Steel Upper Body Workout






30 minutes

Strength Building

About this Calisthenics Workout

If you are looking for a great upper body workout that will unleash the Man of Steel in you then, you are on the right place.

The Steel Upper Body workout is created for those who want and need stupid amount of upper body strength and good muscle mass at the same time. Punish your chest, arms, back and core; let them rest for a bit then reap the benefits!

Calisthenics is famous for displaying superhuman strength skills and tricks. So this workout will give you good foundational strength for those who want to get upper body skills down, such as straight bar muscles ups, planches and levers. Take note that you still need to train the skill and progression if you really want to learn the move. This workout will supplement your quest for the skill and of course, make you like a greek god in the process.

Prepare yourself because you’ll be dealing with high volume to get strength and muscle gains going. Minimum rest periods between exercises are implemented to push your muscles near muscle failure to get your strength to move mountains.

I forgot to emphasize that the whole workout takes only about 30 minutes. Oh my! Think about the time you can save while still gaining an upper body made out of steel.

The workout is on an intermediate level so don’t get discouraged if you can’t pull off the exercises and the routine yet. You’ll get there in time.

As I say in all posts, it is sometimes good to be a beginner. Back in the days when I was starting there wasn’t whole a lot on this topic but now when there are tons of instructional videos and tutorials you can really easy learn the right form of every exercise and progress from there. If you ask me, a proper form of execution was my biggest problem back in the days. That’s why very often I give a huge attention to this point.

Quality over Quantity! Form is everything!

Never forget the basic golden rules when performing every exercise.

These rules essential to get the best from your workout routine. Keep them in mind and heart. No amount of expertise can make you leave out these basic rules.

Dips on Straight Bar120
Chest Dips120
Incline Push ups120

Rest for a minimum amount between each exercise and rest for 3 minutes for each roundTotal of 4 rounds.

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How It’s Done

Pull ups

Your back and bicep builder, basic yet still very effective, is a staple of an upper body regimen. From your dead hang, depress your scapulas to transition into an active hang. This motion will active you lats even more than drive your elbows towards your hips. Try to nearly touch the bar with your chest. You’ll get a slight arch in your back which is not a mortal sin against your form. Actually, it is the better form for more lats activation. You could still do the pull-ups with a straight body line but this will engage your core more than your lats

Dips on Straight Bar

If you want to master the muscle up, you’ve got to train this exercise. Dips on a straight bar focus on the chest with tricep and shoulder activation on the side. Lean forward a bit to get to the 90-degree angle on the arms and lean your lower body forward also to get the balance down.

Chest Dips

Next exercise will still focus on your chest, triceps and shoulders. Difference is the amount of load you’ll put on your chest. You’ll be on a parallel dip station so the bar will not hinder you to go lower compared to the earlier dip variation. Aim to get lower than 90 degrees that your shoulders (flexibility and strength wise) can handle so bear more load on your chest. Do the chest dip by tilting forward and looking down.

Push ups

So you thought you’re down with your chest? Nope. Do your good old regular push-up for even more chest, tricep and shoulder activation. Keep in my your form. Protracted scapula muscles at the top and retracted at the bottom of the movement. Don’t let your elbows flare out and contract every fiber of your being throughout the movement.

Incline Push ups

You’re probably tired but let’s push the chest, triceps and shoulders for the last time with an easier push-up variation. Find a comfortable height you can execute with: the higher the elevation, the easier the exercise and vise-versa. Same key points as the regular push-ups.


Finish of the routine with a core isometric exercise, the plank. The position is quite similar with the starting position of push-ups but you’re on your elbows this time. Protract your scapula. Keep a straight body line and contract all muscles. Please, I can’t stress this enough: breathe normally. This will push your body even harder.

But what if I can’t do some of these exercises?

Create an optimal training routine just for you

This is a problem a lot of us run into. We’re given routines – usually based on a standardized level – beginner, intermediate, advanced. Calisthenics Academy used to do that too – because it’s very hard to create a personalized training for each and every person unless we spend a significant amount of time with them.

There was just one problem with this approach (actually there are a lot of problems with it) – it hindered our athletes’ progress. We’ve written extensively on the matter in this blog post, The end of beginner/intermediate/advanced – that is hurting your training.

Lack of personalization is hurting your training.

Imagine if some of these exercises above were too hard for you. Your body will try to compensate with poor form, movement dysfunction and possibly risk injury if it’s too challenging.

If some of these exercises were too easy they wouldn’t challenge your muscles to grow – you’d simply be wasting your time.

This is why we created Calisthenics Academy: to offer a fully personalized training program reflecting exactly where your level is for optimal performance.

Take the assessment to see how do you stack up on 8 fundamental calisthenics moves.

Stay strong, friends!

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