight line, then bring them up so that you keep your elbows close to your body. Make sure to squeeze your back muscles before letting your arms go back to their resting position.

Upright Rows

While standing upright, hold two dumbbells at your side. Use the muscles in your sides and shoulders to lift the dumbbells straight up, towards your chin. Hold briefly at the top and bring your arms back down to the starting position.

Bench Press

Lie with your back down on a bench with a weighted barbell and keep a slight arch in your back. Place your hands just outside of your shoulders. Grip the barbell with your hand and wrap your thumb. Use your chest, back, and arms to lift the barbell off the rack, and lower down to your chest. Continue this movement until you've reached your desired reps.

Dumbbell Flyes

Lie on a bench with dumbbells in each hand and resting on your thighs. Have your palms facing each other. Keep a small bend in your elbow as you open both arms out to the sides, tensing your biceps and chest. Lower back to your point of relief and continue to reach your desired reps.

Body Weight Upper Body Workout For Men

Alternatively, using your own body weight can be an effective way to secure lean muscle mass.

The added benefit of all of these bodyweight upper body workouts for men is that you get to engage your core and work on balance as you perfect your frame.

Tricep Dips

benchdips best at home workoutsStart sitting on a bench or chair, then scoot yourself forward so your hands are resting on the bench with fingers pointing forwards. Keep your legs extended out in front of you. To do the tricep dips, bend your elbows and then straighten up, always keeping a small bend in your elbows to keep pressure off of your joints.


Get into a plank position with your arms extending straight down from your shoulders and your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Tighten your quads and abs before doing any push-up movements. Once you're tense throughout your body, lower your entire body like a board near the floor and push back up. Only do as many reps that you can do without losing tense, correct form.

Climber Push-ups

To further engage your triceps and shoulders while doing push-ups, try the climber variation. Get into the proper plank position with your forearms on the ground. Then, push one arm up to place your hand on the mat, and then the other. After you've pushed up this way, lower back down to the mat with your forearms, one by one.


plank variations upper body workoutPlace your hands or forearms on the ground, directly below your shoulders. Keep your arms just past shoulder width apart. Hold this position for intervals of 30 to 60 seconds, with your back, core, and quads tightened.

Side Planks

To further engage your triceps and lats, transfer your original plank to your side. Do this by stacking one foot on top of the other and transferring all your weight to one forearm or one hand.

Extra Credit Upper Body Workout For Men

While bicep curls and shoulder presses are essential to building your frame, these “extra credit” workouts provide additional toning down your back to finish the job.

These combination exercises will help you feel like you got a full body workout in while allowing you to focus on your upper body.


man doing squats at home workouts for menUsing a weighted barbell placed on your shoulders and your feet a bit wider than your shoulders, lower your rear into the squat position. As you rise out of the squat, ensure that your posture is upright and bearing the weight properly.

Power Clean

Lower yourself into a squat with a barbell at your feet. Take hold of the bar and as you stand up, pull the bar up while keeping it close to your body. As it reaches your chin, flip your elbows down so that your palms are now facing upwards. Extra points if you conclude the power clean with a shoulder press.

Bench Press with Leg Raise

Add onto your usual bench press. On a bench, while holding a barbell, do a normal bench press with your legs directly in front of you, up about 45 degrees from the floor. On your next bench press, lift your legs 90 degrees from the bench while you push up on the barbell. Lower them in one movement.

It's “Up” To You Now

Feeling inspired? It's time to hit the gym, the park, your garage, or anywhere you can find space to work out your upper body.

When you work to improve your body, and especially your frame, you'll not only be working on your physique but on your mental health.

weight loss motivational quotesIt's important to look and feel our best at any age.It brings confidence and contentment when you know you've worked to better yourself.
If you work through our favorite upper body workouts, we encourage you to check out our FREE muscle workout for men over 40.

best exercise for men 40+

What Are The 5 Best Muscle Building Exercises For Men 40+?

best exercise for men 40+
The secret to building age-defying muscle in your in 40s, 50s, & 60s is to modify the best muscle building exercises (bench, squats, rows) to make them safe on your joints…

The secrets to the top 5 muscle-building workouts that will carry you through your 40s, 50s, and 60s are all there.

Your friend in health,


Dr. Anthony Balduzzi NMD - Men's Health Doctor & Founder, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Dr. Anthony holds dual degrees in Nutrition & Neuroscience from the University Of Pennsylvania, a Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine, and is also a national champion bodybuilder.

After watching his own Dad lose his health and pass away at the young age of 42, Dr. Anthony founded The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project to help busy Moms and Dads get and stay permanently healthy for their families.

Brotherhood Nickname: Mr. Results
Bragging Rights: Has helped over 10,000 families lose over 100,000 lbs of fat and rebuild lean muscle

Here’s How Busy Guys 40+ Are Building Age-Defying Muscle And Strength… Working Out Just 3 Hours Per Week

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See the Old School Muscle (OSM) Program overview here. You’ll discover how this proven program has helped thousands of guys 40+ pack onage-defying muscle and strength – the smart & sustainable way. »


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