I didn't get to where I am because I spent hours each day in the gym. I got here because I worked on improving my physique by listening to my body, using the most effective lifts, and placing them in my workout in the most productive order.

The lesson for you: Lift smarter, not necessarily longer and harder. If you can perfect the sets, reps, and rest periods—the acute variables—then you can get the best workout possible in half the time as most gym rats.

This is the second of four workouts I'm releasing on Bodybuilding.com. The first blasted your chest and back. Now let's attack two more key upper-body parts with a strategic program that you should be able to knock out in 30-45 minutes.

You probably haven't hit the abs and delts in this type of sequence before—that's great! The back-and-forth of this workout allows each targeted muscle group to recover before you hit it at a different angle, allowing you to take everything to failure and maximize results in less time.

Each of the lifts in this workout can be done on gym equipment. Within the workout, I'll show you how to achieve even better results using the Razor Hybrid Crossover, a time-saving workout tool I developed. It'll make the workout both more advanced and more efficient.

Time to Burn

If you're the type of person who can happily spend two hours in the gym, great for you. Me, I hate that idea as much as I hate weighing my food and lugging around Tupperware all day. Are you kidding me? I have a wife and three kids, a business to run, and a social life. Those are my life's real priorities. I'm sure you have some, too.

So what makes my programs so efficient? It's all about time management, and coming to the gym with the right mindset. After all, a lot of single wasted minutes can add up to a wasted hour easier than you think. Here's how I keep it tight in the weight room:

  • The time between each set is just as important as any other part of the workout. This is why I bring a stopwatch with me—to keep those rests honest.

  • It's also why you'll see compound sets, supersets, or both in almost all of my workouts. Why bother sitting there basking in the glory of your Arnold press when you could be kicking right into a front delt raise?

  • If you want to socialize, go to the bar. You can work out with a partner and encourage each other, but stay focused on the task at hand. Sometimes I don't say a word to my partner! It pays off when I see that the people who were lifting when I showed up are still there when I walk out the door.

Widen Your Delts, Etch Your Washboard

This weekly workout starts with higher reps focusing on endurance, and then progresses to lower rep ranges that build strength and power.

I systematically vary the volume and intensity over the course of a week, and even a day, using unique combinations of supersets (working antagonistic muscles consecutively) and compound sets (working the same muscle repeatedly).

This is called micro-periodization, and it makes for a program that might surprise you—and will definitely surprise your body.

The benefit of this style of training is that your body never fully adapts. It is constantly breaking down and building up in areas that are usually neglected.

The orders of the exercises are placed in such a manner that you work the agonist and antagonist muscle groups in different orders every day. Some days are higher volume, while others are low, to focus on developing maximum strength and muscle size. The reps in this particular workout tend toward the high side.

Use 90 seconds rest between all sets and exercises. When you get done with one set, hit the stopwatch.

For supersets and compound sets, only allow the time it takes for you to drop the weights and pick up the others.

Shoulders and Abs
Arnold Dumbbell Press
3 sets, 15-20 reps
Front Dumbbell Raise
3 sets, 15-20 reps
Compound Set
You can think of this as five total sets of the Arnold Press, but with three front delt raises in between the last three sets. It is a form of active recovery where you are still working the shoulder between sets, allowing you to maximize strength and endurance while getting an intense cardiovascular blast. For an advanced move using the Razor Hybrid Crossover, skip everything but the three initial sets of the Arnold Press. Instead, do two sets of 10-12 reps of Plank Single Hand Side Razor Pull-Through.
Arnold Dumbbell Press
2 sets, 15-20 reps
Front Dumbbell Raise
2 sets, 15-20 reps
Hanging Windshield Wipers
(Complete the set with hanging monkey curls if you can't reach the rep range. 3 sets of 15-20 reps or failure.)
3 sets, 15-20 reps
Oblique Crunches
For an advanced move with the Razor Hybrid Crossover, skip the last set of hanging wipers and do two sets of 10-12 reps of Plank Single Hand Razor Curl to Press in place of one of the sets of wipers and the three sets of leg raises.
3 sets, 15-20 reps
Seated Barbell Military Press
3 sets, 8-12 reps
Decline Crunch
Switch between sitting up to your left knee, right knee, and center in this set.
1 set, to failure
Standing Low-Pulley Deltoid Raise
2 sets, 8-12 reps
Front Cable Raise
2 sets, 8-12 reps
Oblique Crunches
2 sets, 8-12 reps
Push Press
For an advanced move, skip the cable delt raises, oblique crunches, and overhead push press. Instead, do 2 sets of 10-12 reps of the Standing Front Razor Raise to Plank Front Razor Raise.
1 set, to failure (to failure, aim for 15 reps)

About the Author

Contributing Writer

Ben Booker

Bodybuilding.com's authors include many of the top coaches, nutritionists, and physique athletes in the world today.

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