NLA for Her-sponsored athlete and IFBB Bikini pro Amy Updike knows what it's like to be crushed for time. On the other hand, she has an upper-body workout with lots of moving parts.

How does she reconcile the two? She put together this rapid-fire workout for chest, shoulders, and triceps. Her workout uses supersets, dropsets, and short rest periods to help you get a power workout done in as little time as possible—with a warm-up built right into it.

Updike recommends doing this workout 1-2 times a week.

Amy Updike's Rapid-Fire Upper-Body Workout
2 sets, 15-20 reps (warm-up)
+ 7 more exercises


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Technique Tips


Updike prefers incline push-ups as a warm-up, putting her hands on the edge of a bench and her feet on the floor. Two sets of 15-20 reps should be enough to warm you up for your first working set.


Superset: Cable Fly and Push-up

Supersets are great for increasing the intensity of your workout, as well as for fatiguing the muscle for maximum hypertrophy.

On the cable flyes, keep your body upright and your shoulders back. As you bring your hands together, focus on giving your chest muscles a good squeeze.

Without a break, move right into push-ups. Keep your hands closer to your body and your elbows more tucked in to prevent shoulder injury.

Done with both exercises? That's one superset.

Superset: Incline Dumbbell Press and Push-up

Updike is a big fan of incline dumbbell presses because they help her focus on her upper chest. Get a nice chest-muscle stretch when your elbows are down. As you press up, focus on keeping your shoulders back and squeezing with the chest muscle. Don't let your shoulders roll forward.

Then, do as many full push-ups as you can. When you start to fatigue and feel like you can't do any more of them, drop down to your knees and continue doing push-ups until you can do no more.

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Military Press

This is a great compound exercise because it hits the shoulders from multiple angles. You can do this press with a barbell, dumbbells, kettlebells, or cables. Better yet, switch among different equipment to challenge your muscles in different ways.

Military Press

Superset: Lateral Raise and Dumbbell Front Raise

The lateral raise half of the superset will focus on the medial deltoid, while the front raise will target the front deltoid.

During lateral raises, keep your shoulders back—don't allow them to roll forward. On the front raises, keep your palms down and hold your core tight. For maximum front delt isolation, control the weight on the way up and down.


Lock your shoulders in place to isolate your triceps, and keep your elbows close to your midline instead of letting them flare out. Bring the weight down to your forehead, then push the weight up, squeezing your triceps at the top.

Triceps Press-down

Updike likes to finish with a triple dropset of this exercise because it really burns out her triceps. For the first 7 reps, use a much heavier weight than normal. Drop down to a medium weight for the next set, and lower the weight a bit more for the third. For your last 7 reps, drop the weight again and focus on squeezing and burning out your triceps. Even though the weights get lighter and lighter, aim for failure on each set. There should be nothing left in the tank after you've finished.

About the Author

Hobart Swan

Hobart Swan

Hobart Swan formerly wrote and edited for He also worked as a producer of health content for CBS Radio, and as a health-content specialist at Healthwise, the nation’s...

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